AKRON—A maker of machinery utilized in the tire, rubber and plastics industries is celebrating its 140th anniversary by doing something to help ensure its future—marketing a new patented technology for calendering equipment used in tire production.
Rodolfo Comerio s.r.l.—based in Solbiate Olana, Italy—is the oldest company in the world manufacturing calendering equipment for rubber, according to Nicola Fedele, the firm's sales and marketing manager.
And while the machinery maker has planned a gathering at its factory for workers before Christmas and held a special event at an exhibition in Milan with customers and suppliers, he said the new calendering technology is an even more appropriate way to mark the milestone.
The new calendering technology reduces the thickness of the sheet and provides stronger penetration of the rubber into the textile and steel material, reducing cost by cutting down scrap, according to Fedele. He discussed the project and the company during the recent International Tire Exhibition & Conference, held recently in Akron.
Gasparino Locarno, Rodolfo's sales manager for the rubber industry, said the patented know-how facilitates shifting of the roll in the calender. It provides for a smooth approach to place the roll in the best position for the highest accuracy.
The Italian firm said the new technology—under development for about the past 1½ years and already in use by some customers—will be applied in all calenders for the production of material in tire processing where the best accuracy and highest repeatability are required. The machine has a first adjustment device that comprises a position control system and is able to displace a movable working roll, according to an adjustment direction, Fedele said. The roll can be moved from or toward the other working roll to adjust the gap.
Consequently the thrust between the counter-roll and the working roll is regulated to obtain the desired plasticization and calendering of the elastomer. It is aimed at manufacturing elastomer-coated laminated products such as rubberized fabric and steel cord.
Fedele said the technology already is in use in several calenders that have resulted in successful production for the customer. He said there has been good feedback on the product, and some customers even have asked if the technology can be retrofitted into existing calenders, but he said that's not possible as it's necessary to design in the needed space.
This evolution of Rodolfo's technology may open up some new markets for the Italian firm as well, as there is work underway to design a two-roll mill with a different method for shifting the rolls. Fedele said it will be ready for testing within the next several months, and will be for use with tires and compounds in general.