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Kumho’s Tire Laser etching promises customized tyres

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January 6, 2010

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Get set to design your own tyre patterns. That’s the future of tyre technology as seen by Kumho, and although individual design-your-own tyre tread is probably some way away yet, it’s quite feasible that tire chains, vehicle manufacturers and other brands could soon have their name etched into the tread of the tires their fleet of cars use. According to Kumho, "Mass production tread patterns can be a compromise - part functional and part aesthetic. In the future, Kumho plans to design its treads in two stages. The functional requirement, free of compromise, will be moulded in the normal way. Any additional attributes or design features will then be etched onto the surface as required.”

According to Kumho, "Mass production tread patterns can be a compromise - part functional and part aesthetic. In the future, Kumho plans to design its treads in two stages. The functional requirement, free of compromise, will be moulded in the normal way. Any additional attributes or design features will then be etched onto the surface as required.”

“The new laser technology will allow us far more freedom at the design stage and the ability to experiment with any number of patterns and surface finishes. In the future, the process could also provide production tires with a variety of short-term gains – such as special surfaces for use in motorsport or driving on low friction surfaces etc,” said Roger Jenkins, managing director of Kumho’s Birmingham-based European Technical Centre.

The Korean tire manufacturer’s laser etching technology was first seen last September at IAA in Frankfurt, and is clearly intended for volume production at this point in time, though Laser etching can clearly be altered tire by tire, and personalization is almost certainly part of the plan for further down the track.

The innovative laser etching technology scored a gong in the iF Product Design Awards this week in the Advanced Studies category.

The laser etched tire shown at Frankfurt, which incorporated the company’s logo, embodies technology that is set to transform the way Kumho designs its tread patterns. It was this concept tire, together with a typical application of Kumho’s products of the future, that the company entered for the award.

“Consumers take into account the design of a tire as well as its performance when making a purchase”, said Jenkins. “Kumho was one of the first companies to recognise this and continually invests in the development of both aspects. It is therefore all the more rewarding to have our work recognised with such a prestigious award.”

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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