Microwave preheating of natural rubber for a major tyre manufacturer significantly increased his production efficiency
With microwave preheating technology, a major European tyre manufacturer is able to significantly reduce the heating time of rubber. As a result, he has sped up the production and has been planning the entire production process more efficiently.
What we’ve been dealing with
Due to rapidly increasing demand, our customer’s production capacity was no longer sufficient. One of the key parameters slowing down overall production was the natural rubber preheating technology, the limits of which no longer allowed a significant speeding of the process.
Therefore, the company approached ROMILL with a request to completely change the technology and, speeding and making the heating of natural rubber more efficient. One of the client’s requirements was to achieve temperatures above 40°C and to be able to handle up to 80 tonnes of material per day.
What solution we have chosen
Because natural rubber can be heated very well (even in a layer of up to one meter) via microwave technology, ROMILL supplied the client with the NSR Preheater 96. Among other things, this allows working with entire pallets of material.
In addition, the unique technology used by ROMILL NSR Preheater 96 gives the client the opportunity to:
- Heat two pallets of natural rubber in one cycle (2 x 1250 Kg).
- Reduce one cycle to 20–40 minutes according to the required temperatures.
- Full automation of the equipment itself.
- Pre-heating of the rubber to the temperature of 50°C or higher.
Thanks to the investment in the NSR Preheat 96, the customer now plans its production in minutes rather than days and is thus able to operate in a lean production model and keep minimum stock levels. The customer can use rubber frozen to sub-zero temperatures as soon as it is needed in production. In addition, by preheating to higher temperatures, it effectively shortens the single mixing cycle, reduces the strain on the Banbury mixer, reducing thus the frequency of service interventions.
The preheating process itself is also more efficient. Compared to conventional technology, the material does not need to be manually stacked from the pallets; the entire batch enters the machine after being transferred to the stainless-steel pallet. Nevertheless an even distribution of temperature is ensured throughout the pallet, which eliminates the risk of a bad mixture due to crystallization and ensures the same output temperature and, stable and controlled quality of the rubber mixture.
Given the scale of production, energy requirements (~46 kWh/ton/Δt 40°C) are also significant for the client, reducing not only the carbon footprint generated by the production process, but also the cost of production itself..