Michelin North America Inc. is opening a plant in Piedmont, S.C., dedicated to the production of its “Tweel” non-pneumatic tire/wheel assembly.
The tire maker did not disclose investment, size, employment or production capacity details at this time. The company will hold a ribbon-cutting Nov. 20 for the plant, the firm's 10th in South Carolina and 16th in the U.S.
Piedmont is an unincorporated “census-designated place” south of Greenville in Anderson County with a population of about 5,000 inhabitants.
Greenville-based Michelin only recently disclosed its first original equipment deal for the Tweel — with Deere & Co. for the John Deere ZTRAK zero-turn commercial lawn mowers, along with an expanded size range for skid steers.
The Tweel — which uses a network of elastomeric polyurethane spokes fused to a wheel hub and a circular outer flat rim to replace the casing, beads and sidewall structures as the load-bearing element — debuted at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
A more traditional rubber tread is bonded to the flat rim for road grip.
After initially touting the Tweel as a possible replacement for pneumatic tires in many applications, Michelin has scaled back the product's commercial application range to skid-steers and other industrial applications as an alternative to pneumatics, solids or filled pneumatics.
The Tweel made its commercial debut in late 2012 after seven years in development.
Michelin North America Chairman Pete Selleck and Michelin Tweel Technologies Vice President Ralph Dimenna are scheduled to be on hand for the ribbon-cutting opening the new plant in Piedmont, along with Greenville County Officials.