Production Control of Elastomers in the Tire Industry

Background

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Modern tires are high-tech composites of hundreds of different materials comprising elastomers, plasticizers, additives, reinforcing agents such as metal and fabrics. The specific challenge is to blend the numerous materials together correctly to guarantee tires with the desired safety, grip and durability. Commonly synthetic and natural rubbers are blended during the production process by means of extrusion. To ensure that the ratios of the two rubbers are matching the specifications an analytical method needs to be employed. One approach is to determine characteristic compounds in the headspace above the extruded product whose concentrations exactly represent the mixing ratio of the elastomers.

Solution

The V&F IMR-technology (Ion Molecule Reaction) is capable of measuring the composition of the head space formed by freshly extruded elastomers without a need for sample preparation. After defining the correlation between the concentration of marker compounds within the headspace and the proportion of two elastomers in a blend the production process can be monitored with high precision. Fluctuations in the product are quickly detected and adjustments can be made. V&F mass spectrometers can be equipped with a variety of interfaces to ensure proper embedding into the process control environment.

Advantage

V&F mass spectrometers deliver results in real time by direct measurement of the headspace. Other technologies such as Gas Chromatography based instrumentation require several minutes for a measurement and usually involve lengthy sampling procedures. Quality control of the elastomer blend is achieved instantly and batch consistency is guaranteed. V&F technology can help to ensure high quality product outcome and hence consumer satisfaction.

Highlights

  • Fast & reliable quality monitoring of elastomer blends
  • High sensitivity and high selectivity for best precision
  • Easy implementation into IT/PLC environments

Reference customers (excerpt)

Applicable instruments

AirSense
2
CombiSense