An introduction to Rubber and Rubber manufacturing.


Natural Rubber’s milky sap of tropical tree thousands of years ago the native people of south America discovered the hardened SAP was elastic and bounced they played games with balls of SAP. When Europeans explorers came along it. It was soon a whole new ball game today. Thousands of useful things from the fluid circulates through rubber trees. Everything from tires to balloons to boots.  The seeds are sown on plantations. It takes several years for the rubber trees to mature until the SAP is ready to tap. In the coolness of the morning when the SAP flow freely the people who sees it can slash the bark with any kind of blade and the SAP will ooze from the abrasion and the SAP is filled into a ceramic container. This will wait for a couple of days so that the tree will be able to recover and then tap another section of the tree.

After straining impurities they pour the rubber SAP into a plastic container and then they add formic acid and swish it around the acid causes the SAP  to coagulate after 15 to 30 minutes it thickens to the consistency of TOFU. This Tofu like SAP has a sticky structure that allows it to now be rolled out like a dough. The rolling machine squeezes out excess water and leaves a rib pattern on the sheets that increases the surface area to hasten drying then they rinse off the formic acid. They hang rubber sheet to dry for about 5 hours. As they dry the rubber thickens and becomes stronger and the color darkens.

The coagulated rubber SAP has been transformed in a few steps. It’s gone from liquid to a solid. It is then being piled up like pallets and will be stored until the next processing.

When they are ready to be moved on. The people in charge will peel each rubber sheets and then foamed into water. This is done to remove surface contamination. After cleaning it. It goes into a place where it will be smoked in a chamber. This is done for 5 days. It’s in a low temperature smoking that preserves the sheets form the growth molding. After this smoking process. The manufacturing clips out the contaminants like bark or the insects that have embedded in the rubber. After it is already clean it uses a machine to pound the rubber into cube and to be shipped out. (There must be correct dimensions, to comply to rubber international rules). Then it is sprayed with a mix of calcium carbonate and solvent. This will make films on the cube to prevent mold and keeps them from sticking together.