For something that is fairly simple in its use, however, how tires are made is a cumbersome procedure. Though tires started out as simply air encased in rubber, today they are more sophisticated than ever. Tyres are no longer just rubber and air. Instead, they’re made up of several layers of different materials, each playing its own role in how the tyre functions. They are a sophisticated mix of materials, including high-tech fabrics, natural and synthetic rubbers and even steel (in some cases).
The making of tire involves much research and design. Cutting edge manufacturing utilizing highly advanced machinery is used in large state-of-the-art facilities at tire manufacturing plants. As many as more than 200 raw materials are combined and then physics, chemistry and engineering is applied to give customers the highest degree of comfort, performance, reliability, and safety at all levels.
The process can broadly be divided into the following two steps:
1- Planning And Design:
In this first stage, the process begins with a computer which measures the vehicle’s special needs into a measurable specification. Then a prototype is created to see the design’s capability to work as per the needed features. Developing tyre for the market is a long drawn practice which can take up to months of testing, inspection and quality checks by the dedicated team of experts.
Tyre manufacturing starts with different kinds of raw materials. Actually putting all the parts of a tire together can be a messy process. The process starts with the mixing of basic rubbers with process oils, carbon black, antioxidants and other additives. Before a tire is built, all these components of the tyre are mixed together in a Banbury Mixer under high pressure until they have the consistency of gum. From there, the material is sent to other machines, where it is fabricated into the individual parts of a tyre.
Once all the tire parts are made, they are sent to the tire building machine which is a pretty apt name. On the machine goes an inner liner of rubber, the plies, the belts, the bead, the sidewall and the tread. Once all the parts are in place, the tire building machine presses them together.
The tire isn’t finished yet. When a tire comes off the tire building machine, it is called then as “Green Tire”. The materials have been put together but not cured yet. Also, green tyres don’t have the grooved pattern of the tread in them. Green tyres go into a mold when they are inflated because the inflation helps the tyre to press against the mold. As a result of which the mold imprints the tread pattern and tire information on the tyre. While in mold, tire is heated to over 149 degrees celsius to cure the tire and bond the components. While the passenger car tires stays for about 15 minutes, the bigger tires like that for truck may cure for an entire day. The heating process is known as vulcanizing the tire.
From there the tyre gets inspected by the specialists. Then it is ready to go on your wheels.