Worn treads regain traction

Dec. 1, 2006
A palette of new technologies under development by Michelin North America will deliver to up to a 50% improvement in tread life and better traction throughout the life of the tread

A palette of new technologies” under development by Michelin North America will deliver to up to a 50% improvement in tread life and better traction 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.

The new tire elements where highlighted as part of a daylong display of truck-tire developments the company dubbed “Michelin Project Technology.”

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 1/4-mile of continuous wire coil for a single wide tire, provides equal contact across the tread for better wear and performance, 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.

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 day ended with briefings on two new tire pressure monitoring systems. Intended for regional and local fleet operations, eTire II is an all-new sensor patch that uses remote readers to track tire assets and monitor pressures (see sidebar).

For long-haul operations, Michelin announced that it is joining with WABCO to market the Integrated Vehicle Tire Pressure Monitoring (IVTM) system. It uses external wheel-mounted modules held in place by two wheel nuts to give drivers pressure reading for both tractors and trailers. www.michelin.com

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