GREENVILLE, S.C. (Oct. 29, 2012)—Seven years after debuting its Tweel non-pneumatic tire/wheel assembly, Michelin North America Inc. has begun commercial sales of a version for the for skid-steel loaders used in landscaping, construction, contracting, refuse/recycling and agricultural industries.
The version being launched commercially, the 12N16.5 X-Tweel SSL hub design, is described as universal and can be fitted on most skid steer loaders. It is available in the U.S. and Canada as a "no-compromise" solution for skid-steer owners.
Introduced in 2005, the Tweel is a single unit replacing the pneumatic tire, wheel and valve assembly. It replaces the 23 components of a typical radial tire and is comprised of a rigid hub, connected to a shear band by means of flexible, deformable polyurethane spokes and a tread band, all functioning as a single unit.
Skid-steer loaders with pneumatic tires typically experience several flat tires per month, Michelin said. To reduce downtime from flats, many users fill their pneumatic tires with foam or replace them with solid tires, resulting in machines with inadequate traction, handling and ride comfort.
Michelin claims its Tweel provides no-maintenance advantages of air pressure, easy mounting, damage resistance, increased operator comfort, reduced operator fatigue, improved productivity, longer wear life than pneumatic tires and better traction than pneumatics or solids.