Back to Basics: Tyre Construction
If you are a regular follower of our blog posts, you may know far more about tyres than you did before. However, do you know the basics and exactly how tyres are made? The manufacturing process of car tyres is fairly complex thanks to the various different components that all need precise construction. This is to ensure each tyre gives the best performance possible for that particular brand and tyre type.
If you are tyre savvy, you’ll know all the basic components of a tyre, including beads, belts, ply and so on. However, very few are actually aware of how the construction process actually works. In this blog post, we will be taking it back to basics with an in depth look into tyre construction.
What goes into tyre?
To make up a tyre there are around up to 30 “ingredients” in any one tyre blend. This means that each tyre can be constructed for its own individual needs, whether it is a premium or budget tyre and what they need to specialise in. For example, grip, control or noise reduction.
A tyre’s typical construction uses a variety of several rubber compounds. These are a mix of natural rubber and synthetic rubber, as well as carbon black and silica. However, these vary depending on each construction’s needs. What makes each tyre’s unique properties is in fact the compounds that are all melted down together which creates the black sticky rubber compound. Once this has been created, the rubber is left to cool ready for the next step of the process.
Once the tyre has cooled enough to the desired temperature, the tyre is taken to what is known as the mill. This mill cuts the rubber into strips. Whilst this process is happening, other elements are being prepared such as the sidewall. During the milling process is when the tyres structure and shape is formed with the strips that the mill has cut.
Generally, but depending on what type of tyre is being made, tyres are built from the inside out. This also depends on each manufacturer and how they decide to build their tyres. The strips (usually four per regular tyre) are laid into a tyre building machine to bring all the elements together. These are then glued together where sidewalls and beads are added. The machine that fixes these together expands and not only forces the tyre against the outer part of the machine, but also so the steam can heat the rubber to help the moulding process.
Once the build of the tyre is complete, it is left to cool down before being released . This is known as a ‘green tyre’ where it is technically a structured tyre, but it is not road ready yet.
Curing The Tyre
The nature of the tyre depends on the type of curing. However, typically the tyre is placed into a curing press which reheats the tyre enough to allow the tread blocks and manufacturers marks to be imprinted into the rubber. Once cured and pressed, the tyre is finally ready to be fitted. However, most manufacturers will give the finished tyre a final inspection before it is sent off to be fitted.
The overall product
Once you can understand the tyre building process, you can understand why tyres are priced at the costs they are. A lot of people are happy to overlook features and pay the cheapest price possible, however this is neither the best money saving option, as well as being a higher risk of lower safety levels that the cheaper tyres may offer. For the job that tyres do, it is important that you choose the right one for your vehicle and know the warning signs of when to get them checked and changed.