Michelin designs self-regenerating tread

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Michelin Retread Technologies has announced what it describes as the first self-regenerating retread – the Michelin XDA Hypersipe. The retread, according to the company, uses Michelin-patented tread design and siping technology to mold tread features on both the top and bottom of a Pre-Cure tread band.

Sipes molded into the bottom of the tread appear as the tire wears, giving improved worn traction over the life of the retread, Michelin says. The bottom sipes appear at approximately half tread depth and last literally down to the last usable 32/nd of tread, giving the retreaded tire better traction at reduced tread depth and allowing the tire to be removed from service later in life, according to the company.

Research engineers at Michelin Americas Research and Development Corp. began working on the challenge in spring 2004. Two years later, the company says the solution has been fully industrialized, with the revolutionary Michelin XDA Hypersipe treads ready for production at MRT’s tread pressing plant in Covington, Ga.

“After the introduction of the first co-extruded treads with the XDA-HT and the XZU S, our engineers once again bring new innovation to the market for the benefit of our customers with a tread that regenerates itself as it wears,” says Luc Minguet, chief operating officer of Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “More miles-per-retread, better traction – particularly wet, worn traction – as well as better fuel economy all add up to improving the end-user’s bottom line through innovation.”

The expansion of Michelin’s Covington facility, which will be completed next month, not only will double the plant’s capacity but also will include the technology required to produce Hypersipe treads. The XDA Hypersipe will be available commercially in limited quantities in the 230mm tread width in August; Michelin intends to add more sizes in the future.

“The Michelin Hypersipe maximizes the potential of pre-cure retreading,” says John Melson, research director for truck tires at Michelin Americas Research Corp. “The underside of the tread package had been a forgotten frontier for innovation. Now it’s delivering a real performance benefit that helps maintain the traction of the retread consistently over its entire life cycle.”