Another advantage, he said, is better cooling, which allows processors enhanced control over the temperature-sensitive reaction between the rubber and the silica-silane coupling agent systems.
“For a company, such as Bridgestone, which uses silica in all its tires, it would make sense for them to change to intermeshing,” said Umemura. “They are used to using the Banbury, for which Kobelco is the king in Asia. But since Kobelco is not so [specialised in] intermeshing, it is a very good business chance for us.”
The company is now selling its mixer to tire customers and has "many references" for machines now in [operation], said Umemura, who commented: “We are getting good feedback from these customers. Hopefully we can sell more in Asia and [eventually] in Europe.”
The company has started out by making 20-30 of these mixers a year, which Umemura reckons is about 10-20 times less that the output of the market leader. It also operates a testing facility at its base in Hiroshima which houses a down-sized version of the mixer.
Potential customers, explained Umemura, "send materials for testing but, of course, will not get the same results as with a bigger machine. However, if they get a good result with a down-sized machine they might then consider a prototype machine."