Kumho launches sealant tire for South Korea

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Crain News Service report

GWANGJU, South Korea (Jan. 13, 2014) — Kumho Tire Co. Inc. has launched what it's calling the South Korean tire industry's first sealant tire.

The company said that some global brands have launched self-sealing tire models on the market, but Kumho Tire claims to be the first Korean tire maker to introduce the product to South Korea which is sold exclusively within the country.

Jung Il-Taik, senior vice president in charge of material development, said the tires are "the first of their kind on the South Korean market, (and) are the result of cutting-edge technical prowess."

The firm also explained more about the workings of the sealant tire. When debris penetrates the tire tread, the sealant tire automatically seals the damaged part, allowing for normal driving without the loss of air pressure. The technology is also known as the "self-sealing tire."

While the weight of a sealant tire is about 10 percent higher than a normal tire, ride quality, braking performance, handling performance and noise levels are equivalent to normal tires, according to Kumho.

When the tread of a normal tire is penetrated by nails or other sharp objects, the air inside the tire leaks out and the tire goes flat. However, in a sealant tire, a sealant layer in the form of a gel automatically moves to the damaged area and fills in the damaged portion through self-sealing to prevent the loss of air pressure.

There are two types of tires that protect drivers from puncture accidents during driving: run-flats and sealant tire, Run-flat tires can be driven for a certain distance after a puncture occurs, after which the damaged tire must be replaced. The sealant tire automatically repairs damaged parts penetrated by foreign debris such as nails, and the tire does not need replacing until it reaches the end of its normal service life, with regular safety inspections.

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This report appeared in European Rubber Journal Report, a U.K.-based sister publication of Tire Business.

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