The Michelin Group and The Dow Chemical Company have signed an agreement for Dow to supply Michelin with a polyurethane-based inner support wheel that will enable an automobile with a flat tyre to travel up to 125 miles at 55 miles-per-hour.
This run-flat support wheel will be featured in Michelin’s PAX system, an integrated tyre/wheel management system. Using the PAX System, the need to carry a spare tyre is eliminated, making automobiles lighter in weight and, therefore, more fuel-efficient.
The agreement is part of an ongoing joint development agreement between the two companies that began in February of 2000.
The contract guarantees Dow a significant percentage of Michelin’s business for polyurethane run-flat support wheels over the coming years. Results of the development will be made available to other PAX System licensees (Goodyear and Pirelli at the present time.)
The polyurethane support ring provided by Dow is mounted on the wheel and is a key component in PAX System’s run-flat capability. The tyre, which rests on the support ring, can continue to run deflated for up to 125 miles. In addition to the support ring, the PAX System includes an innovative tyre-wheel configuration and a pressure-monitoring device.
Dow says that based on a 10% market share for new cars, the agreement, over time, could represent hundreds of millions of dollars.