Shandong Linglong Tire has teamed up with the Beijing University of Chemical Technology to produce a 3-D printed tire, Tyres & Accessories reports.
The tire uses thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material instead of rubber tread. The material allows for less heat build-up and lower rolling resistance, the tiremaker said. The material can also easily be recycled.
The 3-D printing process uses fused deposition modeling to turn the TPU into a tire using a hexagonal, honeycomb-shaped structure.
Linglong anticipates a much lower cost compared to a rubber tire and notes the 3-D printing process eliminates the need for a tire mold, making the process faster.