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Michelin North America Announces Several New Products

Karen Schwartz
“Both companies are uniquely positioned to continue leading in aerodynamics, Michelin's Karen Schwartz said of the company(John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Michelin North America introduced several new products that the Greenville, S.C., tire and equipment manufacturer said will improve fleet efficiency and help improve fuel mileage.

The unveilings were made at the Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition.

The company also announced a partnership with Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co. to deliver Michelin’s Energy Guard Mud Flaps as standard for all Utility’s refrigerated trailers starting in the second half of the year.

“Through years of joint testing, and as leaders in the development of aerodynamics, Michelin and Utility are replacing the standard mud flap and introducing a more durable and sustainable alternative,” said Karen Schwartz, Michelin’s B2B vice president of marketing for North America. “Both companies are uniquely positioned to continue leading in aerodynamics and will work together to create lighter and more efficient aerodynamic solutions that address customers’ needs for fuel savings and sustainable solutions.”

Michelin said the mud flap, which also will be available to dry van customers, is designed to reduce fuel and maintenance costs.

From a technical standpoint, the company says its louvered design will reduce vehicle drag and optimizes the spacing for high air pass-through, and its anti-sail design will keep the mud flaps straight and flat while in motion. They also are designed to deflect road spray and debris downward, and improve driver visibility.

Michelin logo

City of Industry, Calif.-based Utility manufactures dry freight vans, refrigerated vans and flatbeds.

“Michelin’s Energy Guard Mud Flap coupled with Utility’s Side Skirt and optional Trailer Tail is designed to help meet Utility’s goal of making our refrigerated trailer the most aerodynamic and efficient refrigerated trailer on the market,” Utility President and CEO Steve Bennett said. “For additional fuel savings, Utility now offers a 36-pound aluminum wheel that has an optional aerodynamic wheel cover as a retrofit option that can be provided by your local Utility dealer.”

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The flaps are 24 inches wide by 28 inches long and weigh 7 pounds per pair and were manufactured with 60% recycled materials.

Michelin also unveiled its new Energy Guard Lite Skirt Kit, which the company said will improve fuel efficiency. Only three brackets are needed to install the kit, compared with the standard four to five on some other models.

“This latest addition to the Energy Guard family is going to mean even more savings to the fleet owners and drivers on the road today who want a concise, lower-maintenance SmartWay solution,” Schwartz said. “This latest addition to fleet accessories is expected to reduce overall operational costs, saving up to 7.2 gallons for every 1,000 miles driven when paired with a 53-foot box trailer.”

The new mud flaps will be available in sizes 18 inches wide × 30 inches long, 24×24, 24×30 and 24×28. Michelin said that they can operate in temperatures from minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 212 degrees. The skirt will fit almost all trailer sizes from a 28-foot pup trailer to 53-foot-long box trailers.

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The company also introduced what it said is its lowest-rolling-resistance, longhaul steer tire, the X Line Energy Z+.

Designed to combine durability and fuel efficiency, the tire is constructed with a GHG Phase 2-approved fitment

“The Michelin X Line Energy Z+ tire’s enhanced durability and traction means you can drive with complete confidence as the miles continue to accrue on your fleet,” Schwartz said. “This product will not replace the X Line Energy Z but is an additional offer for those longhaul fleets that value optimal fuel efficiency leading improved total cost of ownership.”

Michelin said the product is an improvement and refinement over the 2016 model, which still will be available.

The new tire uses Infinicoil and Regenion sculpture technology. Infinicoil is a continuous steel wire, up to a quarter-mile in length, that is wrapped around the tire circumference to make it more stable and durable throughout its service life. Regenion utilizes metal 3D printing techniques that enable the tread design to evolve over time as it wears, giving drivers the grip they need over the service life of the tire in all conditions.

The 18/32-inch deep tread design of the Michelin X Line Energy Z+ tire features Regenion technology, and an evolving tread design allows additional tread grooves to develop at lower tread depths,” Schwartz said. “This gives a cost-competitive advantage to owners as the tire performance will be enhanced, allowing for longer use, less irregular wear and new-tire-like traction throughout the tread life.’’

The tire product is expected to launch in the third quarter and will be offered only in 295/75R22.5 LRH.


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