HANOVER, Germany—Setting out to change an industry, especially one that can move as slowly as the tire sector does, can be a daunting task.
But that's what Continental A.G. and Kordsa Technik Teksil A.S. aimed to do when they unveiled in March at the Tire Technology Expo in Hanover that they had developed a sustainable adhesive technology for bonding textile reinforcing materials with rubber compounds.
Dubbed Cokoon, the technology initially is aimed at use in tire cord materials, but also could have uses in such mechanical rubber goods as hoses and conveyor belts, officials of the two firms said.
Conti and Kordsa are touting the development as a potential new standard in the tire industry, claiming that it eliminates the need for resorcinol and formaldehyde—two materials used in the dipping process used to treat the cords. Those two materials, in a combination some call the RFL glue, have been the industry standard for more than 80 years as the adhesive agent for reinforcing materials.
To try to establish Cokoon as the replacement standard for RFL, Conti and Kordsa, one of the global leaders in the tire reinforcement sector, are offering the development as an "open source" technology. With this concept, other tire makers and suppliers can access the bonding system technology without paying licensing fees as long as those companies in turn agree to make their patents concerning further advancement of the technology available to other partners free of charge via a licensing pool.
"What we are saying is come together and let's have a pool and let's supply an environmentally friendly solution together," said Devrim Oezaydin, global technology director of Izmit, Turkey-based Kordsa. "We can share improvements with all the parties together and we can transform the industry to a better and environmentally friendly world."
And thus far the idea is getting a good share of attention. Within weeks of the March announcement, the partners sent out non-disclosure agreements to more than 25 interested parties, Burak Ilgun, Kordsa market development manager, said in a joint presentation with Conti at the Future Tire Conference, held June 11-12 in Cologne, Germany.
Those seeking information on the technology and the open source platform included tire manufacturers, textile suppliers, converters and materials research groups, Ilgun said.
The need for change
Just getting to this point with a potential game changing technology in the tire industry where secrets are well-guarded and sharing is rare has been a long road.
The resorcinol, formaldehyde and latex dipping solution is a well-established technology that every tire maker and numerous technical goods makers have used for decades, according to Andreas Topp, Conti vice president of material and process development and industrialization.