Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, France – Solvay invented high-performance silica in the 1990s and is now a world leader in this technology. The company has focused primarily on the market for low-energy tires now under development by leading tire manufacturers.
Silica is used to reinforce the elastomer compounds that form tire treads. It offers a number of particularly useful properties, including lower rolling resistance, resulting in lower fuel consumption, as well as better road grip.
Solvay has used Metravib dynamic mechanical analyzers (DMAs) in the development of its silicas for many years, in order to quantify the performance enhancements made to the elastomer compounds.
To improve the productivity of DMA testing at its mechanical test lab at Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or and cater for increasing demand, Solvay has recently purchased a fully automated Metravib DMA+1000 analyzer featuring the test equipment company’s new Xpander robot.
With the system configured in a multimode version, shear, tension and compression tests can be carried out in fully automated mode with automatic sample changing, whilst retaining the possibility of using manual mode for specific tests.
Thomas Chaussée, global tire manager for Solvay Research & Innovation, explains: “We have recently installed the new Xpander to enhance the capabilities of the lab and also to free up time, allowing technicians to concentrate on interpreting results.
“We have quickly gotten to grips with the system, thanks to the training and support provided by Metravib, and we have already noticed significant savings.”
Solvay has also recently acquired a Metravib DMA+1000 analyzer for its lab in Paulinia, Brazil.