Last month, representatives from both Trelleborg’s marine systems and engineered products operations visited colleagues at Trelleborg’s wheel systems operation, along with a rubber plantation and processing plant in Malwana, Sri Lanka.
The visit to the Wheel Systems operation’s facility provided visitors with the chance to learn about the processes involved in the manufacture of its tires and complete wheels. This also provided the opportunity for representatives of the three business units to share best practice and discuss the commercial and technical challenges facing each of the industries in which they operate.
The visit to the rubber plantation and processing plant provided attendees with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of natural rubber, the building block of the rubber compounds used in many of Trelleborg’s engineered polymer solutions, including our high performance rubber marine fenders.
Attendees were able to see the extraction of natural rubber, which involves the ‘tapping’ of the Hevea Brasiliensis tree, first-hand. They were also educated on the subsequent processing, grading and quality control of properties within natural rubber.
The trip also saw attendees visit the Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka, the oldest rubber research institute in the world, responsible for the research and development of all aspects of rubber cultivation and processing. This provided visitors with an overview of research currently being conducted across the industry, in a bid to increase rubber production yield, improve tapping technique and fight the many kinds of disease rubber trees are susceptible to.
I’ll leave you with some words from our President, Richard Hepworth, about the significance of the trip.
“With a limited understanding of rubber quality and its impact on fender performance across the marine industry, we’ve spent considerable time and resource highlighting its importance.
“With that in mind, the visit was a great opportunity to not only get together with colleagues from Trelleborg Wheel Systems and Trelleborg Engineered Systems Qingdao, but get to grips with the very first step in how natural rubber goes from rainforest to protecting critical marine environments across the globe. A huge thank you to those that attended, our colleagues at Trelleborg Wheel Systems for their hospitality and to Sanjay Melvani and Melissa Asmone for organizing.”