Tire manufacturer Kumho has been presented with a 2020 International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) for its next generation e-NIMF and e-TOPS tires. 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 tire. According to the company, it offers driving stability and, and unlike its conventional equivalents, doesn’t suffer from periodic deflation or a need to be discarded when worn, as it can be retreaded. Thanks to extensive testing and simulation of the shape, material and manufacturing methods of the tire’s spokes, Kumho claims that the tire’s durability, noise, vibration and rolling resistance are remarkably similar to that of today’s pneumatic offerings.
e-TOPS meanwhile is a hybrid product that is claimed to encompass the combined strengths of pneumatic and airless tires. An airless upper structure of spokes and tread protects the tire from foreign matter, while a lower, less vulnerable section contains a volume of air. According to the company, this complementary composition results in an equivalent performance to conventional tires while avoiding issues with air loss.
“For the past few years, we have been developing products such as airless tires 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 tires 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.”
Organized 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.