For many people who have a car, it’s unlikely that a lot of thought has gone into how the car was actually made, or more specifically where the tyres are made. Tyres are arguably the most important part of a car, although you can’t have one part without the other. They are the only point of contact that cars have with the road making it vital that they are durable, and most importantly, safe. Read on to find out how tyres are made from the origins of the material used to make a tyre, to how it moulded into the perfect rounded shape that is fitted onto a wheel.
Firstly, what is the material used for making tyres?
Tyres are made of different types of rubber, fillers and other materials. These are all mixed together to create a black compound to be sent off for milling. At the mill the rubber, now cooled, is cut into strips to create the structure of the tyre itself. It is at this part of the process that other parts of the tyre are prepared. Some of these are coated in a different type of rubber. To start forming the tyre that looks closer to how it will look when finished, the steel belts, ply, tread, steel belts and other textile elements are done in a tyre-building machine to create what is called a ‘green tyre’
This green tyre is vulcanised in a curing machine with hot moulds. This causes all of the parts to be compressed together resulting in the final tyre which will be x-rayed and inspected to make sure it fits the required safety standards and doesn’t have any faults.
As mentioned in the short summary above of the tyre-making process, a tyre is comprised of many different parts of which I will describe below.
First, there is the ply. Plies are fibre cords that are coated with rubber used to create the tyre’s skeleton. A carcass play is put on top of this inner liner to give the tyre strength and elasticity.
Next, there are the beads which are high-strength braided steel coated in rubber. These are used to seal the space between the tyre and the wheel’s rim.
In order to strengthen the tyres even more, steel belts made of steel wires coated in rubber, are put around the tyre.
Extra-thick rubber, called the sidewall, is used to give the tyre lateral stability and a small, bevelled edge called the shoulder is designed so that your tyre can be driven around corners efficiently. The tread, which is where the rubber meets the road, provides the tyre with the necessary grip and cushioning. There are grooves all around the tyres to allow it to not be affected by water, mud and snow.
Hopefully this has given you enough of an insight into how tyres are made. As you have seen, rubber is a vital component throughout. If you are interested in finding out more about UK Rubber Moulding, I recommend that you visit Meadex.co.uk.