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A New Hope: Top 6 Things I Learnt At NRC 2015 Mumbai

NRC Mumbai 2015

The Mumbai edition of National Rubber Conference (NRC) 2015, held on Jun 19 & 20, 2015, was well-organized by Western Region team of AIRIA (All India Rubber Industries Association).

I have been attending this conference since its first edition and have seen it evolve successfully over the last 4 years, scaling up each year.

This NRC outperformed its previous versions and was different.

The sessions were designed around the theme, ‘Path to The Future – Stride With NRC’, in a thoughtful manner to impart cutting-edge knowledge to the delegates. Technology was embraced by shifting to electronic format of souvenir and giving tabs to the delegates.

Heavy rains bought Mumbai to a standstill on Friday, June 19 and its previous night. Despite the traffic being thrown out of gear, the presence of over 170 delegates at the venue (The Westin Mumbai Garden City) clearly demonstrated the relevance of this conference for the attendees.

Prasanth Warrier speaking at NRC 2015 Mumbai

Speaker at NRC 2015 Mumbai

Extrusion And Screw Design

Extrusion And Screw Design – Full PDF

While I spoke on “Extrusion And Screw Design….What You Should Know“, here are the top 6 things I learnt at NRC 2015 Mumbai.

  1. Future of India – The Winning Leapthe keynote address by Shashank Tripathi of PwC, gives renewed hope that an aggressive GDP increase of 9% per year to reach a $10.4 trillion economy by 2034 is possible. If India can create capabilities for growth and new solutions, the opportunities, both at home and abroad, are limitless. His report is driven by the belief that India can build shared prosperity for its 1.25 billion citizens by transforming the way the economy creates value. A concerted effort from Corporate India, supported by a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and a constructive partnership with the government will play a critical role to achieve this milestone, we are informed. The report analyses that up to 40% of India’s US$10 trillion economy of 2034 could be derived from new solutions. This new hope when India stands on the cusp of a major change is refreshing and motivational.
  2. The discussion “Distilling India’s Competitive Advantage” had renowned business leaders in the panel. I learnt from Mirisch Damani of Zylog Plastalloys Pvt Ltd that the entrepreneurial skills together with frugal engineering mindset is unique to Indians and we should capitalize on them while we learn to innovate. When Mazhar Vohra of Zenith Industrial Rubber Products spoke of his entrepreneurial experience, he drove home the importance of anticipating changes and focusing on a niche to compete globally in business. I absorbed from stories shared by Anil Sampat of Elastochemie Impex Pvt Ltd that brand building is extremely important for you to gain premium in your market. Health and Safety along with investment on R&D has to be an important strategy for growth, I understood from thoughts shared by Vilas Dhavale on the practices at his company Lord India Pvt Ltd.
  3. Cryogenic Deflashing is a cost-effective technology that is fast gaining popularity, I learnt with interest from Musahudeen of Nissanki GB APAC Sales Pte Ltd. Cryogenic deflashing is a deflashing process that uses cryogenic temperatures to aid in the removal of flash on your cast or molded work-pieces. These temperatures cause the flash to become stiff or brittle and to break away cleanly. Cryogenic deflashing is the preferred process when removing excess material from oddly shaped, custom molded products. By adopting cryogenic deflashing, you can aspire to meet stringent quality expectations of your OEM’s effortlessly.
  4. I learnt from Sugundhan of Base Automation Technologies Pvt Ltd that Rubber Mixing Plant Automation is a necessity, if you aspire to gear up and meet the traceability demands of your customers. Because automotive leaders are forcing sub vendors to Implement Process Improvement systems like Traceability, Product Integration, and Genealogy. While they in turn are preparing themselves for the “voluntary recall code” of Road and Safety Bill 2014 that enforces stringent penalty, legal action, that leads to erosion of market image, high cost of recall, damages brand value, etc. Automation also increases your productivity and efficiency of rubber mixing plant.
  5. Proactive Machinery Maintenance is not an expense and is an investment that has long-term benefits, I absorbed from Naushad Shikalgar of J N Engineering. He spoke extensively on Asset Management Strategy-Plan-Execution including the various approaches to maintenance.
  6. Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) is not a threat rather an opportunity for the Rubber Industry, I learnt from a well articulated presentation of Mirisch Damani from Zylog Plastalloys Pvt Ltd.


I missed some sessions. However all presentations and panel discussions, I understand from other delegates, were of high quality. The organizers of this conference has done an extremely good job. (Congratulations to all of you and here’s wishing you greater success in future too.)

Here is the link to e-souvenir if you missed this conference or desire to know more of the papers presented and the key team members of the organizing committee.

NRC Mumbai eSouvenir

Read PDF

Like me, I am sure each one of the delegates took back an idea or thought they could work on immediately in their area of work – overall a new hope, direction and an excitement of potential $10.4 Trillion Indian economy by 2034.

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Injection Moulding Machinery Is All About Reliability – Dr. Hans-Joachim Graf

Injection Moulding Machinery is all about reliability. If you assess well and decide now to stick with one (maybe two) machinery suppliers, then this time spent is a very good investment by itself, says Dr. Hans-Joachim Graf, Rubber Industry Consultant at H-JG Consulting, Germany in an exclusive interview with Rubber Machinery World.

Esteemed readers, as you know, I started “Know A Rubber Leader” series with Jacob Peled, the renowned Executive Chairman at Pelmar Engineering. The interview was widely read for some rare nuggets that Jacob chose to share on this site.

In this post, I present you an intensely thoughtful chat with Dr. Graf.

Dr. Graf was awarded with the Erich-Konrad Medal for commendable achievements in rubber-technology instituted by DKG (German Rubber Society) during DKT’12 edition. With over thirty years experience in the rubber industry, he has authored over 60 publications and paper presentations. He has over 15 patents in his name. A member of the American Chemical Society, Deutsche Chemische Gesellchaft and Deutsche Kautschuk Gesellschaft (DKG), Dr.Graf received his diploma degree from University of Mainz and his doctorate in polymer chemistry from University of Freiburg, Germany.

Know A Rubber Leader

Here is Dr. Hans-Joachim Graf’s full interview reproduced for you.

  1. Hello Dr. Graf. First of all thank you for accepting an interview with Rubber Machinery World and sharing your thoughts. Your journey started from pharmaceuticals and subsequently moved to rubber industry. Was this a planned move?

After finishing my PhD in macro-molecular science I decided I did not want to stay in university and become a researcher. I am more of a hands on person. My first job was with the owner of a small company as I felt that fit me best. I put my nose in almost everything from tooling to compound development. I even established the first manufacturing quality control system in this company. There were new challenges every day and I had fun. I cannot say it was planned. It happened.

  1. From Design Process (at Kloeckner Desma) to Director of Materials (at Cooper Standard Automotive) and now as an active educationist has been a long and varied one. Which is the position that you enjoyed the most?

There were two positions I enjoyed most. The most innovative group I worked with was at Desma. We developed many innovations, which you can find even today in different publications. I utilized my group’s expertise from mechanic to engineer, and electrician to chemist. The group did not depend on anybody else in the company. My boss protected me from the administration. We achieved the respect of a lot of customers and that was our motivation.
The second position I enjoyed most was with Cooper Standard in Canada. I was the elder in a very young dynamic group, but the most multi-cultural I have ever seen in any company. We had Asians, Europeans, North Americans and even Canadians in the group. Whenever I come to Canada, I still get together with many friends. Here, I utilized my engineering and chemist expertise in this group. This group created one the most advanced mixing centres in industry. The bad thing is, upper management never recognized it.

  1. Would you say that rubber compounding has undergone change in the last 3.5 decades that you have been with rubber industry? What were the drivers for this change?

The 50’s and 70’s saw the big polymer and ingredient suppliers work out the basics of compounding. Significant technological advancements were seen and a large amount of literature was produced at this time. It was needed because of the tremendous growth of the rubber industry after World War II. Following the first economic crisis, along with early retirement programs and more crises – for example, the breakdown of the Comecon (specifically Europe) – technical knowledge to a large extent was lost and polymers became commodities. Leadership in the supplier industry changed from technical to sales. From this time forward, rubber parts manufacturers had to take the responsibility of development in their own hands, but with limited resources.

  1. What role has machinery played in this change?

This is a difficult question for me. The machine industry has followed the same trend as the polymer industry. We had sophisticated machines in the 80’s but slowly this position has worsened. This is very different with the technology for the machines used in the thermoplastic industry. At one K’show, machines were presented that had a cycle time of less than 3 seconds! It is different with rubber parts – because of its inherent slow heat transfer qualities; the major influence on the cycle time is the rubber. As a result, engineers believe that machine time does not play a big factor. There is no real optimization of compounds going on to accommodate machine and mold necessities. Engineers and Chemists do not work together. Both parties see more differences than similarities between rubber and thermoplastic processing.

  1. Design of Experiments [DoE], though being a standard tool in optimization of materials and processes in many industries, has not many takers in rubber manufacturing industry. Why?

In my opinion, it is the fear of failing. If an experienced compounder is doing a DoE, he has to design the experiment and leave it up to a series of mathematical equations. He cannot interact with the experiments as he is used to do when performing trial and error procedures. The DoE results of the experiments may be a confirmation of his existing knowledge, but it may not. It may challenge and force him to question that longstanding knowledge.

  1. How does rubber compound development benefit with software? Do you see a trend of increased use of software in this field?

Around the time the Design of Experiment was invented some companies (Cabot, Bayer beside others) performed some superficial trials on filler / oil designs. After more than four decades this tool has not penetrated the field of compounding as it should have. Its growth is much too slow, and I would not call it a trend. Software exists today (like FEA), for the engineering of rubber parts. This is standard. However, interaction between part design and compounding is still trial and error. While properties of a compound are an input for the FEA calculation, it is rare to design a compound to fit the FEA requirements for the part.

On the other hand, compounding groups have created a lot of recipes, but most of it is based on trial and error. From my perspective, it is lost knowledge, because DoE Software cannot make any use of it. I felt that I had to help to somehow utilize this data not only for my benefit but for others. This is the basic idea behind the “GrafCompounder” software. I have the experienced compounder in mind, who would like to use his company’s historic compound date base instead of filing it away.

  1. What are the various tools and methods of recipe development and its advantages? Which of these is the most optimized method that has clear economical advantages?

Preferably, the strategy for initial recipe development should be the analysis of the compound in various machines and during its part life. We call that: data analysis, time series analysis, correlation of root cause and effect via observations. You have to work with the compound – process system. This can only be done successfully if the statistic experimental design approach is taken. The economic advantage of this is clearly superior when you take into account the reduced costs for statistical design experimentation versus trial and error, minus the cost of the final result.  A second development area of similar importance is to ensure secure supply. This needs material replacement and multiple approval strategies. It depends on raw material, process and service life knowledge. This knowledge is attained only again, through experimentation.

Upper management needs to understand that development sometimes means failure and they have to allow for this. We all learn from failed experiments. We never learn if everything is running at a steady state.

  1. In 2004, you had stated that the extruder has been around for some time and changed very little. And you viewed the extruder as a black box analyzing the energy and mass (input and output). Is the extruder different today?

I have been out of the extruder industry for some time and have not followed the ongoing developments here close enough to comment. What I can say is: the combination of an extruder and gear pump truly has its advantages, because it is a volumetric pump and it pressure dependence is zero. This provides superior straining of a compound without changing its properties. Is a gear pump is useful for compounds with very high viscosity? I do not know its limits.

  1. What are the key changes and trends happening in injection moulding?

We have been quite successful in decreasing energy consumption during moulding. Next we need to focus on developing a much faster process to stay competitive with TPE. The technique to induce heat into the compound by shear is developed, but control of the vulcanization process is urgently needed. We have come a long way with heating time regulation (Barber Colman) to inline temperature history and heating time close loop control (CAS-Jidoka) and its linkage to cross-link density, but injection molding machines should be faster. Hopefully we see more development as seen in the machine industry for thermoplastic processing.

  1. Great! And one last question. What advice on “machinery selection” would you give to buyers in rubber industry?

I can comment on injection molding machines only. One topic in my “Injection Moulding” seminar is about machine assessment. With a couple of experiments one can analyze the capability of an injection molding machine. It is not rocket science. It needs about two days of intense experimentation. Another topic I would like to comment on is maintenance and spare part management. This is all about reliability. If you decide now to stick with one (maybe two) machine suppliers, then this time spent is a very good investment.

Download the full interview in PDF here.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this interview.

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Rubber Machinery Selection Is An Art – Jacob Peled

Rubber Machinery selection is an art by itself and should be done by people who have visions, both technical and commercial, says Jacob Peled, Executive Chairman of Pelmar Engineering Ltd, Isreal in an exclusive interview with Rubber Machinery World.

(Starting this month, I bring to you a new series comprising of interviews with rubber leaders – aptly titled “Know A Rubber Leader in 10 Questions”. I hope you find the wisdom, experience and vision shared here inspirational and energizing.) 

Know A Rubber Leader

Here is Jacob’s full interview reproduced for you.

  1. Hello Jacob. First of all thank you for accepting an interview with Rubber Machinery World and sharing your thoughts. After a degree in Polymer Science and an MBA from Tel-Aviv University, you started Pelmar in 1966 and grew the brand to a revered name in reconditioned and pre-owned machinery, and tooling for the tire industry. Your growth history is fascinating and I have always found you very inspirational in our conversations. So, let me start with a personal question – Was your entry into Tire Industry planned or it just happened? Is there a story that could inspire and motivate the next generation of rubber leaders?

Thank you for your kind words. My entry to the Tire Industry happened as a combination of coincidence and probably hidden motivations. During my studies I worked as a compounder at Samson Tire and Rubber Co., which was a licensor of General Tires at the time. This has given me the first taste of rubber combined of course with a lot of dust, noise and dirt. Later on the same company has commissioned me to carry out a market survey for them, which showed me other sides of this fascinating industry. I have never left since – 49 years now.

  1. In our last communication, you cited that there have been very few changes in tire industry in the last 100 years. To a buyer, this is a surprise because their general perception is that tire technology is revolutionizing fast and leading tire producers compete on technology to garner market share. Could you elaborate on your view for our readers?

Indeed the changes in tire construction and production have not been significant, with the exception perhaps of the invention of radial tires by Michelin and tubeless tires by Continental.  Compounds have also developed to achieve better physical and chemical properties, but with relatively few significant improvements.

  1. How much of this stagnation or lack of change do you attribute to the machinery being used for tire manufacturing?

Tire rubber machinery have attributed to the slow development mainly because the function of machinery developed in the middle of the last century was satisfactory to the tire companies. The high prices of tires, combined with relatively low life expectancy, have caused the stagnation. Significant changes in automation of tire building only started approx. 15 years ago.

  1. At Tire Technology Expo 2014, you pointed out that tire production using the pre-cure method lends itself well to the manufacture of new tyres? Isn’t this unconventional? What changes in machinery would this demand on the shop floor for a tire manufacturer?

My concept at TTE2014 presentation indeed mentioned this as an option. Pre-cured tread achieved better results than virgin tread. This is true in many cases also in hot retreading, particularly on aircraft tires. This leads to the possibility of casings will be manufactured slick and the tread applied later, as per the market requirements. It enables keeping smaller stocks and fast response to customer wishes.  While this idea could be used on all tire sizes, I know that this has already started, but mainly on industrial tire production. The changes on the shop floor would not only be a result of using PCT. We shall see the gradual disappearance of duplex and triplex extrusion lines, as well as large calender lines, which will be replaced by strip-winders and roller-dies respectively.

  1. I observe that environment conservation has always been a subject close to your heart. However, rubber processing has always been and continues to be an energy intensive process with significant wastage. Is it possible to strike a balance? Are the rubber machinery manufacturers doing enough on this subject?

You are quite right. Environmental conservation and recycling have always been close to my heart. In fact, for many years and still true, retreading is the No. 1 recycling method in the tire industry. It is the most effective and economical. True enough, it is not a final solution, but it is the most significant preventer for more scrap tires in the landfills. Tire and rubber machinery and the process in general have traditionally been accompanied by significant wastage. This is changing very quickly in the last 10 years. The rubber machinery producers are paying a lot of attention and results are already there.

  1. What would future tire plants look like?

Tire plants will become smaller and more specialized in certain types and sizes of tires. Part of my answer is in Point 4. I also believe that future tire plants will have no compounding facilities of their own, as mixing would be done by outside custom compounders specialized in these products (similar in a way to what happened to fabric production and dipping).

  1. Which machinery or manufacturing technology, do you foresee, has the potential to disrupt the rubber and tire industry in the next 15 years?

Disrupt is probably not the right term to use. I suppose you mean what machinery will change significantly or disappear? As mentioned above, calender lines and extrusion lines will disappear. This is particularly true for innerliner calenders since innerliner will be replaced by a film, which is already being used by some tire companies.  Passenger tire building machines have already changed and their capacity increased to 35 seconds per tire and they will reach 10 or 15 seconds. This will require a change in curing presses, and particularly shortening curing time. Curing bladders will either disappear or be made to endure thousands of curing cycles.

  1. What do you envision for Pelmar in the next 10 years?

Pelmar will hopefully continue to expand its services to more parts of the world. It will deal more intensively with new machinery made to its design, which is already being done now. It will also be involved more extensively in equipment refurbishment and upgrading.

  1. What level of support can a customer, who desires to set up a green-field project, expect from Pelmar?

The support that a green-field customer can expect from Pelmar is A through Z services starting with engineering, technology transfer, complete plant design or alternatively a line. These will also include assistance in R&D, quality control, testing of end product and a future forecasting and continued assistance. The exception is any commercial activity related to tires, which we refrain from completely as an iron clad principle.

  1. Great! And one last question. What advice on “machinery selection” would you give to buyers in rubber and tire industry?

Machinery selection is an art by itself and should be done by people who have visions, both technical and commercial. Our advice is always to check references, compare technical capabilities and prices.

Download the full interview in PDF here.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this interview.

If you liked this article, please do share with your colleagues, customers and friends. And If you would like to be informed of our articles regularly, please register with us for free updates today.