News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

June 27, 2018

Game Changing Technology: The tires of tomorrow

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 11:30 am

How does the tire industry perceive the tire of tomorrow? What are the game-changing aspects of tire design? Pneumatic vs. non-pneumatic? Trends in materials development? And weight? For answers, Rubber & Plastics News surveyed several major tire makers, including Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Goodyear, Hankook Tire USA, Michelin, Pirelli, and Sumitomo.

All these companies recognize the three mega-trends impacting future tire evolution: eco-friendly vehicles, autonomous vehicle technology, and ride-sharing.

Pierluigi de Cancellis, Pirelli executive vice president technology sums up the five criteria driving innovation:

1. Rolling Resistance: Further reduction in rolling resistance (not only in “free rolling” condition but also and especially in actual driving condition, i.e. braking, cornering, etc.) and hence in energy economy as a consequence also of electric/hybrid vehicle diffusion and the related need for battery autonomy extension.
2. Extended Mobility: Adoption of advanced solutions for the tire puncture problem (e.g. self-sealing tires, runflat tires) as a technology enabling also shared mobility and autonomous driving.
3. Connectivity: Application of sensor technology to development of “intelligent” tires and the use of data collection for enabling different services. The collection and processing of data regarding many aspects of the tire performance and road conditions is useful for optimizing overall tire performance and safety and minimizing energy consumption, a topic of growing importance, especially with regard to electric and hybrid vehicles.
4. Weight: Tire weight is targeted to be reduced in order to improve overall vehicle efficiency.
5. Noise: Due to vehicle evolution, including the diffusion of hybrid/electric cars, tire noise reduction will more and more become a key target.

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May 18, 2018

Michelin introduces Tweel for ultra-terrain vehicles

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 12:51 pm

Rubber & Plastics News reports that Michelin North America Inc. has developed a 26-inch version of its non-pneumatic Tweel tire/wheel hybrid for use on ultra-terrain vehicles. Michelin Tweel Technologies, an MNA division, says the X Tweel UTV is intended for use in debris-laden areas including construction, agriculture, mining, emergency response and park sites. The X Tweel UTV was originally designed for light-tactical vehicles used in military operations. The wheel is a single unit that replaces the vehicles’ pneumatic tire/wheel/valve assemblies, Michelin said. The Tweel unit also eliminates the need to carry spare tires, tools or repair kits.

I spotted these tires “in the field” a few weeks ago when I was watching the season 2 premier of HBO’s Westworld. I took these screenshots. (Yes, I watch sci-fi shows for the tires — maybe I’ve been doing this job too long.)

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Fig 1. Screenshot from Westworld, season 2, episode 1, “Journey into Night,” written by Lisa Joy & Roberto Patino, directed by Richard J. Lewis, airdate April 22, 2018, Home Box Office, Inc.

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 11.45.34 PM
Fig 2. Screenshot (detail) from Westworld, season 2, episode 1, “Journey into Night,” written by Lisa Joy & Roberto Patino, directed by Richard J. Lewis, airdate April 22, 2018, Home Box Office, Inc.

April 10, 2018

Toyo Tire Launches Website for New Airless Concept Tire

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 12:40 pm

Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. has launched a website that uses CGI animation to showcase the technology of its near-future airless concept tire, the Noair.

Toyo Tire has made fundamental changes to the structure of its past prototypes, drastically improving the Noair’s performance in several metrics, including durability, exterior noise levels, and fuel efficiency. The company has successfully driven a kei-class light vehicle equipped with the tires at a range of speeds from 40 to 75 miles per hour.

March 26, 2018

J.D. Power survey finds customer satisfaction with run-flat tires improving

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 7:48 am

According to the 2018 J.D. Power U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study, overall customer satisfaction with original equipment tires has improved significantly since 2015.

The notable news is that run-flat tires are closing the satisfaction gap with conventional tires.

“The rise in satisfaction helps tire manufacturers’ efforts to meet the demands of OEMs while simultaneously improving the customer experience,” said Brent Gruber, senior director of automotive quality practice at J.D. Power. “The fact that there is little difference in satisfaction between run-flat and traditional tires is a great example. Many OEMs have been replacing spare tires with run-flats to help reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency. Just a few years ago run-flat tires were a detriment to customer satisfaction but the experience is much more positive now.”

The 2018 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 30,477 owners of 2016 and 2017 model-year vehicles, and was fielded in October-December 2017.

January 10, 2018

Tweel an OE option on Case skid-steer loaders

Filed under: Run-flats — Notch @ 10:03 am

Michelin North America Inc.’s Tweel airless tire/wheel hybrid will be an original equipment option on all Case Construction Equipment skid-steer loader models in 2018.

Case is adding the Michelin 10N16.5 and 12N16.5 X Tweel SSL tires as a factory-approved/supplied option for its skid steers loaders.

The SSL All-Terrain version is designed for off-road working conditions and is suitable for industries such as construction, landscaping and agriculture, according to Michelin.

“The market demand for Michelin X Tweel SSL continues to increase. More and more end-users are searching for solutions that reduce downtime. The Tweel SSL provides the users this solution, without compromising key deliverables including traction, operator comfort and machine productivity,” said Justin Brock, Michelin construction segment marketing manager in North America.

Read the full press release here.

November 1, 2017

Trelleborg launching smart wheel for agricultural equipment

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 10:35 am

Trelleborg Wheel Systems has developed a sensor-based smart wheel called ConnecTire that it said enables data-sharing at multiple levels, reducing the risk of tire slippage on the rim.

ConnecTire monitors two key variables—tire pressure and temperature—in real time and relays the data to both tractor and farm mainframes via Bluetooth and wireless connectivity, Trelleborg said.

“ConnecTire is about ensuring efficiency and sustainability,” said Piero Mancinelli, research and development director at Trelleborg Wheel Systems. “Tires are required to work intelligently and to be at the right pressure at all times.”… “Being able to be in control of these allows farming operations to reduce inefficiencies,” Mancinelli added, noting that the system allows operators to set their target tire pressure and then monitor how that pressure deviates from the target and act accordingly.

ConnecTire will be on display at Agritechnica 2017, Nov. 12 to 18 in Hanover, Germany.

Read the full press release here.

September 29, 2017

Goodyear introduces airless tire for Bad Boy Mowers

Filed under: Run-flats — Notch @ 11:48 am

Goodyear has introduced an airless tire, TurfCommand, featuring a thermoplastic connecting structure, for use on a line of zero-turn lawnmowers.

The tire will be available as an upgrade option on Bad Boy Mowers’ Outlaw XP, a zero-turn radius model. Availability is expected in early 2018.

“The commercial release of this turf tire is an important step in our efforts to develop airless tire technology for a range of applications,” said Christopher Helsel, Goodyear’s chief technology officer. “As we look to a future where ridesharing and autonomous vehicles become mainstream, the demand for lower maintenance, longer lasting tires will continue to increase.”

Read the full press release here.

July 19, 2017

Michelin unveils Tweel for mowers

Filed under: Run-flats — Notch @ 3:17 pm

Group Michelin’s Tweel Technologies has launched the airless Michelin X Tweel Turf Caster for select zero-turn commercial mowers.

The airless-radial caster tire-wheel assembly replaces the standard 13×6.5×6 front caster tire and wheel on zero-turn mowers.

“Michelin Tweel Technologies has conducted extensive field testing to optimize the product and validate the customer benefits,” said Olivier Brauen, head of Michelin Tweel Technologies.

The Tweel caster is constructed with high-strength poly-resin spokes that carry the load and create suspension-like characteristics for the front of the mower, the company said. This structure absorbs impact and reduces bounce for improved operator comfort while also maintaining a consistent height for a uniform cut. The caster’s durable, poly-resin tread also provides long wear life, Michelin said.

Read more here.

June 29, 2017

Conti exec skeptical of airless tires for passenger cars

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 1:33 pm

Airless tires are more of a marketing tool than a realistic offering for the passenger car tire market, according to Gerrit Bolz, head of process development and tire assembly at Continental.

The Conti executive went on to describe airless tires as being more of a publicity exercise than a potential game-changer for the car tire market.

“We are a little bit jealous about the marketing story, not about the technical performance of such tires,” he said.

Read more here.

April 26, 2017

Bridgestone airless bicycle tires by 2019

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 12:25 pm

As an avid cyclist, the idea of riding without worrying about a flat tire is very appealing. Bridgestone hopes to make my dreams come true.

Bridgestone Corp., together with Bridgestone Cycle Co., Ltd. will advance feasibility studies and hopes to offer an airless bicycle tire by 2019.

Photo: Bridgestone Corporation

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