Most of us drive a car, ride a bicycle, or take a bus to work, but did you ever think about the tires that help get you from Point A to Point B? Have you ever wondered where rubber comes from and how tires are made?
Tires are made of either synthetic or natural rubber. In the 18th century, natural rubber was discovered in Peru by a French scientist when he came across rubber trees. Latex, which is a milky fluid, is collected from the bark of rubber trees (similar to how syrup is tapped from maple trees). The latex is then refined in order to make rubber products.
In the mid-19th century, Charles Goodyear, noting how rubber either melted or hardened depending on the weather, patented a process called vulcanization, which made rubber temperature-resistant. In the late 19th century, Akron, Ohio was the leader in rubber production. By 1950, Ohio produced more than one-third of the tires and other rubber products in the country, and five of the six biggest tire companies were located in Akron.
But how are tires made? The majority of tires are molded but they can also be rolled or extruded. Injection molding is the most common way to mold rubber because it is efficient and cost-effective. A tire, however, is not solely made of rubber. Did you know there can be as many as 30 ingredients in a tire? Different ingredients are used depending on the type of tire. All the ingredients are blended together in giant mixers, creating a sticky black compound. This material is then cooled and sent to a mill where the rubber is cut into strips. Next, all the components of the tire are placed into a machine where a basic tire is constructed. Lastly, the tire gets vulcanized and the parts are compressed together, resulting in the final shape and pattern of the tire.
Temperature control is critical when mixing rubber. It helps decrease waste, increase efficiency, and ensure consistency. The most commonly used medium for temperature control in the rubber industry is water. If you’re looking for a mixer temperature control unit, check out our website (https://www.budzar.com/mixer-temperature-control-hot-water-unit/).
We also provide mini temp control, multi-zone hot water, high-volume hot water, and stationary hot oil units for the rubber industry. For more rubber and tire statistics, read the facts below courtesy of https://brandongaille.com/23-tire-and-rubber-industry-statistics-and-trends/ and https://www.thoughtco.com/john-dunlop-charles-goodyear-tires-1991641
And make sure to visit Budzar at ITEC, September 11-13 in Akron, Ohio: https://events.american-tradeshow.com/itec
Vulcanized rubber was invented in 1839 by Charles Goodyear, and it is still considered the modern form of rubber. Before Goodyear perfected the process of vulcanization, rubber products would change their characteristics based on local weather conditions. If it was hot, then the rubber would become sticky. If it was cold, then the rubber would become brittle.
Although rubber is a natural product, the tire and rubber industry rely on synthetic rubber products as well. The technology to develop synthetic rubber was developed in the United States during World War II as their access to natural rubber supplies was limited due to the conflict. Made from crude oil, there are currently about 20 grades of synthetics available and are used in a variety of products.
In the United States, there are currently 111 businesses that are operating within the tire and rubber industry.
The tire and rubber industry generate about $18 billion in revenues each year, including aircraft and motor vehicle tires, inner tubing, and repair materials.
Approximately 60% of the world’s rubber supply is consumed by the global tire industry. The remainder is used for mulch, rubber bands, boots, and other consumer products.
Global production of natural rubber products accounts for less than half of the world’s total rubber production levels.
In 1903, P.W. Litchfield of the Goodyear Tire Company patented the first tubeless tire, however, it was never commercially exploited until it was used on the 1954 Packard.
In 1904, mountable rims were introduced that allowed drivers to fix their own flats. In 1908, Frank Seiberling invented grooved tires with improved road traction.
In 1910, B.F. Goodrich Company invented longer life tires by adding carbon to the rubber. Goodrich also invented the first synthetic rubber tires in 1937 made of a patented substance called Chemigum.