Jul 23, 2018 | By Thomas

Michelin wants to put wood in your tires, and the company believes wooden tires will be a reality in less than two years.

Michelin announced its 2048 ambitions in May, which includes a plan to manufacture 100 percent recyclable tires by the year 2048, while using 80 percent sustainable materials. Now, that plan has received additional clarification, as the French tire maker told Motoring in an interview that Michelin is investigating the use of wood in its tires.

Cyrille Roget, Michelin's worldwide director of scientific and innovation communication, said that company is looking to replace key oil ingredients with wood-based ones, and hope to show the first tire made of wood sometime in 2020.

The route to this ambitious sustainable material target will be achieved by research programs into bio-sourced materials like Biobutterfly. The Biobutterfly program was launched in 2012 with Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles to create synthetic elastomers from biomass such as wood, straw or beet.

Michelin is developing innovative solutions today in order to integrate more and more recycled and renewable materials in its tires. The move to wood ingredients brings a lot of benefits. "Trees grow everywhere. So you re-distribute the opportunity for everyone to have local sourcing. And they are renewable," said Roget.

The wooden tyres will still have most of the components used today, but the elastomers from wood chips will replace the oil content in tyres.

“We have a project working with wood chips. We will use the waste from the wood industry to create elastomers that come into tires,” Roget added. “We believe it is a good solution for the future.”

Right now, the company is researching on wood in Brazil and setting up a plantation model that allows for the growing of bananas and cocoa alongside rubber. The company believes one day that 3D printing will revolutionize the tire process.  Advanced materials and 3D printing technologies will be used to manufacture and renew the tread of this mobility solution and will mean that it is 100 percent recyclable.

The company has established a joint venture called AddUp with Fives Group S.A. to develop a line of metal 3D printers, and they will use 3D printed molds to improve Michelin tire performance.

Roget admits the realistic timeframe for 3D printing of tyres is 10-15 years, but hopes new technologies could change that.

“We are working with it to develop rubber printing, or polymer printing. We are more in the early stages of this technology. But it needs to be industrialised and ready for the future.”

3D printed tire made of recycled materials can be recycled at the end of its life. It even has a re-printable tread, so the bulk of the tire never needs to be changed.

“We can print the tread, but it needs to be industrialised. We are making some very fast advances," Roget explained. "It could be that eventually the re-charge station for your electric car is also the recharge station for the tyres."



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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2robotguy wrote at 7/23/2018 10:39:34 PM:

Fantastic idea Michelin, Now our tires can really dry rot :-)

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