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New ‘reduced odour natural rubber’ offers pioneering, ‘greener’ solution for tyre factories

Sumitomo Rubber Industries develops technique deemed “a major step toward” in solving long-standing odour issues surrounding natural rubber

After successfully identifying the factors that cause natural rubber to emit a smell. Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) has developed a ‘Reduced Odour Natural Rubber,’ (RONR) a new type of natural rubber that emits significantly less odour.

Thanks to the introduction of a proprietary raw material processing technique at the SRI’s plant in Thailand, its new ‘Reduced Odour Natural Rubber,’ achieves a significant reduction in odour by suppressing the breakdown of odour-causing non-rubber components (such as proteins and lipids) that are found within natural rubber in its raw material state.

“The establishment of this new technique represents a major step toward solving long-standing odour issues, not just at natural rubber processing plants, but also at tyre factories and other sites where natural rubber is handled,” says Sumitomo Rubber Europe GmbH’s Dr Bernd Löwenhaupt.

As natural rubber in particular accounts for approximately 30 per cent* of the raw materials that make up a tyre (by weight), SRI is currently moving forward with other proactive efforts to find pioneering solutions to the various issues its use. These range from improving tyre performance and a greater overall environmental awareness, such as modifying natural rubber’s properties and making greater use of biomass materials.

*Source: “Tyre Industry of Japan 2019” Report (Japan Automobile Tyre Manufacturers Association)

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