Making a Tyre

There is no denying the amount of influence Goodyear advances have had on the tyre industry. Starting with the simple process of manufacturing a tyre and refining it exponentially, we have repeatedly found ourselves on the cutting edge of tyre technology. Learn more here about the creation of a tyre.

Banbury Machine

Radial tyre manufacturing starts with many kinds of raw materials: pigments, chemicals, some 30 different kinds of rubber, cord fabrics, bead wire, etc.

The process begins with the mixing of basic rubbers with process oils, carbon black, pigments, antioxidants, accelerators and other additives, each of which contributes certain properties to the compound.

These ingredients are mixed in giant blenders called Banbury machines operating under tremendous heat and pressure. They blend the many ingredients together into a hot, black gummy compound that will be milled again and again.

Extruder

The cooled rubber takes several forms. Most often it is processed into carefully identified slabs that will be transported to breakdown mills. These mills feed the rubber between massive pairs of rollers, over and over, feeding, mixing and blending to prepare the different compounds for the feed mills, where they are slit into strips and then carried by conveyor belts to become sidewalls, treads or other parts of the tyre.

Still another kind of rubber coats the fabric that will be used to make up the tyre's body. The fabrics come in huge rolls, and they are as specialized and critical as the rubber blends. Many kinds of fabrics are used: polyester, rayon or nylon. Most of today’s passenger tyres have polyester cord bodies.

Bead

Another component, shaped like a hoop, is called a bead. It has high-tensile steel wire forming its backbone, which will fit against the vehicle's wheel rim. The strands are aligned into a ribbon coated with rubber for adhesion, then wound into loops that are then wrapped together to secure them until they are assembled with the rest of the tyre.

Radial tyres are built on one or two tyre machines. The tyre starts with a double layer of synthetic gum rubber called an innerliner that will seal in air and make the tyre tubeless.

Tire Building Machine

Next come two layers of ply fabric, the cords. Two strips called apexes stiffen the area just above the bead. Next, a pair of chafer strips is added, so called because they resist chafing from the wheel rim when mounted on a car.

The tyre building machine pre-shapes radial tyres into a form very close to their final dimension to make sure the many components are in proper position before the tyre goes into the mold.

Now the tyre builder adds the steel belts that resist punctures and hold the tread firmly against the road. The tread is the last part to go on the tyre. After automatic rollers press all the parts firmly together, the radial tyre, now called a green tyre, is ready for inspection and curing.

Now the tyre builder adds the steel belts that resist punctures and hold the tread firmly against the road. The tread is the last part to go on the tyre. After automatic rollers press all the parts firmly together, the radial tyre, now called a green tyre, is ready for inspection and curing.

Curing Press

The curing press is where tyres get their final shape and tread pattern. Hot molds like giant waffle irons shape and vulcanize the tyre. The molds are engraved with the tread pattern, the sidewall markings of the manufacturer and those required by law.

Tyres are cured at over 300 degrees for 12 to 25 minutes, depending on their size. As the press swings open, the tyres are popped from their molds onto a long conveyor that carries them to final finish and inspection.

Inspection

If anything is wrong with the tyre – if anything even seems to be wrong with the tyre, even the slightest blemish – it is rejected. Some flaws are caught by an inspector's trained eyes and hands; others are found by specialized machines.

X-ray

Inspection doesn't stop at the surface. Some tyres are pulled from the production line and X-rayed to ensure tyre integrity. In addition, quality control engineers regularly cut apart randomly chosen tyres and study every detail of their construction that affects performance, ride or safety.

Excellence

This is how all of the parts come together: the tread and sidewall, supported by the body, and held to the wheel by the rubber-coated steel bead. 

But whatever the details, the basics are fundamentally the same:  steel, fabric, rubber, and lots of work and care, design and engineering.