Interview: Heidi Beers and Sjaak Bensink, Teijin Aramid

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Please tell us about Teijin Aramid’s environmentally friendly alternative to bio-based materials.

SB: Common opinion is that bio-based materials offer better eco-performance and are cheaper, and for this reason, many companies do not start developments using our Twaron aramid fiber, which is a tire reinforcement material. However it is very lightweight, which is important for the development of low rolling resistance tires; it’s strong; it offers better dimensional stability; and it is resistant to heat. Also, less raw material is required for reinforcement and therefore, it is cheaper to use over the total value chain.

How are you developing the material?

SB: Fine tuning is mostly done by twisting and dipping the material. We have our own laboratory with twisting and dipping machines and also tire test equipment such as fatigue test machines. We can also make it hybrid and add other materials. Customers typically have different requests regarding the stress-strain curve, adhesion or fatigue, for example.

What does a development process entail?

HB: In developing future ‘green’ tires, many companies need to understand fully how to go from kg to kg function. We often see that companies only look at ecoprofile for one kilogram of a material and not the function. We quantify the total energy and material savings that can be achieved by using our Twaron solutions. Together with our customers, we quantify the environmental impact of our solutions in the chain and compare this with mainstream alternatives. We do this through our eco-efficiency approach.

Important aspects that are taken into consideration are the following: materials; how much is needed of each material; and how long and how well these materials function in use.

Together with the value chain partners and customers, we carry out this analysis to develop business cases, focusing on the differences. This analysis is an iterative process: starting simply with a rough calculation, validating assumptions leading to overall insights, and comparing the use of an aramid-based solution with a mainstream solution. Teijin Aramid has conducted many such analyses, often finding that environmental performance and cost savings in the value chain go hand in hand.

In the case of Twaron vs biobased material, we consider eco-profiles in the calculations of the tires and the data that we obtain is verified by the biggest eco profiler (Thinkstep, with the Gabi database for ecoprofiles) in Europe.

Comparison of performance parameters of tires containing rayon, a Twaron hybrid and Twaron; Twaron offers clear benefits

June 20, 2016

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the ground-breaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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