Michelin North America demonstrated the safety, financial and environmental impacts of premature removal for worn tires at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, explaining that a tire’s stopping abilities and other performances can change significantly as it wears. Scott Clark, who was recently appointed as chairman and president of Michelin North America, presented the Company’s global initiative to improve consumers’ awareness around worn tire performance at the auto show on Tuesday.
Currently, the industry standard is to test performances only for new tires; however, those attributes change as tires wear over time, meaning consumers make purchase decisions based on factors that become less and less relevant the more they drive on the tires.
Though safety may be subjective from one driver to another, in the automotive and tire industry safety is typically described through braking distance, and especially wet braking. Tests results show that braking performances among new tires are not equal, but Michelin’s internal tests show that worn tires are even more unequal in their braking performances.
Michelin conducted internal tests that compared braking distances among specific tires in new and worn conditions to reveal how safety performance changes over time. The “worn” tires were buffed to the tread wear indicator, near the end of the tire’s useful life (at 2/32-inch, as defined in many states).
The tests showed that some worn tires deliver wet-braking distances that are about the same or better than other new tires.
“This is a new insight for everyone in our industry, something Michelin believes that all of us need to start thinking about,” Clark said. “What we are referring to as ‘long-lasting performance’ is an issue that involves consumer safety and environmental impact. Michelin is a company that thinks long-term about sustainable mobility, and we are starting a long-term discussion about performance standards for worn tires.”
Making tires that deliver good performance over time has significant environmental and financial benefits as well. Removing tires prematurely costs drivers more than $25 billion globally, accounting for increased fuel consumption and unnecessary tire purchases, according to independent research by EY. Early tire removal also wastes roughly 400 million tires a year worldwide, a massive impact on landfills and other end-of-life disposal networks.
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Maxion Flexible Wheel assembly with Michelin Acorus technology
Michelin, a leader in innovations for sustainable mobility, will preview the Maxion Flexible Wheel with Michelin Acorus Technology for the first time in North America. Michelin’s Acorus technology reinvents the wheel, helping to eliminate costly damage from potholes and road debris to tires and rims in larger sizes on high-performance or luxury passenger vehicles. The patented new technology was developed in collaboration with Maxion Wheels, the largest global wheel manufacturer. Michelin’s research shows that the flexible wheel assembly helps prevent pinch shocks on tires and wheel damage.
The assembly incorporates two flexible rubber flanges mounted on a special wheel body to create a flexible wheel assembly, effectively absorbing dangerous shocks and impacts that create expensive risks for low-profile tires. The flexible wheel assembly’s design is compatible with all passenger tires on the market.
In addition to improved ride comfort and lower road-noise levels, the flexible wheel assembly improves long-term environmental impact by reducing the number of low-profile tires that are discarded prematurely due to damage from pinch shocks or road debris.
The innovation takes its name from Acorus calamus, the reedy wetland plant that features in a famous French fable, “the oak and the reed,” imparting the wisdom that the reed bends but does not break. Michelin previewed Acorus technology at NAIAS with limited availability (in 19-inch and larger sizes) to select manufacturers in North America for 2018. See more details about the Maxion Flexible Wheel Assembly with Michelin’s Acorus Technology in this video.
Integrating Michelin Challenge Design into Movin’On
For the first time Michelin will shift recognition of winners for the Michelin Challenge Design competition from NAIAS to Movin’On, the global summit for sustainable mobility. Michelin North America created the annual Michelin Challenge Design to celebrate, promote and give visibility to original creative thinking and innovative vehicle design.
Representatives from the first-, second- and third-place winners will be guests of Michelin at Movin’On in Montreal from May 30 to June 1, 2018 (see movinon.michelin.com for information), where their winning designs will be displayed and they will participate in a private portfolio review with members of the jury and leading vehicle designers.
About Michelin North America
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 has earned a long-standing reputation for building innovative premium tires. In addition to tires, the company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelinman.com) employs about 22,850 and operates 20 major manufacturing plants.
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