Kumho’s next-generation e-NIMF and e-TOPS tyres have won the 2020 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA). Having already received the 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. Kumho says it offers excellent driving stability and, unlike its conventional equivalents, doesn’t suffer from periodic deflation or need to be discarded when worn, as it can almost indefinitely be rejuvenated with replacement treads.
This process is environmentally friendly and saves maintenance, time and cost. Thanks to countless tests and simulations regarding the shape, material and manufacturing methods of the tyre’s spokes, e-NIMF’s levels of durability, noise, vibrations and rolling resistance are remarkably similar to that of today’s pneumatic offerings. In addition, heat fusion has been adopted for the sake of manufacturability.
The revolutionary e-TOPS is a hybrid product that features the combined strengths of pneumatic and airless tyres. Its airless upper structure of spokes and tread protect the tyre from the threat of foreign matter, while the lower, less vulnerable section contains a degree of air. This mutually complementary composition results in an equivalent performance to conventional products 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. It is considered to be the Oscars of the design world, and this year more than 1,800 entries vied for its recognition.
“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.”