A Chandler-based engineering company has raised $2.5 million through crowdfunding over the last six months to fuel development of an eco-friendly alternative to rubber tires.
Founded in 2011, Global Air Cylinder Wheels said the air suspension wheel, which is in the pre-production phase, is a patented airless mechanical design primarily constructed out of steel with in-wheel suspension.
The company has been developing the air suspension wheel for use by over-the-road mining trucks since 2015, at a gold mine site in South Africa, because of the number of tires the industry uses each year. The latest version is being tested on a dump truck at a gold mine near Elko, Nevada. The wheel is designed to be safer — no overheating tires — and to last as long as the vehicle it is on, the company said.
According to Global Air Cylinder Wheels, the new air suspension wheel combines an inner steel hub with an outer steel drum which is connected by eight to 12 nitrogen-filled air cylinders and four to six oil-filled dampers that provide suspension. On the outer drum, individually bolt-on steel or polyurethane treads are fitted. The individual treads can be replaced without removing the wheel.