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  1. 1. Michelin Introduces Radio Frequency Tire Identification Technology First Tire Company to Begin Fleet Testing of Radio Frequency Tire Identification System for Passenger and Light Truck Tires DETROIT, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The road to gathering information about the tires on your family vehicle is about to become an information super highway. Michelin engineers have developed a radio frequency identification (RFID) transponder that is manufactured into the tire and stores vital tire identification information. With this technology, the tire identification number can now be associated with the vehicle identification number (VIN) making the tires uniquely identifiable with an individual vehicle, telling when and where the tire was made, maximum inflation pressure, tire size, etc. "This innovation has attractive implications for tire makers, for vehicle makers and for consumers," said Tom Chubb, vice president of new product development for Michelin Automotive Industries Division. "For vehicle and tire makers it means a simple and innovative way to comply with federal record keeping standards, including those of the new TREAD (Transportation, Recall, Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation) Act. For consumers it means convenience and confidence." The transponder consists of an antenna and an integrated circuit that has a higher data capacity than a bar code, yet the integrated circuit is only about the size of a match head. It can be encoded and decoded with a simple hand-held device and unlike a bar code, remains unaffected by soil or deterioration over time. The information on the circuit can also be modified to reflect new data, such as the VIN number of the vehicle on which it is mounted. The integrated circuits are manufactured by Fairchild Semiconductor(TM) and Philips. As part of the supply arrangement, Philips provides its brand new I.CODE HSL IC. Both ICs are under license from Intermec Technologies Corporation. Michelin's unique contribution to this RFID system was its modification of the antenna attached to the electronic device and the proprietary treatment of the device that makes it possible to vulcanize the assembly into the tire. While some other tire makers have demonstrated similar technology, Michelin's RFID tag is the first to meet the Automotive Industry Action Group's B-11 standard for North America, as a "cured into the tire" solution. Operating at ultra high frequency (UHF), the Michelin RFID tag can be interrogated by a reader, hand-held or mounted, some 24 inches or more (at or beyond 60cm) away from the transponder. Once collected, the information can be stored in a database for accurate and easy retrieval. Fleet testing of the technology is currently under way. Michelin is believed to be the only tire maker to industrialize this kind of radio frequency technology in tires. Even with this kind of market place advantage, Michelin says it will gladly make the technology available to the entire industry. "No more getting down on your hands and knees to read tire information off the sidewall," said Terry Gettys, president of Michelin North Americas Research and Development Corporation. "But that's only the convenience factor. The real benefit of this technology, especially in light of the TREAD Act, is how it can enhance the industry's ability to access information about tires and vehicles." Michelin says the RFID technology will most likely be introduced through the original equipment market, but could soon be feasible for replacement tires as well. "We see great promise in this technology," said Gettys. "In future generations, the electronics in tires will be able to communicate with the vehicle's computers, giving information about tire air pressure, even ride characteristics like suspension stiffness and ride comfort for a given road surface."
  2. 2. Michelin says the cost of this technology will be affordable and value driven. Like any innovation, the cost per unit will go down as it becomes more and more industrialized. Original equipment manufacturers are already interested. At least one international OEM is working with Michelin to bring RFID to market as an option in model year 2005. "We believe this technology is a breakthrough in information reporting that should be shared and advanced throughout the industry," Gettys said. "The sooner RFID is widely available, the sooner it will begin benefiting the industry and consumers." Michelin manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, maps and atlases covering Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America employs 25,900 and operates 22 plants in 18 locations. For more information about Intermec, a UNOVA company (NYSE:UNA) , visit EDITOR'S ADVISORY: For photos, please contact Sherri Addison of Michelin North America, Inc. at +1-864-458-6283, or Source: Michelin North America, Inc. CONTACT: Nancy Banks of Michelin North America, Inc., +1-864-505-9691, or Web site: Web site: Jan 7, 2003 16:15 ET
  3. 3. To Be Or Not To Be ... Flat Is The Question DETROIT, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Tire designers at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company received a daunting -- and puzzling -- challenge recently. They were asked to design a tire that wouldn't go flat if it lost air pressure, yet it was to have a "flat design." Puzzled? Think again. The tire is a Goodyear PAX concept tire, and it appears on the Audi Pikes Peak, a new sport utility vehicle concept design introduced here this week. Even with no air in the tire, the vehicle retains its mobility, with a capability of traveling 124 miles at 50 miles per hour. However, as the tire was designed to keep it from going flat, Goodyear engineers also were challenged to make it flat. "Audi officials asked that our tire design not be too organic -- round and flowing. Instead, they wanted the tread design theme and elements to be planer -- plane as in relation to flat surfaces," said Bill Ratliff, an advanced design engineer at Goodyear. "They felt a flat plane design would match the styling cues of the vehicle, so that's where we concentrated. The look of this Goodyear PAX tire is plane-like and very faceted. All of the little details, angles and surfaces catch and reflect a great amount of light and shadows in a way that is unique compared to other tread designs." Seven initial tire designs were submitted by Goodyear to Audi. One was selected, and some changes were made to ready it for the new vehicle. Design on the tire was a cooperative effort between Goodyear's engineers at the company's Akron, Ohio and Luxembourg technical centers. The concept tires for the vehicle on display in Detroit were laser-cut in Luxembourg. Although it is a concept design, the tire had to be somewhat driveable for photography and display purposes. The tire size is 295/770R560, with measurements in millimeters. The rim diameter is 22 inches. Tread design features include a center-faceted groove, minimal blading to keep the design as clean as possible, and an overall intent of providing an aggressive, biting-type of appearance. "This design turned out to be a perfect match for the vehicle. It's very aggressive, yet well-suited for on- road driving," said Ratliff. Such credentials fit well with the vehicle, which is intended for the luxury sport 4x4 market as a touring vehicle first, with off-roading capabilities as secondary. This also marks the initial North American showing of a Goodyear PAX tire, which comes as a result of the company's joint efforts with Michelin in PAX run-flat technology. Goodyear also continues working on its exclusive EMT (Extended Mobility Technology) run-flat tires, which have been commercially available since the mid-'90s. More than 1 million Goodyear EMT tires have been used on vehicles, and Goodyear has more than 100 run-flat projects ongoing with auto makers worldwide. Source: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company CONTACT: Jim Davis of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, +1-330-796-4114, or Web site:
  4. 4. Jan 7, 2003 15:50 ET
  5. 5. Goodyear Designers Get 'Edgy' When Creating New Tires AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- When someone is "on edge," that generally means they are nervous, angry or a bit impatient. When design engineers at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company become "edgy," it only means some innovative tire designs are on the way. These "tread artists" are constantly challenged to devise appealing -- but functional -- adaptations to the traditional rubber donut that carries millions of vehicles from Point A to B. Goodyear tire designers work their magic to develop products that achieve the near-impossible. Their handiwork results in tires that last longer, withstand potentially damaging obstacles and provide high- speed performance better than ever before. They have made possible everything from the unique center-groove Aquatred design to amazing tires that can keep a vehicle rolling even when all air pressure has been lost. Sometimes, seemingly "wild" tire designs succeed. The unconventional idea is not a closed door to Goodyear tire designers. To succeed in developing exciting new products, they have to work on the edge -- a technological edge. "We still use ink on paper for some idea-sketching, but our design work is completed on computer," said Bill Egan, Goodyear's chief engineer for passenger tires. "And while we experiment with many breakthrough -- even crazy -- designs, the very specific detail work is always documented in intensive drawings via specialized design systems. "As a company, we must work on the edge to attain great things. As designers, we must develop concepts that may or may not work at any given time. But sometimes, yesterday's impossible idea becomes possible today through technology -- by working on the edge." That's how Aquatred and Goodyear's EMT (run-flat) tires were developed. The wildly different tires evolved from Goodyear's involvement in auto racing and its concept tires on tomorrow's vehicles at worldwide auto shows. Both are areas where the company works on the edge. In the early 1980s, Goodyear produced a prototype tire similar to what would become the Aquatred for General Motors' Aero 2000 concept car at Disney's Epcot Center in Florida. It was the first tire with an aquachannel center groove to pump water from beneath the tire for optimum wet-weather traction. The question of whether consumers would buy a tire that offers superior wet traction on their family sedan seems irrelevant now, since millions of Aquatreds and its generations of successors have been sold. Product differentiation and creativity in design, as evidenced by Aquatred, sells in the marketplace. Innovation in product design -- setting Goodyear tires apart from the rest -- is a competitive advantage that translates into greater sales in the fiercely competitive tire industry. Working on the edge has benefits. In recent years, Goodyear has been able to break down design barriers to open a new world of potential performance advantages. Previously, curvature of tire's design was impossible on the computer. Now, the tire's inflated profile can be created on the screen, even allowing early-stage "testing" to occur on the computer. Without Goodyear's customized three- dimensional software to design potential new tires, tire designers, engineers and mold manufacturers would have had to draw and carve all new models by hand. The "future-world" computer tools Goodyear designers have at their disposal allows them to create tire designs that rival some of the best of the automotive realm. While vehicle "artists" are devising the coolest new concept cars, their counterparts in tire design are stretching the envelope, too.
  6. 6. Michelin PAX(R) System Comes to North America Variety of Continued Mobility Technologies from Michelin Highlighted at NAIAS DETROIT, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The first North American fitment for the Michelin PAX(R) System will be unveiled at the 2003 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Rolls Royce is introducing its new 2004 model, complete with Michelin's revolutionary continued mobility system as standard equipment. The 2004 Rolls Royce Phantom, available for delivery to consumers in April 2003, is fitted with Michelin(R) PAX(R) 265x790R540A tires. Although this is the first North American vehicle riding on PAX System, the tire/wheel system has been available in Europe since June 2001 and is found on the Renault Scenic and the new Audi A8. Rolls Royce is the first automaker to use PAX System as standard equipment on 100 percent of the new model. "We proudly welcome Rolls Royce as the latest customer of the Michelin PAX System and the first automaker to bring PAX System to the streets of North America," said Jean-Michel Guillon, COO of Michelin Automotive Industry Division. "This is the next logical step in the advancement of PAX System in the industry. The system has had great success with consumers and automakers alike in Europe. Now, drivers in North America will have the chance to experience the PAX System advantages." In addition to outfitting the new Rolls Royce Phantom with PAX System, Michelin has also equipped four concept vehicles at the NAIAS with its PAX System tires. Mazda is featuring a concept vehicle sporting Michelin PAX(R) 225x750R540A tires. The Renault Vel Satis has been fitted with Michelin PAX 225x690R540A tires and the Renault Koleos is completed with Michelin PAX 240x800R560A Heracles tires. Toyota is introducing a new fuel cell vehicle equipped with Michelin PAX 215x730R560 tires. While Michelin is introducing PAX System on a production vehicle and four concept vehicles, Goodyear has equipped one concept vehicle with PAX System tires for the show as well. Goodyear, Pirelli and Sumitomo are each developing the PAX System in their own product lines. "Our vision was for PAX System to become an industry standard embraced by major automakers on every continent and manufactured by a variety of tiremakers. Now in 2003, we are seeing this goal rapidly becoming reality," said Guillon. "Michelin has achieved a new milestone in the development of continued mobility tires," explains Guillon. "The technology now becomes an integral part of the vehicle design, enabling advancements in both form and function. The spare tire can be eliminated. Additional interior space is available. With PAX System, there is room inside the wheel for suspension and braking components, eliminating many of the compromises between passenger comfort and vehicle performance that were made in the past. This achievement as an enabler of performance and design is the true success of Michelin's continued mobility program." Although the revolutionary PAX(R) System is certainly the future of continued mobility, it is not the only option from Michelin -- far from it. Michelin North America offers a full range of continued mobility options for the original equipment market with sealant, zero pressure (ZP) and PAX System. Several high-profile production vehicles are outfitted with Michelin(R) ZP(R) tires including the new Dodge Viper and the 2004 Cadillac XLR. Additionally, Uniroyal(R) NailGard(R) tires are original equipment on several production vehicles such as the 2003 Ford Windstar and 2003 Pontiac Aztec. NailGard(R) sealant is used inside the tire to seal-off punctures and minimize air loss. Michelin ZP tires have advanced "run flat" technology that eliminates the need for a spare tire and
  7. 7. provides outstanding overall performance. The ZP design has self-supporting sidewalls that allow the tires to maintain operation after a loss of pressure for up to 100 miles of continuous driving. Michelin's Zero Pressure(TM) technology features overall performance superior to many competing run-flat systems, which are designed strictly for high performance use and exhibit harsh ride qualities. Michelin ZP tires deliver both the high performance and smooth ride demanded by drivers. About Michelin PAX System: Michelin introduced the PAX System in 1998. This revolutionary new system is an integrated unit including a tire, an asymmetrical wheel, a flexible support ring inside the tire and a tire pressure monitoring system. In the event of a loss of air pressure, the PAX tire rides on the inner support ring. The vehicle can continue to operate at 55mph for up to 125 miles. Although easily mounted and dismounted, a PAX System tire cannot come off the rim during operation. When in normal operation, PAX(R) System tires improve road handling, driving comfort and reduce rolling resistance by up to 10 percent (which translates into better fuel economy) with no trade-off in tire performance. More information can be found at . Michelin manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, maps and atlases covering Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America ( ) employs 25,900 and operates 22 plants in 18 locations. Source: Michelin North America CONTACT: Lynn Mann of Michelin North America, +1-864-458-4698, cell: +1-864-449-1864, ; or Dave Roznowski of Event Management Corp., +1-313-449-0108, cell: +1-734-604-4999, , for Michelin North America Web site: Web site: