Rubber & Tyre Machinery World

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A Beginner’s Guide to Rubber Refiner Mill

Are you looking for a rubber refiner mill? Great. Now you try searching this key word in google or any other search engine and explore a few sites.

How many direct search results did you get without linkages to rubber mixing mills or two-roll mills? Even more importantly, how many sites gave you clarity of information you sought for on this category of rubber machinery? Less than 2-3, on the brightest side, if I may say so.

And this is why I am prompted to write a beginner’s guide to rubber refiner mill.

First things first. You need a rubber refiner mill mainly for the refining of reclaimed rubber. The operational ease and functional performance makes this mill your preferred machinery in reclaim rubber industry for refining pure and fine rubber powder from waste.

Refiner Rubber Mill

A Rebuilt Refiner Mill From Deguma

Similar in construction to an open mixing mill, you will observe that its distinguishing feature is that both the rolls have different diameter. The front roll is smaller in diameter as compared to the back roll. And hence when you see a refiner mill identified as 21″ x 24″ x 36″, you simply need to decode it as Front Roll diameter is 21 inches, Rear Roll diameter is 24 inches and both the rolls have same face length of 36 inches.

The Rear Rolls have a higher surface speed than the Front Rolls again a similar feature of a regular rubber mixing mill. However, in your refiner mill, the differential sized rolls turning at considerably different speeds provides a high friction ratio. The ratio of speed of your Front Roll to Rear Roll could vary in the range 1:1.75 to 1:2.50 depending on your process requirement.

When the rolls are set quite tightly to each other (i.e. close nip-gap adjustment of 0.05mm), refined rubber in thin-sheet form (~ 0.10mm) is produced. This sheet that you get is usually smooth, uniform and free of grain or lumps. In this refining process, the impurities contained in reclaimed rubber are squeezed by rolls to the both sides of rubber sheet which can be removed. Therefore, the purity of your reclaimed rubber is increased in refiner mills.

In the past, this finished rubber sheet was pulled towards a wind-up attachment and layered few times to increase the thickness of the sheet (approx. 25mm), post which they are cut using a hand knife by your operator (video from YouTube). The cut sheet are then dusted and stacked. Today some reclaim rubber manufacturers rely on balers to package the rubber sheets.

These sheets are stored and sold for a wide variety of end products like new tires (especially carcass, side-wall, under-tread of passenger, light-truck and off-road tires; inner liner of tubeless passenger tires; semi-pneumatic tires), tubes, automotive floor mats, de-vulcanisation for low technology pressed or extruded rubber goods, tread rubbers, adhesives, sealing and tape compounds, belting, battery containers, molded products, and rubberized asphalt.

Summarizing, though Rubber Refiner Mill is similar in appearance, construction and features of safety and operation; as a beginner, you simply need to absorb that these are special types of two-roll mill used in reclaim rubber industry to produce smooth and homogeneous rubber sheets.

Would you like to add more thoughts?


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Rubber Sheeting Battery – A Simple Processing Machinery

Rubber Sheeting Battery

Image of A Rubber Sheeting Battery

Sheeting Battery is a machinery used during the process to produce rubber sheets from latex. This processing machinery is introduced at a stage after coagulation of latex.

The coagulated latex is processed between a pair of rolls, which are either grooved (corrugated) or smooth (plain). Hence, they are like two-roll mixing mills used in the rubber processing. In fact just visualize many miniature mixing mill rolls working in tandem fixed on a common frame to produce a sheet.

In its simplest form, the Sheeting Battery could be a mechanical chain-driven type. Or a compact motor-driven automatic-sheeter in the upgraded version. The customer’s selection depend on the operating conditions at his rubber plantation.

In an automatic-sheeter, the first few set of rolls have smooth (or longitudinally grooved surface to grip the wet slabs better). The nips between the rolls are so designed to narrow on each successive pair of rolls. This is to reduce the thickness of the coagulated slab of rubber passed through them. Rubber sheets thus processed are of uniform thickness and enhances the quality of dry sheets later on. The weight of each rubber sheet is around 550g while it can go up to 1.2Kg in wider-roll sheeting battery with higher power.

Fresh water is sprayed on each set of rolls on the sheeting battery to prevent them from drying and avoid tearing the sheets. Fresh water also washes away the acidic serum in the coagulated latex as much as possible.

The last mill rolls perform the finishing operations. These rolls have diamond-shaped indentations or grooves that impart the characteristic ‘ribbing’ to the sheet produced. Ribbed Smoked Sheets (or RSS) evolve after the smoking process is completed of the dried rubber sheets from this machinery.

Rubber sheeting using this machine saves labour and time. For example, a single operator (or labour) produce 350-750 sheets per hour, depending on the machinery selected, with minimal efforts and training.

Few manufacturers based in Kerala, Southern part of India, manufacture Rubber Sheeting Battery for domestic and international markets.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this post.


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Two-Roll Mixing Mill – Criterion Check List for Buyers

Ever been in a situation, where you wanted to buy a two-roll rubber mixing mill but did not know the crucial questions to ask the supplier? Or terrified with the different formats of techno-commercial offer from various suppliers? Or flummoxed by what basic features really are required to meet your mixing operation? Or even more confused to decide on the different features offered on the mil?

Yes!!

Well, then you need a ready-reference-sheet of selection criteria to consult with the mixing mill supplier and have an intelligent discussion with your machinery salesman. (A questionnaire list available for download at the end of this post will help you freeze your criterion).

Some criterion on this check list are optional while most are crucial to aid you decide well. After the baseline requirements of your two-roll mixing mill are frozen, insist your potential suppliers to give you a quote focused on these criterion.

Of course, there are developments in two-roll mill. If your supplier offers additional features, treat them as options or extras to your core requirement. Subsequently, you can compare on various brand factors – including workmanship quality, supplier reliability, product aesthetics & durability, after-sales service and spares support to your market, price and discounts, etc to decide the most suitable supplier.

Buying a lowest priced mill without focusing on the features you need for your rubber mixing operation will lead you to post-purchase discontent.

Download your Two-Roll Mill Selection Questionnaire today and avoid buyer’s remorse.


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Rubber Sheet Feeder

Internal Mixers and Mixing Mills are familiar rubber compounding machineries for short production runs. This is because of their broad range of shear capabilities and acceptance of all feed forms. Yet, rubber goods producers and tire manufacturers are familiar with their demerits viz. varying power demand, batch-to-batch quality variation and labor intensive operations.

Can you improve the experience and performance expectation? Yes, through the introduction of Sheet Feeders with Rotary Cutter.

Image Courtesy: Bainite Machines Pvt Ltd

Image Courtesy: Bainite Machines Pvt Ltd

Sheet feeders are designed for quick installation onto your existing layout. It could be either mounted to your Mixing Mill frame or put up in front of the weighing conveyor in a Mixer feed line. This means that space constraint never becomes an issue for you to extract more out of your existing mixing operations. And since only one operator can control the mill (or mixer) and sheet feeder, the operation does not increase your labor cost.

Sheet feeder’s with hugger belts replaces the conventional manual loading of rubber sheet on to the mill. This machine enhances your worker’s safety, and makes the loading operation safe. And because it facilitates continuous positive feed of the rubber sheets into the mill (or mixer), the operation feels ‘automatic’.

The rotary cutter on the sheet feeder cuts the fed rubber sheets into uniform rectangular pieces. This results in better dispersion of the rubber sheets in the mixing mill (or mixer for final batch).

The internal mixer rotors performs reactive, dispersive and distributive mixing of uniformly cut rubber sheets faster and better than a long sheet fed into the mixing chamber. The result you experience is a homogenized rubber mix, independent of the operator efficiency or any weight variations in the batch. The quicker mixing of the cut pieces shortens the mix cycle; thereby increasing the productivity of your internal mixer or mixing mill.

Summarizing, Sheet Feeders, is a simple machine which when installed to feed the mixing mill line or batch mixers, increases efficiency, reduces manual intervention and improves consistency of mix. This is also known as Mill Feeder, Rubber Feeder or Stock Loader with disc cutter.

Prodicon, Bainite Machines and few Chinese manufacturers offer them in the world market with customized specifications. Pelmar offers used-machinery of this category.

Please do let us know of your observations and notes on this allied machinery increasing efficiency into your existing rubber mixing line.


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Rubber Machinery and Make In India

The new government of Narendra Modi has enhanced India’s image in the world economy. And a new thrust is being built-up in our manufacturing arena. The flavor of the season has been the rising roar of lion (read “Make in India” logo). Their Facebook page has garnered 2.1 million ‘Likes’ while “#EASEOFDOINGBUSINESS” is popular hash tag on Twitter, reflecting the aspirations of a billion dreams.

And why not?

We have a stable and strong pro-industry government. Global economy is picking up, and India’s core advantages continue to be strong. The government has started well, and already made few minor yet important changes to improve manufacturing sector. Their intent to address obstacles across infrastructure, labour reforms and ease of doing business along with marketing of Brand India are much awaited heartening measures.

Industry Scenario

Rubber machinery comprises of equipment used for Compounding, Mixing, Shaping, and Vulcanizing.

This industry in India manufactures mixers, mixing mills, calenders, extruders, tyre curing presses, tyre moulds, tyre building machines, bias cutters, injection moulding machine, etc.

Estimated at USD 405 million (in 2014), the total market in India is expected to grow at 20% CAGR to USD 580 million by 2016.

According to the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI), currently there are 19 units in the organized sector for the manufacture of rubber machinery required for tyre/tube industry. The Indian rubber machinery manufacturing industry is a net exporter. Up to 100% FDI is allowed under the automatic route. Technology collaboration is also freely allowed.

The Indian Rubber Machinery industry is mostly a cluster of SME’s that epitomises the famous “jugaad” entrepreneurial spirit. Over the years, some have grown and compete globally. I wear the name of one such home-grown brand on my chest – Bainite Machines.

Today, some leading global brands in rubber machinery have manufacturing presence in the country through JV’s, wholly owned subsidiaries or technology license arrangements.

Opportunities Galore

Industry has witnessed growth in tandem with our growing economy in the past. Domestic manufacturers have 60% share in the machinery market. Share of imports is 40%, mainly from Far East on account of low price and shorter delivery.

An accepted approach to purchase equipment today follows this thought process – customers need to look West (Europe) for advanced technological machinery if the price tag is affordable or look to China for a low-cost replica.  Another option is to import used-machinery, which is being discarded by the developed world, at an attractive price tag.

Should this approach be refined? Yes, let me explain.

Increased deployment of used-machinery will render our domestic rubber processing industry inefficient in the long run. Because, rubber processors in the developed world are replacing the older machines with new technology machines under the compulsions to reduce the carbon footprint. Old/Used machinery has high operating cost, higher energy consumption as well as loss of productivity from higher maintenance. One industry friend said this aptly “its wishful thinking to assume another enterprises’ liability (used-machinery) can be your long-term asset (productive machinery)”.

Is it then China? Wait!

Recent statistics are interesting. They reveal China is slowly loses its manufacturing edge. And the reasons are multiple. The labour there aspires to work in hi-tech factories creating workforce shortage for labour intensive machine shops. Wages are rising over 10% per year higher than Indian labour cost increase. The rising Yuan (over 7% against dollar in last three years) makes China’s exports costlier while dropping Rupee (over 26% against dollar in last three years) makes India’s imports costlier. Reports of various forex experts suggest China can afford to let the Yuan strengthen a little bit more while Rupee will remain currency competitive as along as India’s trade-deficit is under control. Also for world-wide importers, shipping costs out of Chennai or Mumbai to most ports of the world are competitive (sometimes even lower) to that from Chinese peers.

Most tire producers around the world and few rubber product manufacturers standardize their production processes across their multiple plants. They adopt one machinery manufacturer for one particular production step and develop them to their customization requirements. This is a win-win situation for both the machinery manufacturer and end user.

It’s an acknowledged fact that Indian machinery manufacturers meet 95% of domestic rubber processing industry needs on technology and product range. Our product technologies are at par with leading brands of developed world albeit offered at great cost advantage.

This is also because leading manufacturers know their fundamentals well. We understand machinery and also rubber processing.

The importance of metallurgy, selection of the right material technology, process technology and appropriate designs that bring out machine systems which are long lasting is paramount to us. And hence, we can design and manufacture customized equipment for our customers. This is definitely our niche as compared to competitors of Far-East.

So, I feel, Indian rubber machinery industry is well positioned on the technological and logistical fronts to offer customized USPs in both domestic and export markets.

Sprucing-up

Indian machinery manufacturers have undertaken capacity expansion, upgradation in technology and adoption of best manufacturing practices to compete effectively – both in the domestic and export markets.  At Bainite Machines, we had started a phase-wise replacement of conventional machines with CNC’s since 2011. We invested in latest design and simulation software to build newer machineries like TSS from scratch, introduce latest B-Turbo tangential rotors, and offer value added sophistication to our regular machineries.

The focus is shifting to automation to create customer value. Smart automation on rubber machineries improves productivity of our customers and enhances operator safety. For example, we developed fully automatic Mixing Room technology requiring only one operator and have highest levels of safety interlocks in the complete processing line. For a large rubber processor, adopting technology and automation is sustainable because the benefits include lower cost of production (cost/kg), consistence in quality, superior aesthetics and reduce defects in throughput production.

Operator-friendly, energy-efficient, machinery that are safe, meets global compliance standards and satisfies the technology appetite is the need of the hour. Bainite Machines recognizes this and design customized machinery. Our recently built Hydraulic Ram in Mixers has a Ram up and down time of less than 3 seconds which in conventional mixers used to be 7 – 8 seconds. In a mixing cycle, there are 2–3 Ram Up and Down operations and hence this 4 seconds saving in each stroke is a tremendous boost to productivity.

Our tagline “Technology That Drives Industry” encapsulates Bainite’s dreams to be a technology driver and is equally fuelled by a passion to position an Indian Machinery manufacturer as a significant force to reckon within the global rubber/tire machinery market. Similar aspirations prevail among my industry friends.

What Next – Two Way Bridge?

Indian Rubber Machinery Industry requires further investments to raise the production volumes and technology to global scale. Volumes will give price competitiveness that our customers expect from us. Government has taken few initiatives to fuel growth and support manufacturing industry.

Equally important is the Indian customers’ recognition of the fact that machinery manufacturers must invest a part of the revenue to R&D efforts. This helps them to improve consistency, improvise continuously on quality, innovation and development of new machines. More importantly, customers can expect prompt after-market (spares and service) support when the machinery manufacturing is local.

So, squeezing the domestic machinery manufacturer to unviable price levels during commercial negotiations citing Far-East competition kills all future advancement efforts. This could then become an impediment to your progress as well tomorrow. Indian Rubber Machinery Industry needs your patronage today more than ever.

We have already demonstrated our competence and quality to the world. Rubber processors across the world are regularly reposing their faith on the Indian Rubber Machinery Industry, eventually making us a net exporter. So, there is no restraint that you could think of to establish this two-way bridge for mutual benefit.

A tinge of extra patriotism to “Make in India” can lead to a sustainable partnership between domestic Rubber Processors and Indian Rubber Machinery Manufacturers for the future and boost the domestic economy further.

Make In India

Snap shot of article as it appeared in Rubber Asia Jan 2015 Special Edition

 

(This article by Prasanth Warrier first appeared in the Rubber Asia, IRE 2015 Special Edition) 


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