Whether as drivers or passengers, we all have faced a pneumatic issue on the road. At least in my city, where tracks are far from being uniform, a flat tire is a common and time-wasting incident. Knowing the great versatility of 3D printing for a while now, I’ve been wondering why we can’t just 3D print an airless tire; Fortunately, French tire manufacturer company Michelin seems to have a futuristic solution on its latest concept tire!
Michelin’s 3D printed concept tire could theoretically last the entire lifespan of a car
Michelin made public a new concept tire for the future of sustainable mobility. This is a puncture-proof, airless, 3D printed tire made of biodegradable filament; Dubbed the “Michelin Visionary Concept,” it was unveiled on the Michelin stand at Movin’On, the international summit on sustainable mobility, in Montreal (June 13 to 15).
Inspired by the structure of coral, it is stiff at the center and gets gradually softer as it approaches the outside edge; This last is for achieving maximum versatility on the road.
In case it was a reality, the tire would suit changing weather conditions.
Tire’s re-printable tread
The concept tire would be re-printable with the right amount of rubber; This is the main benefit of being airless. Michelin sees a green future for reprinting tires and on its ‘Print&Go’ station we can realize how the app works (watch the video at the end of the post).
“Your tread instantly adjusts to your driving conditions, whenever necessary, using just the right amount of materials. A tread […]modified and replenished at will; without wasting any resources, time or money, and which protects the environment for the generations to come.”
Michelin Visionary Concept tire has special sensors. These allow drivers to monitor performance via special onboard app; Put in a nutshell, the driver would choose to reprint the tires at the press of a button.
Eco-Friendly Biodegradable tires
As a matter of fact, the planet needs our help. Out coming products require to be the most eco-friendly possible; The new Michelin tire is biodegradable thanks to all ‘bio-sourced’ materials used on its production.
The promising future of Michelin’s 3D printed tires
Even though Clermont-Ferrand-based company is not actually taking this further than the prototype stage for now, the concept suggests that its R&D teams are at least thinking of using additive manufacturing sometime. The lead designer of this project, Mostapha El-Oulhani, said:
“it is a showcase of our expertise as well as a promise of the future…”
Meaning we still have to wait for the tire to be out in the market.
However, Michelin is currently holding 19 patents relating to the VISION tire projects; According to the company, protecting all aspects of its design process and materials are a priority. Meanwhile, rival tire companies, like Goodyear, have also unveiled its own vision for the future of 3D printing tires; Certainly, these are quite different designs, but 3D printing is a strong element in all manufacturing processes.
It seems that Michelin is crashing the traditional manufacturing mold process with this new 3D printing tire concept.
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Also published on Medium.