Linglong Tire partners in China’s first 3D printed tyre project
Joint developmental work between Shandong Linglong Tire and the Beijing University of Chemical Technology recently bore fruit with the successful production of 3D printed polyurethane tyres. The tyre maker comments that this 3D tyre printing is a first in China.
According to Linglong Tire, the use of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material instead of rubber tread results in less heat build-up and thus lower rolling resistance. It says the material is easy and safe to use, and waste tyres can be easily recycled. In addition, the tyre maker anticipates much lower costs than for a comparable rubber tyre, and therefore opines that TPU will be the “main material for the next generation green tyre.”
The 3D printing process involves using fused deposition modelling (FDM) to form the thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material into a tyre shape shape with a hexagonal, honeycomb-like structure. Linglong Tire notes that the 3D printing process eliminates the need for a tyre mould, making the manufacturing process faster and more efficient.