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BKT in R&D tie-up with Kultevat

Indian tire giant BKT has entered into a research and development partnership with US biotechnology firm Kultevat to further the use of TKS rubber as a substitute for natural rubber

 

BKT aims to develop compounding methods involving TKS (Taraxacum kok-saghyz) rubber – also known as dandelion rubber – to be integrated as a new, renewable and sustainable raw material into the manufacturing process for off-highway tires. Thanks to advanced biotechnology and environmentally friendly processes, Kultevat is able to supply TKS rubber in bulk.

The agreement will involve several sample deliveries in 2018, with one metric ton of stabilized TKS rubber delivered to BKT by October 2019.

All studies, analyses, experimentation and testing will be carried out at BKT´s new research and development center, the Suresh Poddar Innovation Hub, at the company’s main production site, in Bhuj, India.

Having gained some general understanding of the physical and chemical behavior of the new raw material and the development of the first compounding methods, more specific analyses, testing and experimentation will follow, to learn about more specific performance criteria, such as: behavior if exposed to mechanical stress; fatigue resistance; tensile strength; durability and resilience; cut, tear and heat resistance, and so on.

Several TKS formulations will be tested for the development of semi-finished compounds, to obtain best tire performance. Depending on the findings, it might be necessary to modify existing production processes and equipment.

Like other tire manufacturers, BKT has been working on substitute raw material solutions, mainly guayule and dandelion, opting for dandelion because of its higher latex content.

“BKT has always been committed to innovation, since we consider investments in R&D key to competing in a complex global market with rapidly evolving needs,” said Dilip Vaidya, BKT president and director of technology.

“The agreement with Kultevat is a great step forward in our R&D activities, in terms of both sustainability and innovation. This project is fully in line with the goals expressed in our R&D mission – to research and develop cutting-edge materials technologies to support future BKT business challenges in terms of innovative product technology.”

May 8, 2018

 

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