The French tire manufacturer Michelin presents its first prototype tire designed with additive manufacturing: called Uptis (for Unique system of puncture-proof tires is a mounted assembly, ie wheel / tire, designed without air to avoid all punctures. The company worked with the American manufacturer General Motors, already experienced in 3D printing, to present a prototype printed in 3D at the "Movin & On" dome dedicated to sustainable mobility in Montreal. With this puncture-proof tire, they hope to reduce the number of discarded tires due to perforations and provide more safety for drivers.
In 2017, Michelin introduced its new tire concept, Vision, which revolved around four main features: it is a non-air connected device with a 3D printed tread that is easily modulated and designed with biosourced materials. A view that Michelin takes this time with the Uptis that could equip some cars in 2024. According to the French, about 20% of the world's tires are launched because of holes that correspond to 200 million units, weight of 200 Eiffel Tower ! A statement that Michelin and General Motors want to solve thanks to a flat tire.
Uptis, a future tire designed by 3D printing?
Both partners say nothing about how this tire is made – it is unclear whether it will incorporate a printed tread in 3D. However, 3D technologies were used to create the prototype and we can say that Michelin will want to follow the concept line Vision. He explains that he must use composite materials for the production of Uptis – materials that are fully compatible with additive manufacture. Eric Vinesse, Research and Development Director of the Michelin Group, explains:The Uptis prototype demonstrates Michelin's ability to innovate, both in the field of high-tech materials and in the development approach, in close collaboration with GM. This partnership further reinforces our innovation roadmap around our concept of Vision. "
This airless tire should significantly reduce the number of holes, giving motorists some peace of mind but also better productivity for all operations of the professionals. Finally, the ultimate goal of Uptis is to save money, reduce waste and promote more sustainable mobility. Michel and General Motors are conducting initial tests on cars such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, tests that are expected to continue under real-world conditions in the United States later this year.
General Motors CEO Steve Kiefer concludes: General Motors is excited about the possibilities offered by Uptis and the collaboration with Michelin in this innovative technology. Uptis is the ideal solution to drive the automotive industry into the future and perfectly illustrates how our customers benefit from the innovations developed with our OEM partners.. You can find more details on the Michelin ICI website and in the video below:
What do you think of the Uptis? Can it accelerate sustainable mobility? Share your opinion in the comments of the article or with the members of the 3Dnatives forum.