Before beginning to read this article, just take a moment and look around your house. How many rubber products do you see? There would be many! Rubber is used to make a lot of items; some are entirely made of rubber, while some have rubber as one of their components. Because of its various unique properties such as high stretch ratio, resilience and waterproof nature, rubber is in high demand in various industries.
Production of natural rubber starts with a process called tapping, which is used to extract rubber from mature rubber trees. Workers make an incision on each tree, and through this incision, a milky fluid called latex starts flowing slowly. Latex is collected in containers; then water content is removed from it. It is then converted to raw rubber sheets using machines. Apart from natural rubber, different types of synthetic rubber are also in use nowadays. Silicone rubber, acrylic rubber and butyl rubber are some of them.
Some industries use uncured rubber, while some prefer vulcanised rubber. So, the manufacturers should be well aware of the purpose for which the rubber is going to be used and then supply accordingly.
The largest share of the total rubber produced in the world goes to the automobile industry. Tyres and tubes are the main rubber products in the automobile industry. The number of automobiles is increasing rapidly every day, and hence the need for rubber also increases. According to statistics, 56% of the total rubber production is used for automobile tyres and tubes. Bicycle tyres and tubes consume about 9 %.
Adhesives and tapes
There is a category of additives known by the name ‘rubber cement’ which is made by mixing latex with solvents such as hexane and acetone. This is a strong adhesive having many applications. Insulating materials, tapes, etc. also make use of rubber. Uncured rubber is the one used for all these categories.
Various household items such as gloves, hoses, cushions, etc. are made using rubber. These are just a few items; the list is very long. Rubber is also used in the manufacture of toys, balls, balloons, etc.
Because of the high electrical resistance property, hard rubber is used for making electrical meters and other similar electrical instruments. The bearings in pumps, power transmission belting, telephone housings, etc. are also made of rubber.
Some jewellers such as I Love Diamonds and Jewelry Designs make use of uncured rubber for making jewellery moulds. We have been supplying them rubber for many years. This is a technique used to preserve and recreate designs. This procedure was in wide use in the past, the recent growth of computer-based designs has reduced the need for such moulding techniques.
There are still many areas which make use of rubber for making their products. According to sources at the website www.rubberstudy.com, the dependence of automobile industry and other related fields on rubber is expected to increase in the coming years, so there is no doubt that rubber will be in more demand in the near future!