Michelin an Innovative, Global Corporation
July 12, 2010
The Michelin Corporation has been in business for many years. Although most famous for their place in the tire business, this fortune 500 corporation has it hands in a multitude of businesses from rubber manufacturing to fine dining and lodging. This corporation has grown from a small family company to one of the major superpower in the world market, through great management and savvy business decisions Michelin continues to stay at the forefront of all of its industries.
Since the beginning of the company Michelin has been involved in a number of innovations that have revolutionized the tire business. Michelin was founded in 1888 by Edouard and Andre Michelin. These two brothers were the start of Michelin Corporations focus on innovation, and staying at the cutting edge of the industry, when they were the “first to patent a removable pneumatic bicycle tire which was used by Charles Terront to win the world’s first long distance cycle race, the 1891 Paris-Brest-Paris”(July, 2010). Since this event there have been a multitude of other innovations:” the invention of the radial tire in 1946” (July, 2010), and the creation of specialty tires for any form of transportation imaginable on and off road.
In the recent years Michelin research and development teams have pushed themselves to create more cost efficient, fuel efficient and safer products. The technology of the run-flat tire is one of the new innovations introduced to the market in recent years. “The more common design has sidewalls that are reinforced with extra layers of heat-resistant materials. The thick sidewall is very stiff to resist flexing, and the wire-reinforced bead is also thicker and stiffer. This Michelin 3
tire can actually support the weight of the vehicle on the sidewall, but the tire is heavier and the stiffness produces a somewhat harsher ride” (November, 2005.pg.136). This technology is widely available for many makes and models, the down fall is the sheer weight of these tires make them less fuel efficient and cost efficient due to the amount of materials need to make the tire. This has pushed these teams to improve their design, which brought about the PAX System. The PAX System “does not feature oversized sidewalls. The thin walls and optimized structure in the PAX System ensures that the rolling resistance is reduced and the cars emissions, in return, lower” (November, 27 2005.pg.1).
The introduction of the “TWEEL” is another innovation of Michelin’s research team. This concept tire has no air or sidewall for that matter. The “TWEEL” is wheel and tire technology in one, “that replaces the need for air pressure while delivering performance previously only available from pneumatic tires. The flexible spokes are fused with a flexible wheel that deforms to absorb shock and rebound. Without the air needed by conventional tires, TWEEL still delivers pneumatic-like performance in weight-carrying capacity, ride comfort, and the ability to “envelop” road hazards” (April, 2005.pg.9).
Expected to unveil in 2012 is the “Active Wheel” technology created by Michelin, this technology “includes in-wheel electric motors and a motorized suspension to free up space in the front and rear of the vehicle. This model also eliminates the need for transmissions and exhaust system” (July 8, 2010). Another way to decrease emissions and fuel costs which are very important in this market where legislation is pushing manufactures to “go green”. Michelin 4
All of these innovations by Michelin have kept them at the top of market for many year years, and attractive to the “National Culture”, or “the set of values that a society considers important and the norms of behavior that are approved or sanctioned in that society” (2007.pg.150). Since the invention of the radial tire, and the first pneumatic tires, which will continue to run...