The term “rubber” refers not only to natural rubber, sourced from the Pará rubber tree, but also a large group of highly elastic polymers, generally labeled as synthetic rubbers. Rubber manufacturers use both natural rubber and many types of synthetic rubber to create products important to everyday life. Natural rubber is, for example, used in the creation of windshield wipers, conveyors belts and many marine products. Rubber manufacturers employ synthetic materials to produce, among other things, a large number of automobile components, such as flooring, matting, window and door profiles, belts and hoses. Both natural and synthetic rubbers may be used to create tires.
Quick links to Rubber Manufacturers Information
History of Rubber
The first synthetic rubber was invented in Germany in 1909, and later versions were used in both World War I and subsequent years, as rubber prices shot up. However, it was not until World War II that the use of synthetic rubber really launched into the mainstream. This occurred as a direct result of the high demand for rubber to create war machine tires, which was matched with an expensive and disproportionately low supply of natural rubber. Since then, the creation of products using synthetic rubbers like neoprene, EPDM, viton, silicone rubber, nitrile, butyl and polyurethane has not slowed down. Today, rubber manufacturers process about twenty-five million tons of rubber per year.
Rubber Harvesting Process
Natural rubber is harvested mainly via the tapping of rubber trees, which secrete a sticky, milk-like substance called latex. Once collected, the latex is refined into rubber. Natural rubber can be left uncured or it can be vulcanized. During vulcanization, rubber is heated then modified with the addition of peroxide, bisphenol or sulfur, any of which will improve its elasticity, strength and resistance to stressors. Of the two, vulcanized rubber has more applications. Some of the products that rubber manufacturers make using vulcanized rubber include shoe soles, hockey pucks, domestic clothes wringers, rubber boots and pump housings. They use uncured rubber in the creation of adhesives, insulation, cements, friction tapes and crepe rubber, which is used in insulating footwear and blankets.
Applications of Rubber
Another great trait of rubber is its relative gas impermeability, which makes it popular for use in the creation of items like balloons, air hoses, sports balls and cushions. Also, since soft rubber products are particularly resistant to electricity, they are often used inside protective shoes and gloves. Hard rubber is equally popular in the production of electrical instruments like parts for radio sets, meters and telephone housings. Because it is water and fluid resistant, rubber manufacturers often use rubber to produce medical and chemical tubing, rain boots, rain jackets, umbrellas, diving gear and the lining of railroad tank cars, storage tanks and processing equipment. Other rubber products include large and small gaskets, latex gloves, shock absorbers and specialized machinery mounts. Rubber can even be used during the extrusion, rubber bonding and rubber molding processes.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Rubber Manufacturer
For the best results, an interested party will turn to a rubber manufacturer that is experienced and ready to listen to customer requests. When discussing their application, customers should convey to rubber manufacturers the levels of stress and strain they plan to put on their product and the temperature environment in which the product will work. It is important to know the anticipated levels of stress and strain, because this will determine the required strength and, in part, elasticity of the rubber product to be produced. In addition, it is important to communicate anticipated temperature averages because elasticity changes with temperature, and a manufacturer must create a product that compensates for that. Note that, in environments of extreme heat, rubber elasticity is very high, while in areas of extreme cold, rubber elasticity is much lower. The right partner can make all the difference, so don’t hesitate to reach out to multiple rubber manufacturers with questions before beginning work.