Tires are not just round and black they are sophisticated products that can take years of research and development to produce. If you have ever wondered how tires are made, the following is a roadmap for the construction of a radial tire:
Start with Rubber and Additives
Tire construction starts when raw chemical additives such as sulfur, carbon black and solvents are combined with natural and synthetic rubber. The process takes place in a large machine called a banbury.
In addition to mixing and grinding, the banbury heats the rubber to make it workable in preparation for further applications. The raw product emerges in the form of long, flat bands of rubber, which are then worked in rolling mills.
Six Main Components
It takes several machines to shape the rubber into the individual components of the tire: tread, ply, belts, beads, sidewalls, and innerliner.
The Green Tire
The six components (tread, ply, belts, sidewalls, liner and beads) come together on the tire-building machine. These six components are assembled into what is known as an uncured, or green, tire in two stages.
The two subassemblies are then joined together and the result is a green tire.
The next phase is vulcanization, the molecular transformation of the soft, gummy green tire into the tough, and longwearing, modern passenger tire. The green tire is placed in a curing mold and is subjected to intense pressure and high heat internally and externally for a specified period of time. Simultaneously, the tread pattern is imprinted onto the rubber. When it comes from the mold, the tire is ready for final finish and inspection.
Final Finish and Inspection
For showroom quality, any excess rubber is trimmed off the cured tire. Every tire is thoroughly inspected. The tire then undergoes various uniformity checks to assess ride and comfort quality. Once the tires have passed all the checks and inspections, they are sent to the distribution warehouse for shipment.