||January 1, 2007
An increasing pressure on product prices and profit is forcing the rubber industry to be creative, also under the aspect of competition from low cost countries. Increasing material and energy cost as well as increasing wages for skilled labour is another factor, which forces the industry to consider different production methods. The rubber industry in general uses quite old production methods and equipment but still has to cope with increasing demands from customers. The paper discusses the various different approaches to maximize the productivity and profit, increase the quality and reduce rejects. One aspect is the reduction of waste by using cold runner systems. Another approach may be the automation of the molding process, which calls for investments in modern equipment, precision molds, automation and skilled labour to handle automated work cells. The third aspect discussed is the employment of expert systems and equipment, which provides the possibility for reduced cycle times to maximize the output of the machinery respectively allowing the use of smaller, less expensive machines and molds for the required production quantities. Based on a rubber-to-metal bonded bush the various options are discussed.