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Rubber is one of the most important products to come out of the rainforest.
Though indigenous rainforest dwellers of South America have been using rubber for
generations, it was not until 1839 that rubber had its first practical application in the
industrial world. In that year, Charles Goodyear accidentally dropped rubber and
sulfur on a hot stovetop, causing it to char like leather yet remain plastic and elastic.
Vulcanization, a refined version of this process, transformed the white sap from the
bark of the Hevea tree into an essential product for the industrial age.

With the invention of the automobile in the late 19th century, the rubber boom
began. As demand for rubber soared, small dumpy river towns like Manaus, Brazil,
were transformed overnight into bustling centers of commerce. Manaus, situated on
the Amazon where it is met by the Rio Negro, became the opulent heart of the rubber
trade. Within a few short years Manaus had Brazil's first telephone system, 16 miles
of streetcar tracks, and an electric grid for a city of a million, though it had a
population of only 40,000. Vast fortunes were made by individuals, and "flaunting
wealth became sport. Rubber barons lit cigars with $100 bank notes and slaked the
thirst of their horses with silver buckets of chilled French champagne. Their wives,
disdainful of the muddy waters of the Amazon, sent linens to Portugal to be
laundered...They ate food imported from Europe...[and] in the wake of opulent
dinners, some costing as much as $100,000, men retired to any one of a dozen
elegant bordellos." The citizens of Manaus "were the highest per capita consumers
of diamonds in the world."

Rubber Plantation, Thailand

Rubber Plantation, Thailand

Rubber Plantation, Thailand

Rubber tapper Thailand

Rubber Tapper Thailand

Capacity of Rubber Collection

The opulence of the rubber barons could only be exceeded by their brutality.
Wild Hevea trees, like all primary rainforest trees, are widely dispersed, an
adaptation that protects species from the South American leaf blight which easily
spreads through and decimates plantations. Thus, to make a profit, the barons had to
acquire control over huge tracts of land. Most did so by by hiring their own private
armies to defend their claims, acquire new land, and capture native laborers. Labor
was always a problem, so barons got creative. One baron created a stud farm,
enslaving 600 Indian women whom he bred like cattle. Other barons like Julio Cesar
Arana simply used terror to acquire and hold on to Indian slaves. Indians captured
usually submitted because resistance only meant more suffering for the families.

Young girls were sold as whores, while young men were bound, blindfolded,
and had their genitals blasted off. As the Indians died, production soared: in the 12
years that Arana operated on the Putumayo River in Colombia, the native population
fell from over 30,000 to less than 8,000 while he exported over 4,000 tons of rubber
earning over $75 million. The only thing that stopped the holocaust was the downfall
of the Brazilian rubber market.

The Brazilian rubber market was crushed by the rapid development of the more
efficient rubber plantations of Southeast Asia. However, the prospects of developing
plantations did not begin on a high note. Rubber seeds, rich with oil and latex, could
not survive the long Atlantic journey from Brazil. Finally, in 1876, an English
planter, Henry Wickham, collected 70,000 seeds and shipped them to England. This
shipment remains "a source of controversy. Brazilians, conveniently forgetting their
entire agricultural economy is based on five imported plantsAfrican oil palm,
coffee from Ethiopia, cacao from Colombia and Ecuador, soybeans from China, and
sugarcane from Southeast Asiastill speak of the "rubber theft" as a moment of
infamy. Wickham himself, in his memoirs, lent a note of mystery to the deed, no
doubt intending to elevate his own profile in the eyes of his peers. In fact, all
evidence suggests that the exportation was a straightforward affair conducted in the
open and actively facilitated by the Brazilian authorities in Belm." In either case,
2,800 of the seeds germinated and were sent to Colombo, Ceylon (present day Sri
Lanka). After several false starts, including one by a planter in northern Borneo who
felled his plantation after finding no rubber balls hanging from the branches, the
prospects were grim. One major obstacle was that the success of tea (Ceylon) and
coffee (Malaya) gave planters no reason to try an untested crop.

Finally in 1895, Henry Ridley, head of Singapore's botanical garden,

persuaded two coffee growers to plant two acres (.8 ha) of Hevea trees. Twelve years
later more than 300,000 ha of rubber grew in plantations in Ceylon and Malaya. New
innovations increased efficiency, and production doubled every two years. Rubber
could be produced at only a fraction of the cost of collecting wild rubber in Brazil.
By 1910, Brazilian production had fallen 50 percent.

However the Second World War threatened to shift the rubber wealth. With
Japan occupying prime rubber-producing areas in Southeast Asia, the U.S.
feared it would run out of the vital material. Every tire, hose, seal, valve, and inch of
wiring required rubber. The Rubber Development Corporation, the chief overseer of
rubber acquisition, sought out other sources including establishing a rubber program
that sent intrepid explorers into the Amazon seeking rubber specimens that would
be used to produce high yields, superior products, and the possibility of resistance
against leaf blight. The ultimate goal of the program was to establish rubber
plantations close to home. In addition to searching the Amazon and establishing
experimental plantations in Latin America, the program came up with some novel
plans to produce rubber, including planting dandelionstheir milky sap a small, but
useful source of rubberin 41 states. Extensive work on synthetic rubber yielded a
product that, in time, economists predicted, would replace natural rubber. By 1964
synthetic rubber made up 75 percent of the market.
However, the situation changed drastically with the OPEC oil embargo of
1973, which doubled the price of synthetic rubber and made oil consumers more
conscious of their gas mileage. The concern over gas mileage brought an unexpected
threat to the synthetic market: the widespread adoption of the radial tire. The radial
tire replaced the simple bias tires (which had made up 90 percent of the market only
five years earlier) and within a few years virtually all cars were rolling on radials.
Synthetic rubber did not have the strength for radials; only natural rubber could
provide the required sturdiness. By 1993 natural rubber had recaptured 39 percent
of the domestic market. Today nearly 50 percent of every auto tire and 100 percent
of all aircraft tires are made of natural rubber. Of this rubber, 85 percent is imported
from Southeast Asia, meaning that the U.S. is highly susceptible to disruptions
caused by an embargo, or worse, the unintentional or intentional introduction of leaf
blight into plantations. None of the trees in plantations across Southeast Asia has
resistance to blight so "a single act of biological terrorism, the systematic
introduction of fungal spores so small as to be readily concealed in a shoe, could
wipe out the plantations, shutting down production of natural rubber for at least a
decade. It is difficult to think of any other raw material that is as vital and

Pre-Columbian peoples of South and Central America used rubber for balls,
containers, and shoes and for waterproofing fabrics. Mentioned by Spanish and
Portuguese writers in the 16th cent., rubber did not attract the interest of Europeans
until reports about it were made (173651) to the French Academy of Sciences by
Charles de la Condamine and Franois Fresneau. Pioneer research in finding rubber
solvents and in waterproofing fabrics was done before 1800, but rubber was used
only for elastic bands and erasers, and these were made by cutting up pieces imported
from Brazil. Joseph Priestley is credited with the discovery c.1770 of its use as an
eraser, thus the name rubber.

The first rubber factory in the world was established near Paris in 1803, the
first in England by Thomas Hancock in 1820. Hancock devised the forerunner of the
masticator (the rollers through which the rubber is passed to partially break the
polymer chains), and in 1835 Edwin Chaffee, an American, patented a mixing mill
and a calender (a press for rolling the rubber into sheets).

In 1823, Charles Macintosh found a practical process for waterproofing

fabrics, and in 1839 Charles Goodyear discovered vulcanization, which
revolutionized the rubber industry. In the latter half of the 19th cent. the demand for
rubber insulation by the electrical industry and the invention of the pneumatic tire
extended the demand for rubber. In the 19th cent. wild rubber was harvested in South
and Central America and in Africa; most of it came from the Par rubber tree of the
Amazon basin.

Despite Brazil's legal restrictions, seeds of the tree were smuggled to England
in 1876. The resultant seedlings were sent to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and later to many
tropical regions, especially the Malay area and Java and Sumatra, beginning the
enormous East Asian rubber industry. Here the plantations were so carefully
cultivated and managed that the relative importance of Amazon rubber diminished.
American rubber companies, as a step toward diminishing foreign control of the
supply, enlarged their plantation holdings in Liberia and in South and Central

During World War I, Germany made a synthetic rubber, but it was too
expensive for peacetime use. In 1927 a less costly variety was invented, and in 1931
neoprene was made, both in the United States. German scientists developed Buna
rubber just prior to World War II. When importation of natural rubber from the East
Indies was cut off during World War II, the United States began large-scale
manufacture of synthetic rubber, concentrating on Buna S. Today synthetic rubber
accounts for about 60% of the world's rubber production.


The major commercial source of natural latex used to create rubber is the Para
rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis (Euphorbiaceae). This is largely because it responds
to wounding by producing more latex. In 1876, Henry Wickham gathered thousands
of seeds of this plant from Brazil, and they were germinated in Kew Gardens,
England. The seedlings were then sent to Colombo, Indonesia, Singapore, and
British Malaya. Malaya later became the biggest producer of rubber.

Other plants containing latex include figs (Ficus elastica), euphorbias, and the
common dandelion. Although these have not been major sources of
rubber, Germany attempted to use such sources during World War II when it was
cut off from rubber supplies. These attempts were later supplanted by the
development of synthetic rubber. Its density is about 920 kilograms/meter3.

Collection of rubber

A woman in Sri Lanka(Ceylon) in the process of harvesting rubber

In places like Kerala, where coconuts grow in abundance, half of a coconut shell is
used as a container to collect the latex. The shells are attached to the tree by a short,
sharp stick, and the latex drips down into it overnight. This usually produces latex
up to a level of half to three quarters of the shell. The latex from multiple trees is
then poured into flat pans, and this is mixed with formic acid, which serves as a
coagulant. After a few hours, the very wet sheets of rubber are wrung out by putting
them through a press, then sent to factories where vulcanization and further
processing is done.

Current sources of rubber

Today, Asia is the main source of natural rubber. Over half of the rubber used
today is synthetic, but several million tons of natural rubber are still produced
annually, and is still essential for some industries, including automotive and military.

Hypoallergenic rubber can be made from guayule.

Natural rubber is often vulcanized, a process by which the rubber is heated

and sulfur, peroxide or bisphenol are added to improve resilience and elasticity, and
to prevent it from deteriorating. Vulcanization greatly improved the durability and
utility of rubber from the 1830s on. The successful development of vulcanization is
most closely associated with Charles Goodyear. Carbon black is often used as an
additive to rubber to improve its strength, especially in vehicle tires.


In its native regions of Central America and South America, rubber has
been collected for a long time. The Mesoamerican civilizations used rubber mostly
from the plant species known as Castilla elastic. The Ancient Mesoamericans had a
ball game using rubber balls, and a few Pre-Columbian rubber balls have been found
(always in sites that were flooded under fresh water), the earliest dating to about
1600 B.C.E. According to Bernal Daz del Castillo, the Spanish conquistadores
were so astounded by the vigorous bouncing of the rubber balls of the Aztecs that
they wondered if the balls were enchanted by evil spirits. The Maya also made a type
of temporary rubber shoe by dipping their feet into a latex mixture.

Rubber was used in various other contexts as well, such as for strips to hold stone
and metal tools to wooden handles, and padding for the tool handles. While the
ancient Mesoamericans did not know about vulcanization, they developed organic
methods of processing the rubber with similar results, mixing the raw latex with
various saps and juices of other vines, particularly Ipomoea Alba, a species of
morning glory. In Brazil, the natives understood the use of rubber to make water-
resistant cloth. One story says that the first European to return to Portugal from
Brazil with samples of such water-repellent, rubberized cloth so shocked people that
he was brought to court on the charge of witchcraft.

The first reference to rubber in England appears to be in 1770, when Joseph

Priestley observed that a piece of the material was extremely good for rubbing out
pencil marks on paper, hence the name "rubber." Around the same time, Edward
Nairne began selling cubes of natural rubber from his shop at 20 Cornhill in London.
The cubes, meant to be erasers, sold for the astonishingly high price of three shillings
per half-inch cube.

The para rubber tree initially grew in South America, where it was the main source
of the limited amount of latex rubber consumed during much of the nineteenth
century. About one hundred years ago, the Congo Free State in Africa was a
significant source of natural rubber latex, mostly gathered by forced labor. The
Congo Free State was forged and ruled as a personal colony by the Belgian King
Leopold II. Millions of Africans died there, as a result of lust for rubber and rubber
profits. After repeated efforts, rubber was successfully cultivated in Southeast Asia,
where it is now widely grown.
In the mid-nineteenth century rubber was a novelty material, but it did not find
much application in the industrial world. It was used first as erasers, and then as
medical devices for connecting tubes and for inhaling medicinal gases. With the
discovery that rubber was soluble in ether, it found applications in waterproof
coatings, notably for shoes and soon after this, the rubberized Mackintosh coat
became very popular.

Nevertheless, most of these applications were in small volumes and the

material did not last long. The reason for this lack of serious applications was the
fact that the material was not durable, was sticky and often rotted and smelled bad
because it remained in its uncured state.

Chemical and physical properties

Rubber exhibits unique physical and chemical properties.

Aside from a few natural product impurities, natural rubber is essentially a

polymer of isoprene units, a hydrocarbon diene monomer. Synthetic rubber can be
made as a polymer of isoprene or various other monomers. Rubber is believed to
have been named by Joseph Priestley, who discovered in 1770 that dried latex
rubbed out pencil marks. The material properties of natural rubber make it an
elastomer and a thermoplastic.

Rubber's stress-strain behaviour exhibits the Mullins effect, the Payne effect and is
often modelled as hyperplastic.

Why does rubber have elasticity?

In most elastic materials, such as metals used in springs, the elastic behaviour
is caused by bond distortions. When stress is applied, bond lengths deviate from the
(minimum energy) equilibrium and strain energy is stored electrostatically. Rubber
is often assumed to behave in the same way, but it turns out this is a poor description.
Rubber is a curious material because, unlike metals, strain energy is stored
thermally, as well as electrostatically.

In its relaxed state rubber consists of long, coiled-up polymer chains that are
interlinked at a few points. Between a pair of links each monomer can rotate freely
about its neighbour. This gives each section of chain leeway to assume a large
number of geometries, like a very loose rope attached to a pair of fixed points. At
room temperature rubber stores enough kinetic energy so that each section of chain
oscillates chaotically, like the above piece of rope being shaken violently.

When rubber is stretched the "loose pieces of rope" are taut and thus no longer
able to oscillate. Their kinetic energy is given off as excess heat. Therefore, the
entropy decreases when going from the relaxed to the stretched state, and it increases
during relaxation. This change in entropy can also be explained by the fact that a
tight section of chain can fold in fewer ways (W) than a loose section of chain, at a
given temperature (nb. entropy is defined as S=k*ln(W)). Relaxation of a stretched
rubber band is thus driven by an increase in entropy, and the force experienced is
not electrostatic, rather it is a result of the thermal energy of the material being
converted to kinetic energy. Rubber relaxation is endothermic. The material
undergoes adiabatic cooling during contraction. This property of rubber can easily
be verified by holding a stretched rubber band to your lips and relaxing it.

Stretching of a rubber band is in some ways equivalent to the compression of an

ideal gas, and relaxation in equivalent to its expansion. Note that a compressed gas
also exhibits "elastic" properties, for instance inside an inflated car tire. The fact that
stretching is equivalent to compression may seem somewhat counter-intuitive, but it
makes sense if rubber is viewed as a one-dimensional gas. Stretching reduces the
"space" available to each section of chain.
Vulcanization of rubber creates more disulfide bonds between chains so it
makes each free section of chain shorter. The result is that the chains tighten more
quickly for a given length of strain. This increases the elastic force constant and
makes rubber harder and less extendable.

When cooled below the glass transition temperature, the quasi-fluid chain
segments "freeze" into fixed geometries and the rubber abruptly loses its elastic
properties, though the process is reversible. This is a property it shares with most
elastomers. At very cold temperatures rubber is actually rather brittle; it will break
into shards when struck. This critical temperature is the reason that winter tires use
a softer version of rubber than normal tires. The failing rubber seals that contributed
to the cause of the space shuttle Challenger disaster were thought to have cooled
below their critical temperature. The disaster happened on an unusually cold day.

Synthetic rubber

Synthetic rubber is made through the polymerization of a variety of monomers

to produce polymers. These form part of a broad study covered by polymer science
and rubber technology. Its scientific name is polyisoprene.

Synthetic rubber is any type of artificially made polymeric material that acts
as an elastomer. An elastomer is a material with the mechanical (or material)
property that it can undergo much more elastic deformation under stress than most
materials and still return to its previous size without permanent deformation.
Synthetic rubber serves as a substitute for natural rubber in many cases, especially
when improved material properties are needed.

Natural rubber coming from latex is mostly polymerized isoprene with a small
percentage of impurities in it. This will limit the range of properties available to it.
Also, there are limitations on the proportions of cis and trans double bonds resulting
from methods of polymerizing natural latex. This also limits the range of properties
available to natural rubber, although addition of sulfur and vulcanization are used to
improve the properties.

However, synthetic rubber can be made from the polymerization of a variety

of monomers including isoprene (2-methyl-1,3-butadiene), 1,3-butadiene,
chloroprene (2-chloro-1,3-butadiene), and isobutylene (methylpropene) with a small
percentage of isoprene for cross-linking. Furthermore, these and other monomers
can be mixed in various desirable proportions to be copolymerized for a wide range
of physical, mechanical, and chemical properties. The monomers can be produced
pure and addition of impurities or additives can be controlled by design to give
optimal properties. Polymerization of pure monomers can be better controlled to
give a desired proportion ofcis and trans double bonds.

An urgent need for synthetic rubber that is derived from widely distributed
feedstocks grew out of the expanded use of motor vehicles, and particularly motor
vehicle tires, starting in the 1890s. Political problems that resulted from great
fluctuations in the cost of natural rubber led to enactment of the Stevenson Act in
1921. This act essentially created a cartel which supported rubber prices by
regulating production (see OPEC). By 1925 the price of natural rubber had increased
to the point that companies such as DuPont were exploring methods of producing
synthetic rubber to compete with natural rubber. In the case of Dupont the effort lead
to the discovery of Neoprene which is a synthetic rubber that is too expensive to be
used in tires, but has some very desirable properties that make it possible to use
rubber in applications that would be unsuitable for natural rubber.


Vulcanization, or curing of rubber, is a chemical process in which

individual polymer molecules are linked to other polymer molecules by atomic
bridges. The end result is that the springy rubber molecules become cross-linked to
a greater or lesser extent. This makes the bulk material harder, much more durable
and also more resistant to chemical attack. It also makes the surface of the material
smoother and prevents it from sticking to metal or plastic chemical catalysts. This
heavily cross-linked polymer has strong covalent bonds, with strong forces between
the chains, and is therefore an insoluble and infusible, thermosetting polymer or
thermoset. The process is named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

Reason for vulcanizing

Uncured natural rubber will begin to deteriorate within a few days, gradually
breaking down into a wet crumbly mess. The process of perishing partly consists
of proteins being broken down (much as milk proteins do) and also of the large
rubber molecules breaking up as they oxidize in the air due to oxygen molecules
attacking the double bonds.

Rubber that has been inadequately vulcanized also may perish, but more
slowly. The process of perishing is encouraged by long exposure to sunlight, and
especially to ultraviolet radiation.


Vulcanization is generally considered to be an irreversible process (see

below), similar to other thermosets and must be contrasted strongly with
thermoplastic processes (the melt-freeze process) which characterize the behaviour
of most modern polymers. This irreversible cure reaction defines cured rubber
compounds as thermoset materials, which do not melt on heating, and places them
outside the class of thermoplastic materials (like polyethylene and polypropylene).
This is a fundamental difference between rubbers and thermoplastics, and sets the
conditions for their applications in the real world, their costs, and the economics of
their supply and demand.

Usually, the actual chemical cross-linking is done with sulfur, but there are
other technologies, including peroxide-based systems. The combined cure package
in a typical rubber compound comprises the cure agent itself, (sulfur or peroxide),
together with accelerators and retarding agents.

Along the rubber molecule, there are a number of sites which are attractive to
sulfur atoms. These are called cure sites. During vulcanization the eight-membered
ring of sulfur breaks down in smaller parts with varying numbers of sulfur atoms.
These parts are quite reactive. At each cure site on the rubber molecule, one or more
sulfur atoms can attach, and from there a sulfur chain can grow until it eventually
reaches a cure site on another rubber molecule. These sulfur bridges are typically
between two and ten atoms long. Contrast this with typical polymer molecules in
which the carbon backbone is many thousands of atomic units in length. The number
of sulfur atoms in a sulfur crosslink has a strong influence on the physical properties
of the final rubber article. Short sulfur crosslinks, with just one or two sulfur atoms
in the crosslink, give the rubber a very good heat resistance. Crosslinks with higher
number of sulfur atoms, up to six or seven, give the rubber very good dynamic
properties but with lesser heat resistance. Dynamic properties are important for
flexing movements of the rubber article, e.g., the movement of a side-wall of a
running tire. Without good flexing properties these movements will rapidly lead to
formation of cracks and, ultimately, to failure of the rubber article. It is very flexible
and water resistant.

Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, as initially

produced, consists of polymers of the organic compound isoprene, with minor
impurities of other organic compounds plus water. Malaysia is one of the a leading
producers of rubber. Forms of polyisoprene that are used as natural rubbers are
classified as elastomers. Natural rubber is used by many manufacturing companies
for the production of rubber products. Currently, rubber is harvested mainly in the
form of the latex from the para rubber tree or others. The latex is a sticky,
milky colloiddrawn off by making incisions into the bark and collecting the fluid in
vessels in a process called "tapping". The latex then is refined into rubber ready for
commercial processing. Natural rubber is used extensively in many applications and
products, either alone or in combination with other materials. In major areas latex is
allowed to coagulate in the collection cup. The coagulated lumps are collected and
processed in to dry forms for marketing. In most of its useful forms, it has a
large stretch ratio and high resilience, and is extremely waterproof.

Natural Rubber is produced from the crop harvested from rubber plantations
both in the latex form as well as in the field coagulum form. Latex is a milky white
dispersion of rubber in water and field coagulum is the auto coagulated latex on the
tapping panel (tree lace) and the collection cups (shell scrap and cup lumps). Both
the latex and field coagulum harvested from rubber plantations being highly
susceptible to degradation by contamination on keeping, have to be processed into
marketable forms that will allow safe storage and marketing. The most important
forms in which natural rubber is processed and marketed are Sheets (RSS1 to RSS5),
Crepes (Pale Latex Crepes; Estate Brown Crepes; Thin Brown Crepes; Thick
Blanket Crepes; Flat Bark Crepes; Pure Smoked Blanket Statistics Indian Rubber
Industry Natural Rubber crepe), Block rubber, Technically specified (SMR, SIR,
STR, ISNR), Preserved latex concentrates. Among these forms/types, the first three
are in the dry form and almost 90% of the total natural rubber produced in the world
is at present marketed in these 3 forms. Sheet rubber and block rubber are the
dominant types of dry natural rubber available in the world market and this
dominance reduced the number of grades used in any volume to the 10-15 within
these types. In 1909, a team headed by Fritz Hofmann, working at the Bayer
laboratory in Elberfeld, Germany, succeeded in polymerizing methyl isoprene,
thereby creating the first synthetic rubber. The first rubber polymer synthesized from
butadiene was created by Sergei Vasiljevich Lebedev in 1910.. In 1935, German
chemists synthesized the first of a series of synthetic rubbers known as Buna rubbers.
These were copolymers, meaning the polymers were made up from two monomers
in alternating sequence. One such Buna rubber, known as GRS (Government Rubber
Styrene), is a copolymer of butadiene and styrene, was the basis for U.S.


Compared to vulcanized rubber, uncured rubber has relatively few uses. It is

used for cements; for adhesive, insulating, and friction tapes; and for crepe rubber
used in insulating blankets and footwear. Vulcanized rubber, on the other hand, has
numerous applications. Resistance to abrasion makes softer kinds of rubber valuable
for the treads of vehicle tires and conveyor belts, and makes hard rubber valuable
for pump housings and piping used in the handling of abrasive sludge.

The flexibility of rubber is often used in hoses, tires, and rollers for a wide
variety of devices ranging from domestic clothes wringers to printing presses; its
elasticity makes it suitable for various kinds of shock absorbers and for specialized
machinery mountings designed to reduce vibration. Being relatively impermeable to
gases, rubber is useful in the manufacture of articles such as air hoses, balloons,
balls, and cushions. The resistance of rubber to water and to the action of most fluid
chemicals has led to its use in rainwear, diving gear, and chemical and medicinal
tubing, and as a lining for storage tanks, processing equipment, and railroad tank
cars. Because of their electrical resistance, soft rubber goods are used as insulation
and for protective gloves, shoes, and blankets; hard rubber is used for articles such
as telephone housings, parts for radio sets, meters, and other electrical instruments.
The coefficient of friction of rubber, which is high on dry surfaces and low on wet
surfaces, leads to the use of rubber both for power-transmission belting and for
water-lubricated bearings in deep-well pumps.

Problems in Natural Rubber

In recent years, natural rubber production in India is facing sharp decline.

Currently, India is worlds fifth largest natural rubber producer and fourth largest
consumer behind China, the US and Japan. In 2012, however, India was on 4th rank
after Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Before that India ranked third on the
production table after Thailand and Indonesia. The major reason for fall in
production includes:

A serious fall in the productivity per hectare of rubber

Constant fall in prices of natural rubber, coupled with high labour cost has
forced many of the growers (75 per cent small and marginal farmers) to keep away
from tapping

Further, this industry is marred by several problems such as:

Conflict of interests of Rubber Growers and Tyre Companies. The unrestricted

massive imports by larger tyre companies pushed down domestic demand; however
at the same time; MSME and other small industries which depend on domestic
supply of natural rubber demand for urgent measures.
Other reasons including high input costs; bizarre duty structure, cheap imports and
signing of Free Trade Agreements with countries from which import of finished
rubber products to India is encouraged.

The trees will drip latex for about four hours, stopping as latex coagulates
naturally on the tapping cut, thus blocking the latex tubes in the bark. Tappers
usually rest and have a meal after finishing their tapping work, then start collecting
the liquid "field latex" at about midday. Some trees will continue to drip after the
collection and this leads to a small amount of "cup lump" which is collected at the
next tapping. The latex that coagulates on the cut is also collected as "tree lace". Tree
lace and cup lump together account for 1020% of the dry rubber produced. Latex
that drips onto the ground, "earth scrap", is also collected periodically for processing
of low-grade product.

Field coagula

Mixed field coagula.

Cup lump is the coagulated material found in the collection cup when the
tapper next visits the tree to tap it again. It arises from latex clinging to the walls of
the cup after the latex was last poured into the bucket, and from late-dripping latex
exuded before the latex-carrying vessels of the tree become blocked. It is of higher
purity and of greater value than the other three types.

Tree lace is the coagulum strip that the tapper peels off the previous cut before
making a new cut. It usually has higher copper and manganese contents than cup
lump. Both copper and manganese are pro-oxidants and can lower the physical
properties of the dry rubber.

Smallholders lump is produced by smallholders who collect rubber from

trees far away from the nearest factory. Many Indonesian smallholders, who farm
paddies in remote areas, tap dispersed trees on their way to work in the paddy fields
and collect the latex (or the coagulated latex) on their way home. As it is often
impossible to preserve the latex sufficiently to get it to a factory that processes latex
in time for it to be used to make high quality products, and as the latex would anyway
have coagulated by the time it reached the factory, the smallholder will coagulate it
by any means available, in any container available. Some smallholders use small
containers, buckets etc., but often the latex is coagulated in holes in the ground,
which are usually lined with plastic sheeting. Acidic materials and fermented fruit
juices are used to coagulate the latex a form of assisted biological coagulation.
Little care is taken to exclude twigs, leaves, and even bark from the lumps that are
formed, which may also include tree lace collected by the smallholder.

Earth scrap is the material that gathers around the base of the tree. It arises
from latex overflowing from the cut and running down the bark of the tree, from rain
flooding a collection cup containing latex, and from spillage from tappers buckets
during collection. It contains soil and other contaminants, and has variable rubber
content, depending on the amount of contaminants mixed with it. Earth scrap is
collected by the field workers two or three times a year and may be cleaned in a
scrap-washer to recover the rubber, or sold off to a contractor who will clean it and
recover the rubber. It is of very low quality and under no circumstances should it be
included in block rubber or brown crepe.


Removing coagulum from coagulating troughs.

The latex will coagulate in the cups if kept for long. The latex has to be
collected before coagulation. The collected latex, "field latex", is transferred into
coagulation tanks for the preparation of dry rubber or transferred into air-tight
containers with sieving for ammoniation. Ammoniation is necessary to preserve the
latex in a colloidal state for longer periods of time.

Latex is generally processed into either latex concentrate for manufacture of

dipped goods or it can be coagulated under controlled, clean conditions using formic
acid. The coagulated latex can then be processed into the higher-grade, technically
specified block rubbers such as SVR 3L or SVR CV or used to produce Ribbed
Smoke Sheet grades.

Naturally coagulated rubber (cup lump) is used in the manufacture of TSR10 and
TSR20 grade rubbers. The processing of the rubber for these grades is a size
reduction and cleaning process to remove contamination and prepare the material
for the final stage of drying.

The dried material is then baled and palletized for storage and shipment in various
methods of transportation.


Natural rubber latex is shipped from factories in south-west Asia, South

America, and North Africa to destinations around the world. As the cost of natural
rubber has risen significantly, the shipping methods which offer the lowest cost per
unit of weight are preferred. Depending on the destination, warehouse availability,
and transportation conditions, some methods are more suitable to certain buyers than
others. In international trade, latex rubber is mostly shipped in 20-foot ocean
containers. Inside the ocean container, various types of smaller containers are used
by factories to store latex rubber.

Terms of Reference
Consolidation of list of companies in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil
Nadu and Punjab with regard to tyre and non-tyre including specific sub-sectors:

To analyse the entire sector and its characteristics in terms of available sub
sectors, contribution to the industry, demand and supply factors in terms of
Manpower availability in the sector: Skills available Vs. Skills required
The number of resources existing vs. required across all job roles in the
company across the selected states sub sector wise.
Identifying gaps with regard to present quality of manpower across all job
roles in the companies across the selected states.
Demographic trends of employment employment concentration city wise
across the states.
To understand the sub-sector wise current employment records both direct
and indirect jobs.
To understand the interdependency and level of commonness in sub sectors
profiles and availability of cross functional workforce requirement in sub

ii. Training capacity available in the selected states

Number of students being trained by the available institutes and infrastructure

available with them.
Gap analysis with respect to quality of manpower being trained and skills
required by the industry.

The production of rubber and rubber products is a large and diverse industry.
Natural rubber, obtained from plantations in Africa and Asia, accounts for only about
25% of the rubber used in industry. Synthetic alternatives, developed during World
War II, are the primary sources of raw materials today. Health hazards in synthetic
rubber production are primary related to exposure to monomers. An excess incidence
of leukemia has been observed in styrene/butadiene rubber production, attributed to
exposure to 1,3-butadiene. Excesses of cancer and respiratory disease have been
reported, although specific causative agents are rarely identified. Exposures have
varied greatly over the years, based on changes in materials used, work practices,
and ventilation. In modern industry, exposures to noise, skin and respiratory irritants,
and ergonomic stressors remain important. The tire industry, in particular, has been
studied extensively over the past 50 years.
Rubber industry is more than 100 years old. Industrial rubber industry is
dominated by one major product tires. Tires are used in large numbers on bicycles,
trucks, aircrafts, and automobiles. Automobile tires, inflatable rafts, conveyor belts,
rain coats and waterproof cloth tents are produced by impregnating fabrics with
rubber, using calendaring process. Molding is another important process in the tire
production. Tires are the principal product of industrial rubber industry. It accounts
for approximately three-fourth of total rubber tonnage.
Production of rubber goods comprises of two stages- first stage is the
production of rubber, either by the natural rubber (which is an agricultural crop) or
from the petroleum products. Second stage is processing of the rubber so produced
into the finished goods form. Processing of rubber into the finished goods like tires
and other products is usually designated as rubber industry. Synthetic rubbers are
produced from petrochemicals by polymerization method.
Rapidly growing automotive sector in developing economies and increased
demand for high-performance tires, sealing products, and tire adhesive are expected
to contribute to the growth of the global industrial rubber market. As on date, Asia
Pacific is the largest producer and consumer of industrial rubber, with its tire sector
exhibiting promising growth rate. Manufacturers have shifted their production
facilities to emerging economies, due to the low labour and operating costs.
In the industrial rubber industry, construction market is estimated to post the
strongest gain during the forecast period. Other construction-related products like
rubber roofing are projected to register the healthy growth. Mechanical goods is
expected to account for the largest share of total demand. Suppliers of hose and
belts will gain benefits from increased consumer demand of the durable goods,
particularly machinery and equipment.
Industrial Rubber Market: Drivers & Restraints
Growing automotive industry, rising construction output and manufacturing
activities are some of the key factors driving the growth of the industrial rubber
Volatility of the oil prices, environmental concerns and associated government
regulations, limited number of suppliers and increasing threat from the substitutes
are probable factors negatively impacting the growth of the industrial rubber
Industrial Rubber Market: Segmentation
The global industrial rubber market is broadly classified on the basis of
product type, market and geographies.
Based on product type, the global industrial rubber market is segmented into:
Conveyor belts
Sealing products
Based on market, the global industrial rubber market is segmented into:
Industrial Rubber Market: Overview
With rising automotive sales, growing population, increasing disposable income
and rising urbanization the need for industrial rubber products are increasing. The
global industrial rubber market is expected to expand at a promising CAGR during
the forecast period (2015-2025).
Industrial Rubber Market: Region-wise Outlook
The global industrial rubber market is expected to register a double-digit
CAGR for the forecast period. Depending on geographic regions, global industrial
rubber market is segmented into seven key regions: North America, South America,
Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Asia Pacific, Japan, and Middle East & Africa. As
of 2015, North America dominated the global industrial rubber market in terms of
market revenue followed by Europe. Asia Pacific & Japan are projected to expand
at a substantial growth and will contribute to the global industrial rubber market
value exhibiting a robust CAGR during the forecast period 2015.
Industrial Rubber Market: Key Players
Some of the key market participants in global industrial rubber market are
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Greenville Industrial Rubber & Gasket Co,
Industrial Rubber & Gasket Inc, Continental AG, Bridgestone Corp, Yokohama
Rubber Company Ltd, Toyo Tire and Rubber Co. Ltd.
The research report presents a comprehensive assessment of the market and
contains thoughtful insights, facts, historical data, and statistically supported and
industry-validated market data. It also contains projections using a suitable set of
assumptions and methodologies.
The report covers exhaustive analysis on:
Market Segments
Market Dynamics
Market Size
Supply & Demand
Current Trends/Issues/Challenges
Competition & Companies involved
Value Chain
Regional analysis includes
North America (U.S., Canada)
Latin America (Mexico. Brazil)
Western Europe (Germany, Italy, France, U.K, Spain, Nordic countries, Belgium,
Netherlands, Luxembourg)
Eastern Europe (Poland, Russia)
Asia Pacific (China, India, ASEAN, Australia & New Zealand)
Middle East and Africa (GCC, S. Africa, N. Africa)
The report is a compilation of first-hand information, qualitative and quantitative
assessment by industry analysts, inputs from industry experts and industry
participants across the value chain. The report provides in-depth analysis of parent
market trends, macro-economic indicators and governing factors along with market
attractiveness as per segments. The report also maps the qualitative impact of
various market factors on market segments and geographies.
Report Highlights:
Detailed overview of parent market
Changing market dynamics in the industry
In-depth market segmentation
Historical, current and projected market size in terms of volume and value
Recent industry trends and developments
Competitive landscape
Strategies of key players and products offered
Potential and niche segments, geographical regions exhibiting promising growth
A neutral perspective on market performance
Must-have information for market players to sustain and enhance their market

Company Profile of Emirates Rubber Factory- Founder of R.

Elayaperumal and CEO - E. Flora Emirates Rubber Factory. The company
Establishment in 2001. This is an unique and specialized factory to fight against
nation threat about enormous heterogeneous waste of tyres. Billions of used tyres
now reside in landfills and illegal dumps causing pollution from release of toxic
chemical which is hazardous to human beings. ERF is recycling used tyres, which
have become a huge, accumulated waste and we help the Government and the
environment by converting this enormous waste into reusable material. Our raw
material and out put is only tyres and we shred these used whole tyres into tire
granulate and crumb rubber (Powder).

Our company is now ready to become a major force for friendly environment
in the global rubber industry. We are the authorized contractor of RAK Municipality
for their dump yard of tyres. Hopefully, our company will be accredited as GREEN
INDUSTRY BY UAE Government as our goal is to reduce the pollution of the
environment. ERF is equipped with the State of art machinery to shred and produce
rubber crumb of 7000 MT per annum.

Welcome to ERF Rubber, a market leader in manufacturing world-class rubber

products and moulded rubber components. For more than four decades, we have
served a large number of reputed clients from automotive, engineering, chemical,
healthcare and other industrial segments and gained in valuable experience. We
remain dedicated to our long-standing mission of delivering high-quality products
on time and at a competitive price.
The company makes use of leading-edge technology to manufacture a wide
range of products such as O-rings, hydraulic & pneumatic seals, gaskets, grommets,
bushes, bellows, flat washers, s olid tyres, b oots, d iaphragms, aprons, cots etc. in
Nitrile, Polyurethane, Viton, Silicon, Neoprene, EPDM and other polymers as
required by our clients. We also manufacture rubber products and components as per
client specifications.

ERF Rubber Industries became functional under the able leadership of Mr.
K.L. Jain. Production started in a small, rented place with a workforce of only five
people. A period of rapid growth followed and within a short span, the company
expanded manifold in all aspects. At present, a team of more than 30 highly-skilled
professionals work dedicatedly to meet the stringent norms set by the company in
accordance with the requirements of our valued clients.

The high-precision, international-quality rubber products and efficacious

services of ERF have helped us build an impressive client base across the country.
We have carved a niche in the global market as well, working in tandem with reputed
export houses and catering to the quality-conscious markets of Europe and the USA.
The company is also exploring new markets worldwide in order to expand its
business prospects further.
Vision And Mission:


To work as a team and provide a encouraging working environment.

To provide high quality products that combine performance with value pricing,
while establishing a successful relationship with our customers and our


To stay ahead of the competition by continuous improvement in our services.

Super Springs values its employees, suppliers and its customers and is
committed to cultivate an environment of mutual trust and respect and to
provide necessary resources to achieve its goals
ERF Limited Profile:

Corporate Identification Number : U17111TZ2001PTC013446

Company Name: ERF Rubber Industry

Company Status: Active

ROC: ROC- madurai

Registration Number: 13446

Company Category: Company limited by Shares

Company Sub Category: Non-govt company

Class of Company: Private

Date of Incorporation: 01 September 2005

Age of Company: 13 years, 8 month

Activity: Rubber manufacturing

Company Founder R. Elayaperumal

Managing Director E.Flora

Total Employees 750

HR Manager D.Elayaraj