Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. has said that the advancement it has made in rubber compounding technology through use of its “nano” technology can significantly reduce the rolling resistance of truck tires. The Japanese tire manufacturer is hoping to develop a commercially viable truck/bus tire using the nano technology within a period of one year. Toyo did not divulge details about how much effect the use of the technology would have on the rolling resistance of the tire, but did say that its “nano balance” compounding technology yields a decrease by 20 per cent in energy loss at the point of deformation.
Toyo’s “nano” technology involves comprehensive observation, prediction, function, creation and control of rubber materials at the molecular (nano) level for developing the most optimal rubber materials. The first products that involved the use of nano balance was Toyo’s range of NanoEnergy tires which made their debut in 2011 in Japan.
Toyo went on to set up research and development facility at its tire manufacturing facility in Perak, Malaysia. The company has plans to expand this plant further as a production line with the goal of turning out a new range of truck and bus tires.
Toyo feels that use of this technology for truck/bus tires would align well with its corporate social commitments as the tires would result in better fuel economy for trucks and buses, which Toyo chose to term as the “backbone of our social infrastructure.”
From a technical perspective, the purpose of using nano technology is to optimize the dispersion of fillers in rubber. The process Toyo uses involves disintegration of carbon black in a special solution for the purpose of dispersing it at the molecular level in the initial compound creation process where natural rubber latex is stirred and coagulated.
The company has made continual improvements in the process over the past six years and the current processing method Improvements in the process over the past six years have yielded a processing method that achieves the “ideal state” of filler where it is uniformly and highly dispersed even in solid rubber like natural rubber.
Toyo already has released in Japan a truck tire using the technology, NanoEnergy M676, which it claims offers a 31-percent reduction in rolling resistance vs. an existing Toyo design.
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