Arizona-based startup has literally reinvented the wheel
[Oct 18, 2021: Nick Thomas]
Global Air Cylinder Wheels (GACW), an Arizona-based startup, has literally reinvented the wheel. They developed a new type of wheel that ditches the need for pollutive rubber tires.
Many companies have tried to create new tire solutions, such as Tesla possibly moving toward airless tires on its Model 3, but none have succeeded so far.
The so-called Air Suspension Wheel (ASW) is the brainchild of serial inventor and structural dynamic engineer Dr. Zoltan Kemeny. The patented ASW is a mechanical wheel constructed mostly of steel with in-wheel pneumatic suspension through cylinders. It is both environmentally friendly as well as cost-efficient. The ASW is engineered to have the same lifespan as the vehicle it is mounted on. After that, unlike rubber tires, it can be reconditioned or can be completely recycled.
GACW is currently focused on the $30 billion per year OTR mining market. Rubber OTR mining tires are expensive: for example, a typical 13,000-pound tire can cost up to $75,000 for a useful lifetime of only 6 to 9 months. “That is a large expense for a product that does not last,” according to the company. On the other hand, the ASW lasts as long as the vehicle itself and therefore saves up to 60% in costs.
Another key feature of the ASW is the greatly reduced Rolling Resistance. This will make combustion engines more efficient and reduce emission gases. For electrical cars, like Tesla, this would mean that the driving range can be extended by up to 30% on the same battery, which is significant.
Rubber OTR tires are also a huge safety hazard with explosions being common. But with the ASW, overheated tires and explosions are a thing of the past.
Last but not least: OTR rubber tires are extremely pollutive. In the mining industry, most rubber tires are not recycled. At the end of their natural life, rubber OTR tires are typically burned or buried in the ground because recycling is complicated, dangerous, and expensive. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health estimated that tires account for as much as 10% of overall microplastic waste in the world’s oceans. A report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature raised that number to 28%.
ASWs on the other hand are 100% recyclable.
Ramping Things Up
While GACW is initially targeting the OTR sector, which includes mining, the global tire market is much bigger, and the company has plans to enter that too. That said, the initial focus on mining could raise in excess of $20 million in revenue per mine site given the significant numbers of vehicles involved in each mining project.
And while the company may have competitors in the mid-sized market, it does not have any competitors in the global OTR sector.
In addition to this market, the ASW technology can be applied to all vehicles currently using traditional rubber tires, a $322 billion estimated value in 2022.
So far, the company has raised $3 million and has 4 patents with 13 others pending. It is also currently testing its ASW products with mining partners with an evaluation period of between 6 and 12 months. From 2022, it intends to ramp up its production of the ASW product with full commercialization expected in 2023.
“At this point, our plan is to expand our distribution network and really start taking the tire industry by storm,” the company said.
With governments globally putting increasing pressure on tire producers in terms of disposal, GACW said this is the time for its products to be adopted by the industry. Companies like Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), Hitachi (TYO: 6501), or Volvo (STO: VOLV-B), Komatsu (TYO: 6301) could end up as partners or clients in GACW’s future.
“Our Air Suspension Wheels are an effective and viable option to rubber tires,” it said. “They are up to 60% more cost-efficient, safer and better for the environment than rubber tires.”
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