Rubber & Tyre Machinery World

Info on Equipment And Suppliers


2 Comments

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.


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.


5 Comments

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.


If you liked this article, please 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.


3 Comments

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) 


If you liked this article, please do not forget to share with your colleagues and friends. And If you would like to be informed of our articles regularly, please register with us for free updates today.