Michelin recently announced that it has put their Tweel technology into production after parterning with John Deere. In their agreement, the company will put their Tweel technology onto all of the the John Deere ZTrak 900 series line-up of zero-turn commercial mowers. The tire company will provide the latest Tweel they have which is the X Tweel Turf airless radial tire.
"We have been working with the John Deere team for several years and the result is a partnership that has the potential to dramatically change the commercial mowing market. Our MICHELIN X TWEEL TURF provides the benefits associated with pneumatic tires, but it won’t go flat,” said Ralph Dimenna, head of Michelin Tweel Technologies.
The Tweel technology was first introduced by Michelin back in 2005 as a design concept. Besides its different look, the Tweel has an advantage over standard pneumatic tires as it still has the same properties of a rubber tire but without the problems of getting a flat. The Tweel is composed of several key components; the flexible yet rigid shear beam which makes up the circular frame of the Tweel, a deformable center wheel hub and poly-resin spokes and the rubber itself which is still wrapped around the Tweel.
When load is applied onto the Tweel, the deformable center wheel hub acts upon the spokes, pulling it downward. This enables the Tweel to create a large footprint and still provide traction, comfort and stability while eliminating the problem of having to change a flat tire or concerning about maintenance of the tires.
Currently, there are only 3 Tweel models by Michelin, the X Tweel SSL All Terrain and Hard Surface and the John Deere exclusive Turf models for the Ztrak 900 series of mowers. The All Terrain and Hard Surface models are only available for use on skid steer loaders according to Michelin as there are no plans yet of putting into passenger cars.