Rubber – A Critical Material
10th March, 2018
We have written about the importance of picking the right rubber for your project (https://www.aquasealrubber.co.uk/news/natural-synthetic-rubber/), we haven’t addressed the overall importance of rubber. While all of us that work in the industry have had this opinion of rubber for awhile but in September 2017, the European Commission listed rubber as a “critical raw material” (http://www.rubbernews.com/article/20180219/NEWS/180219947/natural-rubber-labeled-critical-material-by-european-union). A critical raw material is one that is defined as having a “high risk of a supply disruption and at the same time, with high economic importance to the EU economy.”
As rubber is involved in the manufacturing of so many products that affect so many industries, it’s easy to see why a disruption would be catastrophic, not just to the European rubber industry but globally. This is especially true as more developing countries develop their rubber industries and thus the demand for rubber as a raw material rises.
While it is fair to say that synthetic rubber can be used and may be preferable in some circumstances, it cannot be relied upon as a mass substitute for natural rubber. As illustrated in our article on the importance of picking the right rubber, the right type of rubber makes a difference between whether a product will be fit for purpose as well as whether it will have the longevity to be a quality product.
If there are concerns about the rubber supply being disrupted what can we do about it? Some rubber can be recycled, but this is not always possible nor an ideal solution. Recycled rubber is generally made into another product where shore hardness and tensility is not as much as a concern. An example of this is recycling used tires into rubber flooring and rubber tiles, often used outdoors in playgrounds and leisure areas.
As rubber can’t always be reused and recycled, an alternative solution is working with local manufacturers like Aquaseal Rubber who specialize in making custom rubber products. Working with companies that only make products that will be used and making sure that they are made right and fit for purpose will help minimize rubber waste. This means using the resource as wisely as possible, so that all manufacturers and customers can continue to access a natural resource that is critical to manufacturing and industry.
If you’re looking for a rubber company where product quality and customer service comes first, get in touch! (https://www.aquasealrubber.co.uk/contact/).