PRAGUE, Czech Republic (Sept. 26, 2012) — CODA Development S.r.o., a Czech developer of a self-inflating tire (SIT) technology, claims to have signed a commercial licensing agreement with a “major Asian tire producer,” but company principals did not identify the Asian company or any further details of the contract.
Prague-based CODA claims working together with this “strong industry partner” will help it accelerate the development of products using its patented SIT technology.
The contract grants the Asian producer rights to make and sell products made with SIT technology in specific, unspecified territories of Asia. CODA said it continues its search for business partners to participate in the introduction of SIT technology in Asian markets, including Japan and South Korea, as well as in European and American markets.
Frantisek Hrabal, the inventor of SIT and CEO of CODA, called the deal a “major milestone” for his company.
“We believe that our work will soon serve as the single solution, eliminating all the negative consequences of tire underinflation,” he said.
CODA has won a number of awards for its technology, including the Tire Technology of the Year Award in 2009 at the Tire Technology Expo and the AEI Tech Award in 2008 at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress.
Radomil Novak, president of CzechINVENT Technology, a private nonprofit agency that facilitated the contract negotiations with the unnamed Asian parter, said this “novel technology” will become the “industry standard” and has the potential to change the entire tire market.
“Not many inventions have this potential,” he said. “We are proud that the idea comes from a common Czech and Slovak development team.”
According to information posted on CODA's website, the SIT technology is based on proven peristaltic pump principles. A SIT tire has an integrated tube chamber in the sidewall that opens and closes with the the rotation of the tire.
The tube chamber is kept closed at its lowest point by the normal tire deformation caused by the weight of the vehicle, CODA said. As the tire turns against the road, this closure moves along the tube chamber, forcing more air into the tire with each wheel rotation until it reaches optimal pressure. Then, a managing valve stops the intake of outside air and allows for inside circulation between the tire and the tube chamber, back and forth.
If the internal pressure falls below its optimal level, the managing valve disables internal air circulation and opens the intake of atmospheric air to activate the inflation again. The managing valve can be either electronic or purely mechanical, CODA said.
The company did not respond to repeated requests for comment a year ago on its development and similarities to Goodyear's “Air Maintenance Technology,” which came to light in August 2011 after the Akron tire maker received government grants in the U.S. and Europe to further its development.
CODA claims this contract could open doors for further discussions with investors and investment groups to raise funding for final stage of research and development and expansion of SIT technology to global markets.