"The problem is, your factories, if you try to tell them, 'Hey, put 20 more parts of silica in that compound,' they're going run you out of town."
With more silica in the mix, the processability of the compound becomes more of a challenge, he said, noting this typically would increase the number of mix passes.
"You may have a compound that's already going through the mixer three times with 80 parts of silica. If you try to add 20 more parts, it's going to have to go through the mixer at least one more time. And depending on how old your mixer is, you may have to go through even another time."
Which doesn't bode well for cost of production, energy consumption or efficiency.
"You have plants that are capacity constrained, and it's an expense. Every mix batch you add is an expense," Puhala said. "So, what we show is that if you use SureMix CO², you can get that extra 20 parts of silica in and actually get to a viscosity that's lower than what you started with.
"What you end up having is: you've increased the wet traction dramatically, you really haven't impacted your capacity at your plant because you're able to mix it and process it, and you've got the fuel economy of the 100-part compound," he added.
And it's all done through what's called hydrophobation.
"When you put silica into rubber, it's kind of like trying to mix oil into rubber. It doesn't want to be mixed in."
What SureMix does, he said, is it hyrophobates the silica, making its surface more like the rubber into which it is mixed.
"When you hydrophobate, you bring what's called the hysteresis down, which improves the fuel economy."
With SureMix, he said, PSG brings cost savings and efficiency to the mixing industry, which also results in improved and more sustainable products in the tire industry.
"SureMix products are sustainable in themselves in terms of their chemistry," Puhala said, noting the additive's composition is 100-percent biocarbon. But they're also sustainable in what they do for the rubber industry.
By improving the processability of silica-based compounds and increasing wet traction of tires, the additive brings higher efficiency and improved fuel economy to the mixing and tire industries.
"As the enabler, we're not only allowing our customers to use less energy—or decrease the amount of additional energy they need to use—the tire in use uses less energy."
Five-pass mixes without SureMix produce up to 2,600 metric tons of CO2, according to PSG's website. By adding SureMix, the number of passes can be reduced, eliminating up to 450 metric tons of CO2 production.
Likewise, the company also boasts energy reductions of up to 1,000 MWh per year due to fewer mix passes with SureMix.