A new federal rule on emission control of hazardous air pollutants demonstrates two facts: government and industry can achieve their goals by working together, and the Rubber Manufacturers Association knows how to do its job.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's final rule for Maximum Achievable Control Technology was several years in the making, and covers a myriad of processes. Among those is rubber-to-metal bonding.
The RMA got involved in standards-making activity right at the beginning. It recognized the importance of getting rubber-to-metal bonding listed as a separate subcategory, because parts made using the process-such as those in automotive components-have stringent performance requirements and can be critical to the operation of a product. A one-size-fits-all guideline just wouldn't do.
Because of the RMA's efforts, which included arranging for the EPA to visit two rubber-to-metal bonding operations, rubber companies will have options in meeting the rules, which existing plants have to adhere to within three years. Rubber processors can choose from using water-borne adhesives rather than solvent-based systems; they can continue to use solvent-based systems in conjunction with thermal oxidizers; or they can use a hybrid system of both technologies.
In this case, the EPA established the goal for the new regulation, but didn't push one solution down the industry's throat. That's the way regulatory affairs should work.