After successfully identifying the factors that cause natural rubber to emit a smell, Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) has developed a Reduced Odour Natural Rubber (RONR) which emits significantly less odour.

Thanks to the introduction of a proprietary raw material processing technique at the plant in Thailand, the RONR achieves a significant reduction in odour by suppressing the breakdown of odour causing, non rubber components (such as proteins and lipids) that are found within natural rubber in its raw material state.

"The establishment of this new technique represents a major step toward solving longstanding odour issues, not just at natural rubber processing plants, but also at tyre factories and other sites where natural rubber is handled,"said Sumitomo Rubber Europe's Bernd Loewenhaupt.

As natural rubber accounts for approximately 30% of the raw materials that make up a tyre (by weight), SRI is currently moving forward with other proactive efforts to find pioneering solutions to the various issues arising from its use.

These range from improving tyre performance and a greater overall environmental awareness such as modifying natural rubber's properties and making greater use of biomass materials.