Regenerating tread leads new Michelin technology

Nov. 6, 2006
“A palette of new technologies” under development by Michelin North America Inc. will deliver to up to a 50% improvement in tread life and better traction, particularly in wet conditions

“A palette of new technologies” under development by Michelin North America Inc. will deliver to up to a 50% improvement in tread life and better traction, particularly in wet conditions, throughout the life of the tread, according to Michael Burroughs, product manager for truck tires. Dubbed “Michelin Durable Technologies,” they include self-regenerating tread for both new tires and retreads, three-dimensional siping and new casing construction techniques and materials that allow truck tires to be both wider and lower.

The new tire elements were highlighted as part of a daylong display of truck-tire developments the company dubbed “Michelin Project Technology.” Other truck-tire advances demonstrated during the one-day press event were an anti-splash steer tire and two tire pressure monitoring systems, including the second generation of Michelin’s eTire, an in-tire electronic tag and sensor.

The first commercially available truck-tire to use elements from its durable technologies is the Michelin X One wide single tire, which features a stabilizing belt made with the company’s Infini-Coil Technology. The belt, which contains over ¼-mile of continuous wire coil for a single wide tire, provides equal contact across the tread for better wear and performance, while also allowing the tire to run cooler and offer a better ride, according to Burroughs.

Two “self-regenerating tread patterns” are the other durable technologies soon to be introduced with the new Michelin XDA5 drive tire now undergoing development testing. “Raindrop sipes” are enlarged grooves molded into the bottom of a tread block that open to create new lateral grooves in the middle of the block when it is two-thirds worn. The raindrop feature is combined with a “Double Wave Matrix” sipe cut both down and across a tread block, allowing deeper treads that are still rigid enough to resist wear and still provide traction. Together the two siping technologies should provide up to 30% longer tread life, allowing fleets to keep drive tires running longer without compromising traction or safety, according to Michelin.

A self-regenerating tread for retreading has already been released. The Michelin XDA Hypersipe includes sipes molded into the bottom of tread blocks that appear once half of the tread is worn. This second set of sipes provides usable tire life down to the last 32nd of tread depth, Michelin says.

Targeted at highway fleet operations interested in improving public image, a design change in Michelin’s XZA2 steer tire will make trucks less intimidating to car drivers in wet road conditions. A small rib molded into the sidewall reduces the height of tire splash by 50%, helping to keep it off car windshields, yet has no adverse impact on tire life or performance. The XZA2 Antisplash goes on the market this week, according to the company.

The day ended with briefings on two new tire pressure monitoring systems coming in the near future from Michelin. Intended for regional and local fleet operations that see their trucks frequently, eTire II is an all-new sensor patch that uses remote readers to track tire assets and monitor pressures.

For long-haul operations, Michelin announced that it is joining with WABCO to market an onboard system sold in Europe since 2003. The Integrated Vehicle Tire Pressure Monitoring (IVTM) system gives drivers a constant reading for both tractor and trailer tires, sending an alert when pressure drops below recommended levels. The system uses external wheel-mounted modules held in place by two wheel nuts, and the trailer portion includes its own electronic controller that can send data to the trailer via wireless RF signals. IVTM can use either a standalone display or can be tied into a truck’s multifunction dashboard display.

For more Michelin coverage, go to http://www.fleetowner.com/information_technology/news/intire_sensor_redesigned/index.html

To comment on this article, write to Jim Mele at [email protected]

About the Author

Jim Mele

Nationally recognized journalist, author and editor, Jim Mele joined Fleet Owner in 1986 with over a dozen years’ experience covering transportation as a newspaper reporter and magazine staff writer. Fleet Owner Magazine has won over 45 national editorial awards since his appointment as editor-in-chief in 1999.

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