IT’LL NEVER GO FLAT
By TA News Bureau:
A tyre that will never go flat would naturally raise scepticism among all the top global companies that are announcing off and on successful development of non-pneumatic tyres. While motoring enthusiasts eagerly wait to pick up a set of tyres that will outlast their vehicles, Morris Corn, President of Scitech industries and Turf Tech, has a vision to produce a tyre that is virtually indestructible. His unique airless tyre, unlike other claims, does not require any special rims. From cars, trucks, golf carts to bicycles, his non-pneumatic tyre could be fitted on existing rims. Moreover, his tyre can be retreaded many times. In an interview to Tyre Asia, he reveals that his tyre is different from all other airless tyres, including the Tweel.
Morris Corn, President of Scitech industries and Turf Tech, has been nurturing a vision to commercially produce a non-pneumatic tyre that will remain unique. From his perspective a commercial airless tyre needs to answer all the requirements of a present pneumatic tyre and still be airless.
He worked on his vision to produce a non-pneumatic tyre that will have the advantages such as fitting on a standard rim. Customers should be able to exchange a tyre just like the market does today.
He envisioned that his airless tyre should provide standard ride and meet all the US Department of Transportation (DOT) tests, create optimal rolling resistance that does not change, be capable of being retreaded over and over again, be able to be produced to compete with today’s tyres, and be able to reduce the cost of the OEM vehicle market.
“With our tyre there is no need to carry a spare, no need for a jack, any tyre gauge and warning systems. Our tyre will also address the need for a greener marketplace and a decrease in the need for virgin rubber. Turf Tech Tire addresses all these issues and has answers for all these points.”
For the past few years Morris Corn and his associates have been working tirelessly to commercially develop airless tyres that they claim would eclipse the rest who are on the race to develop non-pneumatic tyres. “Our tyre is different from all other airless tyres because ours will fit on a standard rim, be able to be retreaded and cost about what a pneumatic tyre costs to make. No other tyre can claim this, says Corn in an interview to Tyre Asia as he unveiled his vision.
Turf Tech’s tyre will be cost competitive mainly because it requires only three manufacturing processes compared to 36 different steps of operations in making a standard tyre. This itself will help slash the production cost to the bare bone.
“Our tyre is made with patented injection moulding equipment and we only use 1-2 kinds of rubber. That makes this possible. This is a much faster process. The extra cost of the composite materials is offset by the moulding process. So our tyre can be made at about pneumatic tyre costs.”
When asked whether his tyres would eliminate the use of natural rubber as they are supposed to be moulded in glass-fibre and PET, he said that the fibreglass/PET composites are used to make the internal construction. “The sidewall and tread are the same rubber as in pneumatic tyres,” he explained.
The SUB-X (safe, unfailing, boundless) tyre, as it is described by SciTech, is designed using internal thermoplastic fibreglass composite ribs with a tensile strength of 700,000 psi. The strength of the materials used is greater than that of steel.
Referring to the challenges that tyre engineers could face to design the tread that would ensure better wet grip and lower rolling resistance, Corn explained that the tread design and rubber can be the same as today’s best tread and rubber designs.
What is more, this tyre would not have problems as in the case of disposal of end of life pneumatic tyres that still face a lot of environment issues. “Our tyre is eco-friendly because we use less rubber and less amounts of other polymers. Retreading requires less use of rubber. These points lead to less tyre disposal issues.”
Retreaders do not need to worry about damage to the carcass that could lead to blow out because in Turf Tech’s tyre there is no air. “It doesn’t even matter if my tyre has a hole in it. You not only can retread it once, you can retread it multiple times and not have a blowout because it can’t—there’s no compressed air in it.”
Corn is upbeat about his tyres when used in fleet operations. “Fleet companies will love the idea that they can retread tyres over and over even with blemishes. The fact that the tyres have a built in tyre size that never changes will give a trucker constant minimum rolling resistance. Besides all these unique advantages, the truckers don’t have to buy special rims.”
The Turf Tech’s tyre would come in all sizes, including those needed for driverless cars and autonomous vehicles. It weighs similar to pneumatic tyres. “Our patented technology allows us to build all size tyres, bicycle to mining tyres.”
He is sure that his tyre will have demand worldwide and is in the process of firming up investments. He has already received $2.2 million in the first round of the start up operations. “We are open to all discussions with strategic tyre manufactures and venture capital firms.”
The composite rib and tyre construction are covered by world wide patents. Moreover, the commercial versions of the Turf Tech Tire will create a new tyre for almost anything on wheels, from garden tractors to the largest off the road vehicles.
Corn affirmed that his tyres offer many benefits to the manufacturer and the consumer. These include better fuel economy, as much as 2 per cent or more. As there is no need to carry spare tyres, jack or tools the vehicle weight will come down considerably contributing to more mileage. As there is no sidewall warpage, the driver can have quicker vehicle handling that results in superior safety.
He said the composite-supported airless tyre can never be underinflated or overinflated. It also prevents heat build-up, and can sustain multiple impacts from road hazards — even from ammunition rounds. This is because out of an average 100 springs per tyre about nine are supporting load from the road at any given time. Thus, even the loss of several springs is not enough to cause failure.
Corn said the investment in manufacturing this unique tyre will be minimal as making TTT tyres requires much less equipment and space. It requires only three or fewer rubber compounds, a cost saving in itself. There are no calendered belts, and there is no need to have any specialised or expensive materials.
Corn’s business strategy is to build commercially proven airless tyres through the beta stage and then licence the IP to tyre manufacturers. “We are now about 80 per cent to achieve this goal. We also have an on going IP material development as well as development of injection moulding process which is a separate business in itself.”
Corn is outspoken when he said the tyre industry is a dinosaur. There has been no inventive change since the radial tyre. It has trouble understanding composite material in the springs that are in his tyre. As long as this attitude continues, the consumer really doesn’t have a choice. He thinks the disruption that he is going to come up with will shake up the tyre industry.