Conveyor belts are commonly used for transporting a wide variety of materials. However, market drivers are progressively demanding larger size, higher strength and total length up to several kilometers, to increase transport volume and enhance
As a result, equipment costs and power consumption tend to increase, and investigations improving the characteristics of raw rubber are of great importance, with particular focus on the replacement of emulsion SBR with tailored SSBR at low total volatile organic compound content (TVOC).
To optimize formulations for this application, several types of SSBR are investigated, produced with batch or continuous technology, characterized by different molecular architecture and also containing functional groups. SSBR grades of different structure are compounded in binary blends for performance optimization. Processability in terms of mixing and extrusion is further discussed to provide an optimum compromise between performance (hysteresis, wear), compounding and shaping.
Besides the discussion in terms of raw polymers at reduced TVOC content, conveyor sustainability is further addressed through the replacement of fossil process oil with a bio-sourced plasticizer. A highly sustainable bio-refinery process oil is introduced, offering improved environmental footprint and a low unsaturation level to strongly reduce the interaction with the compounding ingredients, which typically affects traditional vegetable oils. The drop-in replacement of fossil reference oil is then tuned with only minor adjustments to the cure package.