Tyres of the not-so-distant future
Tests have been completed for Hankook’s non-pneumatic tyre, and it passed with full marks
SEOUL (Korea) — Hankook Tyre announced recently that it has successfully completed its ride and handling tests for its latest non-pneumatic tyre (NPT) Hankook iFlex, which is made using eco-friendly materials.
The iFlex is the latest example of Hankook Tyre’s continued technology leadership. The company’s ability to push the boundaries of driving capabilities is a direct result of its foundation in research and development.
As the name suggests, NPTs do not require air pressure. Hankook Tyre has continued researching new tyre technologies particularly for NPT since 2011. Crucially, the company has been working towards the development of NPTs that achieve all of the practical benefits of conventional air-pressure tyres while simultaneously enhancing their high-speed tyre characteristics. The iFlex, which is the fifth NPT concept tyre that Hankook Tyre has released, is the culmination of that effort.
The company put the iFlex through a serious of rigorous tests designed to push the tyres to their limits in five categories: durability, hardness, stability, slalom (zigzag) and speed. In the speed test, the electric car equipped with iFlex tyres reached 130 km/h. The impressive results in all five categories demonstrated that the NPTs could match conventional tyres in terms of performance. At the same time, these results are expected to help the company solidify its position as a global top-tier tyre company and, give new momentum to its future-oriented R&D capabilities.
Construction of the iFlex is centred on a new type of uni-material designed to maximise the tyre’s eco-friendly potential. From a manufacturing standpoint, the material used during construction significantly enhances the energy efficiency. From a product standpoint, the material allows the iFlex to be recycled with greater ease. Hankook Tyre then went one step further, integrating new tyre construction techniques to simplify the manufacturing process from eight stages to just four, thus further reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
“The Hankook iFlex’s ability to deliver the perfect high-speed driving performance is the result of Hankook Tyre’s longstanding commitment to independently developing progressive, innovative tyre technology. Aiming to strengthen our technological leadership in the global tyre market, we will continue to develop cutting-edge eco-friendly and future-oriented tyres” said SeungHwa Suh, vice chairperson and CEO of Hankook Tyre.
Hankook Tyre now has a number of projects under way that are centred on future-oriented tyre products. For example, The Next Driving Lab, a campaign that started in 2013, is operated to let talented engineers and designers bring to life their wildest dreams for innovative driving experiences. Likewise, Hankook Tyre collaborates every two years with world-renowned design schools to host the Design Innovation project, which allows students to propose and study future tyre concepts designed at generating safer, more reliable and more advanced tyre performances.