FRANKFURT, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Innovation has always been part of Michelin’s genetic code – driving mobility and tire developments for more than 100 years. Now with MICHELIN ACORUS Technology, in partnership with Maxion Wheels, Michelin is reinventing the wheel to help eliminate road-based damage to tires and rims.
The patented new technology, developed by Michelin and Maxion Wheels for the passenger car wheel market, incorporates two flexible rubber flanges mounted on a special wheel body to create a flexible wheel that improves the ride and comfort and also absorbs impacts from potholes and curbs. The new wheel is compatible with all tires on the market and comprises an alloy rim – which is narrower than normal, two rubber flanges and an optional cosmetic insert to protect the alloy wheel.
Talking about this new innovation, Michelin Chief Operating Officer, Florent Menegaux said: “Car wheels have been getting bigger and bigger, as they contribute to making cars look more premium, and large shiny alloys are an integral part of all modern car designs. However, the resulting low profile tires with short sidewalls are much more susceptible to damage on today’s deteriorating roads with myriad potholes.”
Pieter Klinkers, Maxion Wheels CEO stated: “This is a game changer for wheels; a standard wheel driven through a pothole can damage the tire and potentially crack the alloy rim, putting the safety of driver and passengers at risk. When the Maxion Flexible Wheel hits a pothole, the MICHELIN ACORUS Technology flange flexes and protects the tire and the wheel.”
In tests with a 285/30R21 tire driven through a pothole*, the standard rim version punctured the tire at 28kph whereas the Flexible Wheel with the MICHELIN ACORUS Technology did not puncture, or sustain damage at any speed.
In addition to damage reduction, safety and improved mobility, the Maxion Flexible Wheel with MICHELIN ACORUS Technology has other benefits for the driver. It helps overcome other shortcomings associated with low profile tires with short sidewalls – comfort and noise levels are both improved due to the flexible rubber flange which sits between the wheel and the tire. There is also an environmental benefit in using MICHELIN ACORUS Technology; the Flexible Wheel is designed to work with any brand of tire, including low rolling resistance tires – meaning lower CO2 emissions and better fuel economy. The innovative wheel solution also means fewer damaged tires and wheels are being thrown away following pothole damage.
MICHELIN ACORUS Technology is the product of Michelin’s research Group. The Incubator Program shortened the time to market by showing and testing it with customers. Having designed and developed this unique patented technology, Michelin started to work in partnership with Maxion Wheels, a leader in the wheel business, to bring the Flexible Wheel to market.
The name ACORUS is taken from Acorus Calamus, a wetland plant that looks like a reed, which features in a famous French fable ‘the oak and the reed’ with the wisdom that “a reed bends but does not break”. The Flexible Wheel not only safeguards against potholes and poor roads, but marks an end to the compromise in passenger car wheel design between robustness and premium look.
The Maxion Flexible Wheel with MICHELIN ACORUS Technology, launched at the Frankfurt IAA, will initially be sold in 19” and above sizes to the OE premium automakers by the partnership between MICHELIN and Maxion Wheels.
*80mm deep, 700mm long, 70° impact angle
About Maxion Wheels
Maxion Wheels, a division of IOCHPE-MAXION S.A., is a leading wheel manufacturer for passenger cars, light trucks, buses, commercial trucks and trailers. The Company also produces wheels for agriculture and military vehicles, as well as other off-highway applications. With more than 100 years of wheel-making experience and 10,000 employees globally, Maxion is the world's largest wheel manufacturer, producing 56 million wheels per year. The Company serves its global OEM customers from 28 locations in 15 countries on five continents, and has state-of-the-art technical centers in the Americas, Europe and Asia. To learn more, please visit Maxion Wheels’ website at www.maxionwheels.com.
Michelin, the leading tyre company, is dedicated to enhancing its clients’ mobility, sustainably; designing and distributing the most suitable tyres, services and solutions for its clients’ needs; providing digital services, maps and guides to help enrich trips and travels and make them unique experiences; and developing high-technology materials that serve the mobility industry. Headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Michelin is present in 170 countries, has 111,700 employees and operates 68 production facilities in 17 countries which together produced 187 million tyres in 2016 (www.michelin.com).