TOKYO—Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. said it has developed inner liner technology that it claims "substantially improves" the ability to maintain air pressure in commercial vehicle tires for trucks and buses.
The new inner liner can reduce natural air leakage by about 30 percent compared with conventional liners, Yokohama said, helping maintain tire pressure and allowing the design and manufacturing of lighter tires. The new inner liner technology is being applied to tires manufactured at the company's domestic plants in Japan starting this month and will be introduced gradually at plants overseas.
Yokohama described its technology as using "flat talc"—particulate talc in planar shapes, a key characteristic of the mineral talc—imbedded in the inner liner rubber in multiple layers. The flat talc blocks the permeation of air through the rubber, substantially cutting the volume of air escaping from the tire.
Underinflation reduces fuel efficiency due to increased rolling resistance and also adversely affects wear and safety, Yokohama said.
This is Yokohama's second key development in this area. In 2009, it released its Airtex Advanced Liner—created from new materials—for passenger cars and has employed the technology in fuel-efficient tires and "comfort" tires.
The Tokyo-based tire maker did not say how much it invested in the development, how much it adds to the cost of manufacturing or whether it has patented the technology.