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Rubber Journal Asia Smart Tyres

Smart tyres come of age Smart tyre developments are driving forward

that unveiled its first airless tyre in 2011 and has since developed it for various applications, including an airless tyre concept for bikes, which the company expects to commercialise by 2019. Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) has its smart tyre prototype, Gyroblade airless tyre, which it showcased in 2015. It is notable for its resin spokes (in place of a pneumatic air chamber) and a tyre sealant that prevents air loss in the event of a puncture. The Japanese tyre company is also fitting Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Fine-Comfort Ride concept car with airless tyres to fulfil Toyota’s aim for light weighting its car tyres by 30%. Toyo Tires, meanwhile, has also forayed into nonpneumatic tyres, which it dubs as “noair”. The Japanheadquartered tyre manufacturer has been conducting research since 2006 on noair, which is described as “a neo-futuristic airless concept tyre that does not require any filling of air”.

the future of the mobility ecosystem, says Angelica Buan in this article.


onnected cars are nothing without smart tyres. Dramatically having evolved from the 19th century pneumatic rubber tyre, smart (or intelligent) tyres, which have been developed to meet fuel economy demands and strict emissions criteria, communicate with the road, with the driver, as well as the other like-connected cars and networked service providers. Fuel efficiency, light weighting and further sustainability with electric vehicles (EVs) are demand drivers for the segment, which is expected to garner a significant share in the projected 2.5 billion unit-strong global markets for tyres by 2022. Gaining traction, around 414 million units of smart tyres are expected to be rolled out by 2025. It is also predicted that smart tyres will become a vehicle staple in the years to come.

Airless tyre’s promise of no blowouts magine a tyre that does not go flat so there is no need for tyre changes or spare tyres. The hackneyed inflated pneumatic tyres may soon find a tough rival in airless tyres that offer a myriad of advantages. A jack of all trades, the airless tyre has been described to be eco-friendly, with reduced carbon emissions from lower rolling resistance as well as being recyclable at its end-of-life. It also has potential for use in personal cars and industrial trucks; and is practically maintenance-free as it does not get punctured or run a flat tyre. French tyre maker Michelin aced in the airless tyre advancement with its Tweel–a portmanteau of tyre and wheel range, which has come a long way since it was first proposed in 2005. This year, Michelin introduced X-Tweel variations, such as the 3D printed smart tyres built with recyclable materials, including wood chips, straw, orange peel, and sugar byproducts. Other tyre makers have jumped onto the airless tyre bandwagon. One of these is Tokyo-headquartered Bridgestone


Toyo Tires developed the “noair” concept tyre with the section between the spokes and rubber tread reinforced with CFRP

In 2012, Toyo Tires introduced a prototype as a reference exhibit at a show, with the aim of demonstrating some of the technological developments that had been amassed up to that point. The noair concept tyre has the basic tyre structure for the inner core side, which comprises special high-rigidity resin spokes to ensure sufficient strength to support the load. Basic tyre performance, namely “drive, turn, stop” is also achieved by using a rubber material for the outer tread that comes into contact with the road surface. The section between the spokes and rubber tread, the outer diameter ring, is reinforced with carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) that serves to reduce the load imposed on the spokes. Toyo Tires disclosed that there are still some outstanding issues to be resolved before it enters practical use, with R&D continuing on this front.

Bridgestone has developed an airless tyre concept for bikes that will be available in the market by 2019

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PRA Nov/Dec 2017 Issue