Making NR Substitution Viable - Tire Review Magazine

Making NR Substitution Viable

(India/Rubber Asia) As the shockwaves of the NR price boom still rocks the global rubber industry, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. claims to have made significant strides in synthetic rubber (SR) substitution, to take advantage of the cost differences between the two key raw materials.

New proprietary polymers and rubber compounds developed at the company’s Technical Centers in Akron and Luxembourg will allow Goodyear to freely replace more than 15% of its natural rubber usage without impacting tyre performance, the company, headed by its ever-dynamic chairman and CEO Robert Keegan, tells the panic-stricken industry.

This is a significant improvement on the International Rubber Study Group’s estimates that the tyre industry’s substitution capability is less than 8%. If what Goodyear tells is right, it is good news for tyre makers who alone consume about 70% of the world’s NR production.

“New polymer development is ongoing, but the supply/demand volatility – which even then showed no signs of subsiding – created a sense of urgency for our research and development team. Their fast work is contributing to the success of our tyre businesses by providing flexibility with high quality,” Joseph M. Gingo, the company’s executive president, says.

While Goodyear’s development will not reduce its raw material costs significantly, it provides the opportunity to lessen the rate of increase. “They do not eliminate our raw material costs, but they do give us greater flexibility in the event of further NR price increases or supply disruptions and provide a competitive edge,” says the company.

Goodyear is among the top three tyre companies in the world, which manufactures tyres, engineered rubber products and chemicals in more than 100 facilities in 21 countries across the globe.

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