Tyre production is a highly complex technical process, with the safety of drivers depending on both impeccable design and flawless manufacturing.
It can be broken down into eight key manufacturing stages:
Various grades of natural and synthetic rubber are blended in an internal mixer (commonly known as a Banbury) and mixed with carbon black and other chemical products. This blend is called the "masterbatch" and its make-up is carefully constructed according to the desired performance parameters of the tyre.
Textile fabric or steel cord is coated with a film of rubber on both sides. Calendered textiles such as rayon, nylon and polyester are used for the casing and the cap ply's. Steel cord is used for the belts.
- Tread and Sidewall Extrusion
The tread and sidewalls are constructed by forming two different and specifically designed compounds into tread profiles by feeding the rubber through an extruder. Extruders produce continuous lengths of tread rubber which are then cooled and cut to specific lengths.
- Bead Construction
The bead core is constructed by coating plated steel wires, which are wound on a bead former by a given number of turns to provide a specific diameter and strength for a particular tyre.
- Tyre Building
Tyre building is traditionally a two-stage process. Although modern tyre factories now use a certain number of single-stage building machines, two-stage building is still widely used, particularly for the more standard sizes. In the first stage, the innerliner, the body ply's and the sidewalls are placed on a building drum. The beads are positioned, the ply edges are turned around the bead core and the sidewalls are simultaneously moved into position. In the second tyre building stage, the tyre is shaped by inflation with two belts, a cap ply and the tread being added. At the end of this stage the tyre is now known as a "green tyre".
The green tyre is now placed in a mould inside a curing press and cured for a specific length of time at a specific pressure and temperature. The finished tyre is then ejected from the mould.
Excess rubber is removed from the cured tyre on a trimming machine.
Before the tyre is allowed to go to the dispatch warehouse, it is inspected both visually and electronically for quality and uniformity.
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