First road trials in the UK of Malaysia's 'Green' Tyres

EKOPRENA® tyres begin trials on UK coach company vehiclesEKOPRENA® tyres begin trials on UK coach company vehicles

Malaysia’s first EKOPRENA® experimental tyre to undergo commercial vehicle service trials in the UK was fitted to a South Mimms Travel coach on 3rd July at a handover ceremony at TARRC, Brickendonbury.

At the ceremony, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between MRB and South Mimms Travel, a bus and coach company based in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. The MoU provides cooperation by both parties in the development of environmentally friendly ‘green’ tyre technology and the in-service testing and evaluation of tyres produced using EKOPRENA®.

It is expected that the successful outcome of these trials will see the uptake of EKOPRENA® by global tyre manufacturers increase dramatically over coming years and, together with sales of Malaysia’s other new natural rubber-based rubbers, EKOPRENA®’s contribution to Gross National Income is predicted to reach RM1.3 billion by 2020.

The ceremony took place at MRB’s UK-based laboratory, the Tun Abdul Research Razak Centre (TARRC), in Hertford and was attended by the Chairman and Director General of the MRB, the Commercial Manager at South Mimms Travel, Mr David Ashdown, and other distinguished guests.

EKOPRENA® tyres begin trials on UK coach company vehicles
Above: The MRB Chairman YB Datuk Wira Hj Ahmad Hj Hamzah addressing the audience at the handover ceremony and the
           signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Malaysian Rubber Board and South Mimms Travel.

In a welcoming speech by the MRB Chairman YB Datuk Wira Hj Ahmad Hj Hamzah, the invited guests were told of the history of EKOPRENA®, or epoxidised natural rubber (ENR), that dates back several decades at TARRC. R&D at TARRC has demonstrated ENR’s suitability for tyre treads, when reinforced with silica, showing that it provides two sought after properties, exceptionally good rolling resistance and wet grip. Low rolling resistance is especially important in improving fuel economy. It is only in recent times that the economic, environmental and legislative climate for the use of ENR in tyres has become more favourable.

EKOPRENA® tyres begin trials on UK coach company vehicles
Above: The invited guests at the handover ceremony at Brickendonbury & Datuk Wira Hj Ahmad fitting the new EKOPRENA® tyre
           to the South Mimms Travel coach.

Guests heard from YB Datuk Wira how developmental work led to the establishment of a pilot plant at the MRB’s research centre in Malaysia and the production of two grades of ENR under the tradename EKOPRENA®. The signing of the technology transfer agreement between the MRB and two Malaysian companies, Felda Rubber Industries Sdn Bhd and MARDEC Berhad, in October 2010, and the production of EKOPRENA® on a commercial scale will ensure anticipated demand can be met in the future.

For further information please contact Gail Reader, greader@tarrc.co.uk

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July 2012
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