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Co-inventor of Michelin airless tire honored

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(ENR photo)
Tim Rhyne

GREENVILLE, S.C. (April 10, 2014) — Tim Rhyne, the co-inventor of Michelin’s Tweel non-pneumatic tire/wheel has picked up an award from Engineering News-Record (ENR), a McGraw Hill Financial publication. 

ENR bestowed its 2014 Award of Excellence on Tim Rhyne, a senior research fellow with Michelin Americas Research and Development Corp. and co-inventor of the Michelin Tweel.

Recipients are individuals “with the passion, drive and courage to tackle the most difficult challenges and make our world a better place,” according to ENR.

Mr. Rhyne started his career at Michelin in the machine design group in 1978 and has served in several research and development positions with the French tire maker’s North American company. In 1986, he began work in tire development and by 1996 was working exclusively in the tire research area.

(Michelin North America Inc. photo) Tim Rhyne and Steve Cron sketched out the concept for Michelin’s Tweel airless tire over lunch.

He since has been working with a team devoted to conceiving and developing new mobility concepts, according to Michelin.

It was over lunch in the late 1990s with Steve Cron, fellow Michelin engineer and co-inventor of the Michelin Tweel airless radial tire, that the idea of exploring alternatives to the pneumatic tire started. The two inventors ultimately sketched out a radial tire that didn’t require any air, Michelin said.

The Tweel concept tire/wheel combination was introduced in 2005. It comprises 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. The Michelin X-TWEEL SSL was commercially launched for skid steers in October 2012.

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