MICHELIN AirProne wins the " large company innovation award " BREF ECO
In September 2022, MICHELIN INFLATABLE SOLUTIONS submitted an application in the "Large Companies" category to the Bref Eco newspaper "L'ACTUALITÉ ÉCONOMIQUE EN AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES" and its partners, which rewards eight innovative companies at the "Bref Eco Innovation Awards". For this 17th edition and among 54 companies, MICHELIN AirProne won the "Large Company Innovation Trophy".
This is a beautiful story of innovation, played out in a tragic moment. In the spring of 2019, the covid-19 epidemic affects every continent. Thousands of people are sent to intensive care. Hospitals are saturated. Patients must be ventilated as quickly as possible. Most of the time, ventilation is done while they are lying on their stomachs, a position that is not very comfortable and that can cause bedsores. "That's when I thought of an inflatable. I thought, 'Who is going to make this? "Inflatable, French... I immediately thought of Michelin," says Gilles Touati, a cardiovascular surgeon at Amiens University Hospital: "I contacted Michelin through a social network. I didn't know anyone in the Group. Florent Menegaux (Michelin's president) quickly put together a team of five engineers who came to the Amiens hospital the next day. All this in a very complicated emergency context (closed companies, split teams...).
Within ten days, the first prototypes were presented and tested at the Amiens University Hospital. The problem to be solved was to eliminate pressure to avoid bedsores. The engineers then proposed a seven-piece kit that raised the entire body, from the head to the legs. Seven inflatable cushions, with soft and hard zones, and a particular attention for the headrest which must absolutely avoid pressure peaks on the face. A 3D fabric comes in addition, which allows to absorb perspiration and to absorb pressure.
The product, designed in collaboration between Michelin and the Amiens University Hospital, is being manufactured by the Clermont-Ferrand-based company in one of its subsidiaries. It is currently being marketed in France and Europe. A new division, called Michelin AirProne, was created for the occasion.
It's a human and solidarity-based adventure that "warms our hearts," says Gilles Touati. It's an exemplary collaboration, a public/private partnership that has resulted in a new Michelin product. It's a story of innovation that combines chance, responsiveness, skills, open-mindedness and humanism.