Great week for TARRC at the IRC 2018 in KL, Malaysia

TARRC returned from a very successful and productive week at the International Rubber Conference 2018, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 4th - 6th September at the KLCC.

The International Rubber Conference 2018 (spearheaded by the Plastic and Rubber Institute Malaysia (PRIM)) was held concurrently with the International Rubber Glove Conference and Exhibition (IRGCE) 2018.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir addressed a large audience at the opening of the proceedings and urged the rubber industry to carry on with their research in product development to raise global usage of rubber as a commodity supplied by many small farmers in Malaysia.

Also present at the IRGCE 2018 were Primary Industries Minister the Honourable Madam Teresa Kok, Primary Industries Ministry Secretary General Datuk Zurinah Pawanteh, Malaysian Rubber Board Director General YH Dato’ Dr Zairossani Mohd Nor, Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC) Chief Executive Officer Low Yoke Kiew, Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) President Denis Low, PRIM President Pong Kai See and IRGCE 2018 Organising Chairman Lim Kwee Shyan.

We were delighted that we were able to join our colleagues from the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) on their Pavilion (E63) and also participate at the MRB Technical Workshop on Monday 3rd September for the Malaysian rubber industry. After the opening ceremony Teresa Kok visited the exhibition halls including the MRB Pavillion. TARRC was pleased that she was able to meet us on the stand and ask about our activities on behalf of the industry.

At the IRC conference TARRC’s Head of Engineering Dr Alan Muhr gave a plenary presentation on the first day titled ‘Rubber-to-metal Bonded Components: Attributes and Challenges - The failure of rubber products in service and methods to prolong the service life’.

Hamid Ahmadi, Deputy Director of Research of TARRC, and Paul Brown, Head of Advanced Materials, also presented papers on rubber anti-seismic systems and tyre wear.

Hamid presented a paper on an innovative rubber antiseismic system for earthquake protection of masonry infill. He reported that after the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake, 35% of the buildings inspected showed significant level of damage to confined masonry infill. Experimental results showed that the introduction of an innovative rubber joint in the wall reduces significantly the in-plane damage to the confined masonry and provide excellent out-of-plane performance in terms of strength and stiffness. During the course of his trip to Malaysia, Hamid Ahmadi also presented to Malaysian manufacturers  a range of innovative products that TARRC would wish to commercialise in 2019 through partnership with the Industry.

TARRC also sent out a press release announcing its partnership with Endurica aimed at serving developers working with elastomeric products that have durability requirements. The partnership expands the durability testing offerings commercially available at TARRC, and will provide users of Endurica’s durability simulation solutions a new source for material modelling parameters. TARRC will also host future Endurica training events and offer analysis services.

Paul’s presentation focussed on the difference between the standard laboratory abrasion tests and real-world service wear, illustrated by recent trials of an all-Ekoprena truck and bus tread compound. In the road trials, the Ekoprena tread compound performed slightly better than the control; in laboratory abrasion, it performed 70-80% better: why the difference? The presentation showed morphology changes observed within the top layer of the worn tread that were not observed in the standard laboratory test. The presentation ended by describing a modified laboratory test that did display similar changes to the rubber structure, however the duration of the test was days, rather than minutes. Ekoprena is the MRB’s carbon-capture low rolling resistance tyre rubber for the tyres of the future.

Several events took place on the MRB pavilion including the launch of the book ‘Rubber Process Technology – From Mixing to Manufacturing’ by the Chairman of the MRB, Mr Sankara Nair.

Two of the book's authors were able to be present at the launch, Dato’ Dr Kamarudin Ab-Malek, former CEO of TARRC, and Mr Colin Robinson, TARRC’s senior rubber technologist who is considered a manufacturing expert within the rubber industry. The third author Dr Alan Roberts is TARRC’s former Deputy Director of Research.

Mr Nair explained to the gathered invitees how the book has been produced as a point of reference for people already working in the rubber industry, as well as others who want to understand better how rubber compounds and components are produced. Using a combination of the acquired knowledge of the authors many years of experience in both the manufacturing industry and applied research, it explains the different processes involved from raw material selection through to the manufacture of rubber products. It also highlights some of the excellent work carried out by TARRC and prove to be an invaluable educational tool for younger scientists, technicians and engineers entering the rubber industry in the future.

The highlight of the week was TARRC’s 80th Anniversary celebration gathering where we were honoured to have dignitaries from the MRB and its Board, TARRC Board members, MREPC, MARGMA and the MRI.

Dato’ Dr Zairossani gave an encouraging speech to the audience highlighting the importance of TARRC’s R&D work over the decades to the industry and looked forward to this continuing in the future.

He then presented TARRC’s Deputy Director of Research Mr Hamid Ahmadi with a Royal Selangor pewter plate to mark the occasion.

Guests were then able to enjoy a traditional Malaysian cake made from Pulut kuning (Yellow Glutinous Rice).

The MRB also arranged a Workshop at the beginning of the week for the Malaysian industry. Presentations by Colin Robinson, Alan Muhr and Gail Reader on services available from TARRC were given. Meetings were also held at the Rubber Clinic during the day where companies were able to get immediate advice on any technical issues they were experiencing.

On Friday 7th September the MRB held a 'Rubber Engineering Course on Seismic Bearing Technology' at the Hevea Academy of Malaysia, Sungai Buloh, at which TARRC's Dr Alan Muhr was one of the teachers. After this course Dr Alan Muhr travelled to Langkawi to inspect the recently completed MRB building in Kuah, Langkawi, that has been protected from earthquakes using NR isolation bearings designed by the MRB. It is graced by rubber-leaf decoration on the exterior with designer furniture in rubber wood throughout the interior.

The International Rubber Conference is held annually under the auspices of the International Rubber Conference Organisation (IRCO).

The IRC 2019 will be held in London for the first time ever from
3rd-5th September 2019 and Rubber Consultants is a proud Platinum Sponsor.

See you in London for the IRC 2019!

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