Michelin’s Tweel factory has opened in Piedmont, South Carolina, USA, manufacturing airless tyres for commercial applications.
From Piedmont, Michelin will boost output of its X Tweel SSL skid-steer tyres and begin production of the new X Tweel Turf as original equipment for John Deere’s Ztrak 900 Series line-up of zero-turn commercial mowers. The 135,000sqft facility is Michelin’s 10th in the state, and 16th in the US. The company said it would invest about $50 million in the new plant.
“The Tweel being built here in South Carolina is yet another dramatic example of Michelin’s long-standing commitment to breakthrough innovation,” said Pete Selleck, Michelin North America chairman and president. “The Tweel concept was born at Michelin Americas Research Company in Greenville, S.C., one of Michelin’s three global technology centres, and now the Tweel will be manufactured right here in the Greenville area to satisfy a growing commercial market.”
An idea first conceived by Michelin research engineers in the United States, the Tweel brings together the tyre and wheel assembly into one solid unit. It comprises a rigid hub connected to a shear beam by means of flexible, deformable polyurethane spokes, all functioning as a single unit.
Michelin believes the product has the potential to solve the previously unavoidable challenge of flat tyres in the landscape, construction, contracting, refuse/recycling and agricultural industries.
“Differentiating us from competitors, the Tweel airless radial tyre is the industry’s first commercialized airless radial solution and verifies Michelin’s leadership for the next generation of mobility,” said Ralph Dimenna, head of Michelin Tweel Technologies. “The Tweel airless radial tyre enables Michelin to enter new markets and expand its reach in existing business segments within the low-speed application category. The industry is hungry for solutions contributing to productivity, safety and bottom lines. Serving our customers is at the centre of our strategy for success.”