TOKYO—Bridgestone Corp. has announced the successful manufacture of passenger tires in which guayule natural rubber completely replaced traditional Hevea brasiliensis natural rubber.
The tires were built at Bridgestone's passenger tire operations in Rome early this summer, and later at Bridgestone headquarters in Tokyo, the company said Oct. 1.
In both batches, all of the tires' natural rubber components—including the tread, sidewall and bead filler—were made with 100 percent guayule natural rubber cultivated by Bridgestone at its Biorubber Research Center (BPRC) in Mesa, Ariz., the company said.
Bridgestone opened the Bridgestone Agro Operations Research Farm on a 281-acre plot in Eloy, Ariz., in September 2013, and the BPRC one year later, according to a Bridgestone press release. At the BPRC, it established in-house all the processes necessary for developing guayule rubber for use in tires, including research and development, experimental production and manufacturing, it said.
Guayule is a desert shrub native to Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. Bridgestone's research in guayule is part of its corporate goal of shifting to 100-percent renewable materials by 2050, it said.
This marks the second time this year a major tire maker has announced advances in using guayule rubber as a component in making tires.
In August, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and its research partner PanAridus L.L.C. hosted a ride-and-drive event in Texas demonstrating the performance of Cooper tires with some components made from guayule rubber.