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ATRCâ€™S GREEN RELEVANCE
As global concern increases for environment, the second Asian Tyre and Rubber Conference (ATRC 2013) to be held in Chennai has greater relevance. It will be a forum to generate ideas and discussions among the leading personalities of the tyre industry, the supporting raw material suppliers and critical consumers and product users, says renowned technologist and consultant Zachariah George, who is the Chairman of the ATRC Organising Committee
What is it that drove the second Asian Tyre and Rubber Conference (ATRC 2013) towards the â€śGreenâ€ť goal?
The resounding success of the first and pioneering effort of the ATRC 2011 in Chennai, has encouraged us to offer a better and more relevant need based current theme for deliberations at the next ATRC 2013. The global concern for our environment and the dramatic climatic changes that we are observing, with the consequent devastation that it has impacted in some regions, has created an awareness in all of us to promote the aspect of â€śGreenâ€ť for the survival of our planet. It was hence thought appropriate that ATRC 2013 should prioritise and highlight this objective.
What in your opinion are the major changes that tyre industry has had to adopt in the current scenario when going green is not an option but an imperative?
The tyre industry has been involved in developing technologies to minimise emissions by reduced rolling resistance, which have now been commercialised. However, this is confined, currently, to limited passenger tyres only. With the regulatory legislation and laws on the anvil which are being proposed and enforced, the industry has to take a broader perspective to cover the entire product range. All stages of the manufacturing processes have to be viewed critically for possible energy conservation and eliminating possible emissions harmful to the environment. The rolling resistance, in all brands of tyres including commercial vehicle tyres, will eventually have to conform to the standards.
Making technology â€śgreenâ€ť is a costly task. Do you think tyre companies will still be able to achieve optimum productivity and profitability even after meeting sustainability demands?
The cost of development of these technologies will pose a drain on resources but as the old adage states, â€śnecessity is the mother of invention.â€ť Methods of operational cost reduction, by productivity, efficiency and waste reduction improvements will offset the escalation in investment costs.
While the new thrust can bring about dramatic changes in tyre design and production technology, will it be able to do the same in the area of end of life tyre management?
Recycling and waste management are techniques essential for conservation of materials and the primary input to cost reduction. End of life tyres need to be converted into a product suitable for recycling. Currently, conversion into rubber crumbs and reclaims are widely practiced now, but we need a system for de-vulcanization of the end of life tyres entirely, so that it will be possible to incorporate without adversely affecting product quality or performance. Equipment for converting the end of life tyres efficiently into rubber crumbs or rubber dust are currently available but we need to develop a process for converting this into a reusable and accepted product.
What in your opinion can this enhanced focus on green technology do to the rubber industry?
The enhanced focus on Green Technology will eventually affect the entire rubber industry. It will not be confined to the product manufacturing sector only, but will encompass the Raw Material supplier industry as well. They will also be required to contribute to the protection of the environment as part commitment to the industry. The Natural Rubber industry has already taken a lead in establishing a significant contribution to the carbon footprint. Need to reduce emissions and energy efficiencies in the conversion processes of Natural Rubber also need to be established.
How is this finally going to benefit the tyre user? Will he get good tyres cheap?
The tyre user can expect, in the future, to be benefited by being able to get a product of improved quality and performance yielding better fuel cost savings. A lightweight tyre for reduction of energy losses may enable him to buy tyres at a cheaper price.
How much do you think ATRC 2013 can contribute to the Green cause?
The ATRC 2013 will provide a forum to generate ideas and discussions among the leading personalities of the tyre industry, the supporting raw material suppliers,Â equipment manufacturers, Automotive Manufacturers and the knowledgeable and critical consumers. The utopian green planet that we are contemplating can only be achieved by dedication and serious thought processes and hence the theme â€ś Innovations and Advancement in Technology: Road to a Green Planet.â€ť
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 July 2012 08:37|