SC: Michelin Opens World's 1st Mfg Plant to Build Airless Radial Tire
24 Nov, 2014
An idea first conceived by Michelin research engineers in the United States, the TWEEL is a revolutionary non-pneumatic tire that changed the configuration of a conventional tire, bringing together the tire and the wheel assembly into one solid unit. The TWEEL comprises a rigid hub connected to a shear beam by means of flexible, deformable polyurethane spokes, all functioning as a single unit.
Unlike conventional tires, the TWEEL has no air, thereby solving what had seemed to be the unavoidable challenge of chronic flat tires that plagues the landscape, construction, contracting, refuse/recycling and agricultural industries.
"The TWEEL being built here in South Carolina is yet another dramatic example of Michelin's long-standing commitment to breakthrough innovation," said Pete Selleck, Michelin North America chairman and president. "The TWEEL concept was born at Michelin Americas Research Company in Greenville, S.C., one of Michelin's three global technology centers, and now the Tweel will be manufactured right here in the Greenvillearea to satisfy a growing commercial market."
The new plant gives Michelin the ability to boost output of its award-winning MICHELIN® X® TWEEL® SSL skid-steer tires and begin production of the new MICHELIN® X® TWEEL® TURF™ as original equipment for John Deere to equip its ZTRAK™ 900 Series line-up of zero-turn commercial mowers.
"Differentiating us from competitors, the TWEEL airless radial tire is the industry's first commercialized airless radial solution and verifies Michelin's leadership for the next generation of mobility," said Ralph Dimenna, head of Michelin Tweel Technologies. "The TWEEL airless radial tire enables Michelin to enter new markets and expand its reach in existing business segments within the low-speed application category. The industry is hungry for solutions contributing to productivity, safety and bottom lines. Serving our customers is at the center of our strategy for success."
The new 135,000 square-foot facility in Piedmont, S.C., represents Michelin's 10thmanufacturing facility in South Carolina and the 16th in the U.S. The company will invest about $50 million in the new plant.
"Michelin has been a global leader for over 125 years, and we are proud to say they have been part of the South Carolina family for over 40 years," said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. "Michelin is a leader in the tire industry, and they are innovative in their product development, which continues to put South Carolina on the world stage."
About MICHELIN® X® TWEEL®
Originally introduced as a concept at the 2005 North American International Auto Show, the X TWEEL is Michelin's highly advanced airless radial tire and is the only commercial product available to offer the advantages of no maintenance, no compromise and no downtime. It performs with traditional radial tire technology but requires no air, thereby eliminating the risk of a "flat tire." Desperate to find a solution to reduce their flat-tire downtime, many industrial users resort to alternatives that result in diminished traction, handling and ride comfort. The X TWEEL provides the advantages of no air pressure maintenance, easy mounting, damage resistance, increased operator comfort, reduced operator fatigue, improved productivity and longer wear life than pneumatic tires.
Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks and motorcycles. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelin-us.com) employs more than 21,500 and operates 20 major manufacturing plants in 17 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.