Its ability to combine perfectly with other materials is what sets natural rubber, or caoutchouc, apart. The elastomer can be combined with firm, supporting materials, such as metals, textiles and plastics, or electronic components, to form complex technical systems that can be used in almost any context. This way ContiTech creates products with the capacity to meet a range of challenges that are top of the global priority list.
Known by its scientific name as caoutchouc, this material is often referred to quite simply as rubber. Caoutchouc is actually the name for the raw material, while rubber is the term for what we make from it – for vulcanised caoutchouc, in other words. Caoutchouc can be combined with a long list of other materials to make extremely adaptable, almost endlessly formable materials that fulfil virtually any function.
Firm rubber and metal compounds reveal their full potential most of all in directing, distributing and resisting forces. By combining elastomers with metal connectors or reinforcements, it becomes possible to produce components for the ideal elastic mount for an engine or machine, or an extremely stress-resistant, robust steel cord conveyor belt.
When it comes to weight reduction, plastic-elastomer solutions are becoming more and more successful as partners in a symbiotic relationship. The use of plastics technologies in surface materials, hoses and mount elements, for example, makes not only for lighter, more fuel-efficient, eco-friendly cars but also for more energy-efficient techniques in plastics production. In addition, it opens up a wide range of recycling opportunities.
When it comes to protecting people or transferring and storing liquids, high-tech materials with elastomer coatings are indispensable. The outstanding qualities of rubber can be optimised by incorporating cotton, viscose, polyester, aramids and even glass fibres. This produces highly flexible, lightweight, yet extremely resistant materials.
Rubber has even been used in combination with electronic components to create new, forward-looking solutions. Vulcanising transponder chips directly into rubber, for example, has brought a quantum leap in production safety, process optimisation and logistics. With all the necessary data contained on them, these electronic chips make product identification easy – in much the same way as a fingerprint helps identify a person. And then there are electromechanical parts, which are vital components in vibrating mounts, where active dampers use electricity to produce counter-vibrations.