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Michelin Engineer Recognized for Tire Technology

Dr. Tim Rhyne, a senior research fellow with Michelin Americas Research and Development Corp., was selected as a 2014 Top 25 Newsmaker recipient by Engineering News-Record, receiving the award at a ceremony held at the Marriott Marquis in New York City on April 3.

Dr. Rhyne was recognized for his work on the Michelin Tweel airless radial tire technology. Dr. 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 he was working exclusively in the tire research area. Ever since, he has been working with a team devoted to conceiving and developing new mobility concepts.   

It was over lunch in the late 1990s with fellow Michelin engineer and co-inventor of the Michelin Tweel airless radial tire, Steve Cron, that the idea of challenging pneumatic tire technology and exploring new and revolutionary concepts for this essential component of mobility was born. The two inventors ultimately sketched out a viable radial tire that didn't require any air. “It was a eureka moment,” said Dr. Rhyne.

“We are honored to have ENR recognize one of our engineers who helped create the Tweel concept,” said Tim Fulton, head of Michelin Tweel Technologies. “He and Steve Cron have made an important contribution to Michelin and to mobility.”

Originally introduced by Michelin in 2005, the Tweel airless radial tire concept is a tire and wheel combination that replaces the current tire, wheel and valve assembly. It 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.

The Tweel was on display at the recent ConExpo-Con/Agg show.