Michelin has been showing off its idea of combining the wheel and tire into a single component as far back as 2005. Dubbed the Tweel, the design replaced standard pneumatic tires and metal wheels with deforming spokes around a hub. While uses of the Tweel are still limited, the tech is about to get a big upgrade in production with Michelin opening a dedicated factory to build them in Piedmont, South Carolina, on November 20.
The Tweel is available for skid steer loaders and certain models of John Deere lawn mowers. The current design uses a steel center hub that bolts up just like a regular wheel, and poly-resin spokes radiate outward to support the treads. With no air inside, there’s no way for one of these to go flat, and it deforms around most obstacles.
Click here to read the full article.