Rubber & Tyre Machinery World

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What Is Vulcanization? 5 Amazing Videos You Must See

Vulcanization of rubber is a process of improvement of the rubber elasticity and strength by heating it in the presence of sulphur. I touched upon vulcanization in our earlier posts on Autoclave and Rotocure.

A quick glance at Wikipedia will tell you that although vulcanization is a 19th-century invention, the history of rubber cured by other means goes back to prehistoric times. Thomas Hancock (1786–1865), a scientist and engineer, was the first to patent vulcanization of rubber. He was awarded a British patent on May 21, 1844. Three weeks later, on June 15, 1844, Charles Goodyear was awarded a patent in the United States.

While a picture is worth thousand words, logically a video is worth much more. Hence today I choose to concisely share with you over 1 million words in 5 amazing videos on vulcanization.

The first video of 4.49 mins is an ideal start if you are trying to get your basics right on vulcanization process and gives you a text book approach. (Caution: The slow speed and tone can be unnerving to some of you!)

Vulcanization Video 1

The next one is a more professionally made one from ‘How Stuff Works?’ and expands the concepts of vulcanization further. This video is concise and 2.10 mins long.

Vulcanization-Video-2

The third video (3.39 mins) shows an application in the form of Rubber O-Ring Vulcanization Bonding.

Rubber O-Ring Vulcanization Bonding Video

Speaking of Curing and Vulcanization in rubber, it is pertinent to mention tyres. The next video is 5.17 mins long on ‘How are bicycle tyres made?’ and the application of vulcanization is just a small part of this whole process. However, it gives you the perspective to position rubber vulcanization rightly in the product manufacturing process.

Vulcanization-Video-3-Bicycle-Tyres

With technology advancements, conventional methods are being replaced with more energy efficient and productive solutions. It is in this context, you may see the next video of a Rubber  Profile Curing Vulcanizing Line. The 1.33 min video by Deguma shows a CV-line consisting of a UHF microwave channel, a hot-air channel and a infrared channel.

Rubber-Profile-CV-Line-Video

Did you find the fourth video of bicycle tyre above curious to explore more? Or are you a bicycling fan? Then here is a sixth video as bonus for you. Well-paced, detailed and professionally made, I found this 10.56 min video of a modern bicycle tyre and tube manufacturing from Schwalbe interesting. (Note: I am not making any brand recommendation here. However, the video is worth a watch.)

Bicycle Tyre and Tube Video

You would have spent a little less than 19 minutes if you have watched all the 5 videos on vulcanization in full. Were they knowledge-enhancing? Let me know your thoughts.


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Tyre Technology Is An Amalgamation Of Science And Engineering – P.K.Mohamed

Tyre Technology is an amalgamation of science and engineering. It is dominated by physics, chemistry, mechanical and chemical engineering, says P.K.Mohamed, Chief Adviser – Research & Technology and Member of Management Board, Apollo Tyres Ltd. in an exclusive interview with Rubber Machinery World.

Mohamed is a soft-spoken and an accomplished tyre technologist with 5 decades of experience in the field of Tyre Technology and Manufacturing. When you read this passionate interview of his journey from a college lecturer to a well-known tyre technologist, you will observe struggles, challenges, achievements, dedication and loyalty; and importance of continuous education – a complete package of learning and leadership wisdom for new generation of aspiring professionals in tyre industry.

Mohamed is a Fellow Member of the Rubber and Plastic Institute London, Member in the Management Board of Apollo Tyres Ltd, Industrial Advisory board of Centre for Tyre Research, USA, IRCO and Area Director of American Chemical Society Rubber Division. Mohamed is also the Chairman of Indian Tyre Technical Advisory Committee (ITTAC), Technology Environment Safety and Standard (TESS) group of ATMA and past chairman of IRI. He has several international publications to his credit.

Mohamed’s exceptional knowledge, clarity, relevance and insight on the various aspects is awe-inspiring. I consider it a privilege to know him and present his thoughts to you in our “Know A Leader” Series.

Know-A-Leader-Mohamed-Apollo-Tyres

Click cover to read online

I urge you not to miss reading this complete interview online on our digital edition (please click on the image above). You will immensely gain from his wisdom shared through passionate narration of personal experiences growing Apollo’s technology might; know his views on changes in rubber compounding,  future of tyre building, new ideas energizing the tyre industry, sustainable profitability, automation, notes for equipment manufacturers, and machinery selection advice for buyers.

Here’s one teaser Q&A below, while the full interview has 10 questions.

Q6) Tyre design is a fascinating topic though few people really understand the differences in design between brands. How has the design of tyres really changed during as you witnessed it? What were the key factors driving this change?

P.K.Mohamed:

Tyre technology is an amalgamation of science and engineering. It is dominated by physics, chemistry, mechanical and chemical engineering. Tyre is a product which is a unique combination of steel and rubber.

Steel is responsible to withstand all stresses experienced by the tyre and rubber is responsible for taking care of its strain. Such an intelligent sharing of stresses and strain is rarely seen in any other product other than a tyre. So it is a challenge for the tyre engineer to design a carcass of a tyre with minimal strain on material when the same is stressed by inflation, vehicle load or traction loads. This challenge further increases when it comes to the tread design. Tread is responsible not only for providing adequate traction, mileage, and water drainage but also need to cater to other performance requirement of rolling resistance and noise. It is noticed that, several new concepts such as natural inflated profile (NIP), and Tension Controlled Optimized Theory (TCOT), have been tried by several companies but the tyre technologist is yet not very successful in creating a carcass which can withstand under inflated condition and provide the same performance. This still remains as a challenge. In the case of tread, several developments have taken place to enhance water drainage & traction improvement, reduction in foot print pressure & noise and improvement in aesthetics and aggressive looks. While the pattern design methodology followed by many companies generally follow same guidelines, significant deviations are seen recently to meet the new-found challenges in meeting label values in RR, traction and noise. In depth understanding is required to make significant alterations in tried and tested designs to meet ever-increasing performance requirements and advanced design simulation tools are of great use for the tyre designers in this process. With the usage of new materials and improvements in compound properties, tyre technologists are now trying to tune the behavior of new compounds in different designs for optimal performance in a given operating condition.

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 Download PDF

Was this informative for you? I look forward to your feedback and thoughts of this interview.


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Industrie 4.0 And Why You Should Be Excited About It?

If you are even remotely following the advancements in manufacturing and automation, then you have already heard this term – Industrie 4.0. A German branded initiative, this is a term coined for the next stage of manufacturing that describes the main future development tasks required to achieve a ‘Smart Factory‘.

To quickly understand, you may visualize smart factories as ‘social networks’ where humans, machines and materials communicate and interact in real time.

Considered the 4th industrial revolution in manufacturing (watch a video), Industrie 4.0 is a dynamic process of evolution. It refers to the technological evolution from embedded systems to Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS).

Too much of jargons? Let me make an effort to explain…..

Relevance of CPS

In your manufacturing environment, these Cyber-Physical Systems comprise of smart machines, storage systems and production facilities capable of autonomously exchanging information, triggering actions and controlling each other independently.

This means all your machines, processes, control systems, logistics and even end-products are closely interconnected via internet-based, data-handling technologies and devices.

CPS makes your next level of decentralization realistic. It improves your resource productivity and efficiency, enables more flexible models of your work organization.

Says, Ashutosh Chincholikar, Business Head, Smart Controls India Ltd, “With Industrie 4.0, rubber and tyre machinery will no longer simply ‘processes’ the product, but your product would communicate with the machinery to tell it exactly what to do.”

Industrie-4.0-Rubber-Tyre-Machinery

Benefits of Industrie 4.0

Your benefits include flexibility in specification and volume, fine-tuning to your customer needs, and improving efficiency as a way to reduce your cost.

Your product development-to-market and order-to-shipment lead times become shorter. Expensive downtime for your machinery and plant gets reduced through remote monitoring and predictive maintenance.

Digitization, connected-ness and virtual tool planning opens your door to customized mass-production. This means you can produce very small batch sizes and yet sell at a profit.  Flexible manufacturing may mean that more of your parts and production materials have to be detected, inspected and identified. Transparency and reproducibility of your processes will enhance your product quality.

Experiences shared by Smart Controls India Ltd, include significant benefits like

  • 5% increase in productivity on 20 machines was equal to an extra machine.
  • 25% saving on a plant in Auto industry
  • 11% efficiency improvements in first 3 months at a Tire Company.
  • 68% gain in production by just fine tuning setup processes (up from 410 to 690 parts/week)
  • A large equipment manufacturer’s OEE shot up from 24% to 62% on machines

It is these benefits of speed, flexibility, quality amongst others that should keep you excited and upbeat about the prospects of Industrie 4.0. Further when you use CPS, you will have a clear advantage to attract the best employee talent since you can offer a better work-life balance.

| It is these benefits of speed, flexibility, quality amongst others that should keep you excited and upbeat about the prospects of Industrie 4.0. |

Need for a balanced approach

Interestingly, Industrie 4.0 goes by a variety of names: ‘Advanced Manufacturing’ in the USA and the UK, ‘les usines du futur’ (The Factories of the Future) in France, ‘Made Different – Factories of the Future’ in Belgium, and “Smart Industries” in the Netherlands.

As a manufacturer, you definitely need to procure equipment with right level of futuristic automation. Because Industrie 4.0 is bringing fundamental change to your business competition in today’s ‘VUCA’ (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world.  If you continue using today’s automation systems you will fail due to excess cost in automation.

| If you continue using today’s automation systems you will fail due to excess cost in automation. |

However, it is also necessary to find the balance between full automation and manual work. It doesn’t make sense to automate all your manufacturing processes completely as the cost of that will be too high.

For example, tire production is high-volume customization. The tire industry seeks to consistently improve quality while cutting waste, thus reduce the cost of each tire. Experts and Leaders will tell you that the steps you need to do this in China or India are different than they are in Japan or in Europe or in the U.S.

Every application must be evaluated with regards to the breakeven point. And that is where you will benefit with the assistance of a systems integrator.

balanced-approach

Adopt a Balanced Approach. (Image Source: Web)

| Every application must be evaluated with regards to the break-even point.|

Adds Ashutosh, “In order to implement automation solutions in the tyre industry someone who understands the intricacies of tyre manufacturing processes – from mixing, tyre building, curing to inspection – is needed. This is where Smart Controls plays a big role. With over 15 years of experience in serving the tyre industry, Smart Controls has full knowledge and experience of using the Siemens Technological Platform to implement automation solutions for almost all processes of tyre making.”

(You may wish to hear more on the ‘role of a system integrator in your smart factory’, when Ashutosh Chincholikar speaks at the International Rubber Conference in Chennai on March 1-3, 2016.) 

Summarizing, Industrie 4.0 is more than just a buzzword today and hence important that you take notice. Because it ensures that your resources are used more efficiently while people and machinery work far more productively.

Let us know your thoughts on Smart Factory and and plans for Industrie 4.0.


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A Starter’s Guide – Special Edition

This edition of Knowledge On-The-Go Special Supplement features two key machinery used in the rubber industry viz. Autoclave and Compression Moulding.

Autoclave is a vulcanizing equipment, and the other is the equipment used in your most common rubber moulding technique – compression moulding.

Our previous issue on Mixing Mills tracked the advancements of a very popular rubber machinery. This edition is aimed at fulfilling the curiosity of the new generation of business leaders in rubber goods manufacturing – who are either taking over from their parents or those young entrepreneurs setting up their own venture.

Hence, the theme – ‘A Starter’s Guide’.

Download Your PDF Here

I hope you find this special supplement different and informative.

(Disclaimer: Any pictures and quoted statements in our special supplements including Know Your Supplier editions are shared with us by the respective companies and/or sources are mentioned appropriately. Rubber Machinery World does not independently verify them nor will vouch for their actions, hence will not be liable for any misrepresented data)


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If you are an equipment supplier and would like your organization to be promoted on Rubber Machinery World, please see the opportunities on Partner Me or Contact Me at rubbermachineryworld@gmail.com for your customized offering.


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An Introduction to Rotocure

A Rotocure is a shortened name of Rotary Curing Press. This machinery is designed for the continuous vulcanization of technical rubber products.

So, if you are into manufacturing of rubber belts, roof covering, rubber belts with textile inserts, sealing plates, membrane and ship textile, conveyor belts, flat belts, floor covering, etc you would have heard of this equipment (if you are not yet using one in your production line).

As a technical rubber goods producer, vulcanization is critical to your manufacturing. In an earlier post, I had introduced you to Autoclave for vulcanizing of products that you cannot achieve on a standard press-based compression molding process. You install a Rotocure to create continuous vulcanization process where the sheet is heated and vulcanized.

While every technical rubber goods manufacturing plant may not have a Rotocure, those who do have one positions their rotary curing press after the calendar.

Rotocure Line:

A typical Rotary Curing Press Line consist of following component machines – A Winding Let-off Unit, Rotocure, Cooling Unit, Equipment fo edge trimming of product and a Winding-up equipment.

Rotocure Image Collage

Rotocure Line: A Collage of Individual Images From The Web

From Winding Let-off Unit, your semi-finished calendered rubber material is led on to the lower roll and from there into pressing space between the heating drum and thrust pressing belt, where it is pressed and vulcanized.

Operating A Rotocure:

Your main vulcanizing machine is always the Rotocure in the set-up and consists of a large, steam-heated, revolving steel drum. This is partly encompassed by an endless steel band. The steel band encompasses approximately 2/3 of the circumference of the drum through the action of two conducting rollers and a tensioning pulley. The drum is heated by means of steam to a temperature of 150 – 200°C. In addition, there is a heating plate bent round approximately half of the surface of the drum and which gives some additional heat, but primarily it prevents loss of heat.

When you operate a Rotocure Equipment, you need to ensure that all the various parts work in precise alignment. It is  crucial for you to maintain all process parameters in their correct tolerance. Because a slight change in the heated roll or in the steel belt that are both in charge of the smooth vulcanization of the sheet can cause your sheet to be unevenly vulcanized. This leads to irregularities and subsequently rejection of your end-product.

Your calendered rubber material is placed between the drum and the band at the lower roller. With the aid of the tensioning pulley, the band is strained so that a pressure (say approximately 0.3 MPa) is obtained between the band and the drum.

Rotocure - Pelmar

A Fully Refurbished Rotocure From Pelmar Engineering, Israel

The linear speed of this drum can vary from a 0.04-200 m of cured material per hour, all depending on your material’s thickness and rate of vulcanization.

The drum, which is interchangeable, can have completely smooth or patterned surfaces and normally has a diameter of 700-1500 mm and a width of between 1200-2500 mm.

For a normal speed range of 5 – 50 metres/hour and a contact length against the drum of 3 minutes, you may achieve a curing time between 4 – 35 min for your specific compound.

As a user, your will quickly realize that the main advantages of a well-manufactured and correctly operated rotary curing press (or rotocure) machine are its high hourly output, long lifespan, low energy consumption and high reliability.

On the other hand, you could be challenged by the limitation of your product thickness and the pressure sought during vulcanization.

As is normal with other categories of rubber machinery, you get both New and Used Rotocure’s in the market. When you shortlist your suppliers, you could also discuss with Pelmar Engineering Ltd for Used Rotocure or Pracsol Chemicals And Machinery for New Rotocure – more of their details on this site is in our interviews section.

Summarizing, a Rotocure is an important rubber machinery if you are into manufacturing of technical rubber products. I look forward to your thoughts on this continuous vulcanizing machine.


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Tire Production Simplified In A Flow Chart

My earlier post on Tyre Building Machine – 5 Amazing Videos You Must See was well received by the readers and they found it informative.

I have in earlier posts covered rubber machinery like Bale Cutter, Mixer, Mixing Mill, Batch-Off, Extruder, Tire Buffer, etc. However, its intriguing to see where all these equipment (along with the other machinery) goes into tire production.

This flow chart simplifies tire production overview and helps you visualize the various equipment that we discuss on this portal Rubber Machinery World in the right perspective.

Tire-Production-Flow-Chart

The source of above flow chart is from Nell Achieve Website.

And just in case, you thought even for a microsecond ‘Is this all to tyre manufacturing?’, I correct you here.

The tire production process is a very meticulous and complex  affair. Click here to download the infographic from Giti that explains their tire production concisely.

I hope you found this post informative. Let me know.


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How To Select Your Rubber And Tyre Machinery? Insightful Advices From 6 CEO’s

“How To Select Your Rubber And Tyre Machinery?”

This subject question could have volumes written in theory. But today we focus on what the CEO’s advise, distilled down from their experience, expertise, and wisdom.

Your equipment supplier ecosystem includes New Manufacturers, Rebuilders, OEM Suppliers, Pre-Owned Machinery Suppliers and Agent representatives.

So I asked all the CEO’s the same question to give you a true perspective.

“What would you advice on machinery selection to buyers and users of rubber and tire equipment?”

The different views they offered here are not only insightful, they are pertinent, prudent and practical.

Read on in our Special Supplement here….

This special supplement is one of our efforts to give you useful knowledge on-the-go in a concise and timely manner. This topic based micro-editions is in addition to our other initiatives like ‘Know Your Supplier’ that provides you information on the machinery supplier ecosystem.

Watch Video Version of this supplement on YouTube or Download Full PDF Here.


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If you are an equipment supplier and would like your organization to be promoted on Rubber Machinery World, please see the opportunities on Partner Me or Contact Me at rubbermachineryworld@gmail.com for your customized offering.