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Airless recyclable tyre claimed a success

Breathless: Hankook is the latest company to show an airless car tyre but won’t discuss production timetables.

After many attempts Hankook says it has closed in on making puncture-proof tyre

16 Jul 2015

SOUTH Korean tyre maker Hankook says the dream of a puncture proof tyre is almost a reality.

It announced this week that its iFlex non-pneumatic tyre (NPT) can be as safe and effective as a conventional tyre after reporting it had successfully conducted high-speed, ride and handling tests on an unnamed electric car.

But that’s as far as Hankook went. The company has been working on an airless car tyre since 2001 and the latest version is its fifth generation.

In a statement, it said the iFlex had been put through “a serious (sic) of rigorous tests designed to push the tires to their limits in five categories: durability, hardness, stability, slalom (zigzag) and speed.” “In the speed test, the electric car equipped with iFlex tires reached 130km/h.

“The impressive results in all five categories demonstrated that the NPTs could match conventional tires in terms of performance.

“At the same time, these results are expected to help the company solidify its position as a global top-tier tire company and, give new momentum to its future-oriented R&D capabilities.” The iFlex is made from a recyclable composite plastic material which is developed in four manufacturing steps, improving on the eight steps needed for its previous airless tyres.

Other airless tyres include the Michelin Tweel which is in production and used in low-speed commercial applications, and the TerrainArmor tyre used by Polaris on some of its ATV models.

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