Michelin Unveils 3D Printed Tire Immune To Flats

michelin visionary tire

Innovation is key if you want to keep a seat at the top of the industry, while remaining relevant for customers. That’s why companies love to think big and come up with concepts that could one day change the world. Michelin is no exception. The company has recently unveiled a 3D-printed tire that can’t get a flat #automagic

Michelin hopes to stay at the forefront of automotive innovation with Visionary, an airless 3D printed tire. By discarding air, the tire is essentially immune to flats, blowouts and explosions. It was made using replaceable treads that come with sensors to detect wear. The data picked up is then sent to a companion app, basically turning it into a smart tire. 

Best of all, the tread patterns can be changed on a whim, just before you go to an alpine resort, for example. Terry Gettys, Michelin’s VP of Research and Development, envisions service centers where 3D modules can discard old treads and print new ones that fit the terrain characteristics. Plus, all treads would be up for recycling, so that they can be re-purposed afterwards.

The Visionary is the result of an intense research on airless tires, said Gettys: “We’ve profited from our research on airless tires to understand how to distribute the load carrying capability so that you have enough rigidity to carry the load, enough to steer the vehicle, and maintain stability, and yet not too much rigidity in order to maintain comfort.”

Even so, Michelin believes their 3D printed no-air tire will be up for commercializing in 15-20 years, no sooner.

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