Members of the Tire Industry Project (TIP) and other stakeholders came together on 25 October to celebrate the inauguration of a new platform for positively transforming the natural rubber supply chain. Following 12 months of stakeholder collaboration, the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) has been launched with what is described as “an ambitious and wide-reaching set of priorities” for the natural rubber chain.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company and its consortium partners have completed their five-year research project into the potential of guayule rubber as a replacement for Hevea natural rubber in tyres. A report on their work was recently presented at the public-private sector consortium’s wrap-up meeting held at the Cooper Tire & Vehicle Test Center near San Antonio, USA.
Scientists working on Cooper Tire & Rubber’s guayule rubber project have reportedly reached a key milestone on the path to producing, by mid-2017, a concept tyre in which guayule-based polymers replace all natural and synthetic rubbers. Their testing has shown guayule to be an effective substitute material in certain components, with tyres produced using these components offering comparative performance to their conventional counterparts.
Cooper Tire & Rubber is now evaluating the first tyres it has built using rubber derived from guayule plants, and says that to-date the wheel, road and track tests suggest tyre performance that is at least equal to tyres manufactured using traditional Hevea-sourced rubber. The tyre maker reported this development to its consortium partners – PanAridus, Arizona State University, Cornell University, and the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS) – at the group’s recent meeting for its third annual meeting and progress report on their US$6.9 million Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) grant, ‘Securing the Future of Natural Rubber—An American Tire and Bioenergy Platform from Guayule.’
The formal dedication for Cooper Tire Asia’s new technical centre facility took place on 12 June, the company reports. The Asia Technical Center (ATC) in Kunshan, China is located near the Cooper Kunshan Tire (CKT) plant some 30 miles/50 kilometres from Shanghai. The new, purpose-built facility replaces the ATC operation in Shanghai and will house 65 material scientists and tyre engineers. The ATC is one of four Cooper Tire & Rubber technical centres around the world, and focuses primarily on the design and development of passenger car and truck tyres for the Asian and Chinese markets.