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Development of the iFlex

Testing for Hankook's non-pneumatic tire was conducted at its G’Trac proving ground in Korea using a Kia Ray electric vehicle

by Rachel Evans

 

Hankook Tire recently completed ride and handling tests of its non-pneumatic tire (NPT), the Hankook iFlex, which is claimed to have a rolling resistance 25% higher than similar pneumatic tires.

These were conducted using a Kia Ray electric vehicle at the tire maker’s G’Trac proving ground in Geumsan, South Korea. The facility is situated right next to Hankook Tire’s Geumsan plant and 50km away from Hankook's R&D center. Tests were mainly carried out on G’Trac’s dry and wet surfaces. Hankook put the iFlex through a serious of rigorous tests designed to push the tires to their limits in five categories: durability, hardness, stability, slalom and speed.

“The company is pleased with the speed test results, as the iFlex tires reached 130km/h during an hour-long indoor endurance test without any incidents,” says Seok-ju Choi, Hankook new concept tire project leader.

Integrated new tire construction techniques simplify the manufacturing process from eight stages to just four, further reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

“Since the NPTs do not need the wide variety of tire components required by general rubber-based tires, manufacturing stages such as calendering, cutting, assembling, extruding, and building are no longer necessary,” explains Choi.

The iFlex is also made from an eco-friendly urethane uni-material, which can be more easily recycled compared with products made from synthetic materials.

According to Choi, the next stage of the research will be to further focus on the commercialization of technology for reducing tire vibration and enhancing actual vehicle performance in order to develop and enter new tire markets in the future.

To see the iFlex tests click the video below. 

August 7, 2015 

 

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