Kumho wins awards for airless and hybrid tyres


Kumho’s next generation e-NIMF and e-TOPS tyres have been honoured with 2020 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA). Having already received iF and Red Dot accolades in February and March respectively, the company now has the distinction of having won all three of the world’s top design awards in the same year.


The e-NIMF (eco-friendly, No Inflation, and Maintenance Free) is an airless concept tyre developed for driving stability, which doesn’t suffer from periodic deflation or need to be discarded when worn, as it can  be rejuvenated almost indefinitely with replacement treads. This process is environmentally friendly and saves maintenance, time and cost.

Kumho’s engineers have conducted “countless” tests and simulations regarding the shape, material and manufacturing methods of the tyre’s spokes, and report that the e-NIMF’s levels of durability, noise, vibrations and rolling resistance are similar to those of today’s pneumatic offerings. In addition, heat fusion has been adopted for ease of manufacturability.


The other winning design, the e-TOPS, is a hybrid product that combines the benefits of pneumatic and airless tyres. Its airless upper structure of spokes and tread protect the tyre from damage by foreign matter, while the lower, less vulnerable section contains a degree of air. This composition results in performance claimed to be equivalent to conventional tyres, while avoiding the typical air loss issues associated with them.

Organised by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), the 40-year old IDEA Awards scheme is one of the world’s most prestigious design competitions, which selects winners in accordance with the five criteria of innovative design, user experience, user benefits, corporate social responsibility and aesthetic values. This year more than 1,800 designs were entered for consideration.

“For the past few years, we have been developing products such as airless tyres in active response to the future car market, and our success in the IDEA Awards scheme reflects Kumho’s future-oriented design and technological prowess,” said Jung Il-Taik, senior vice-president of research and development. “We have focused our research on airless tyres and hybrid products, and will continue reinforcing our design and technological capabilities in order to deliver both safety and convenience, the two qualities most sought after by our customers.”

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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