Industrial application of field flowers, rubber dandelions, was proposed by Indian tire-producing company, Balkrishna Industries Limited (BKT). The brand will use the plants as their tire components due to their potential to replace natural rubber as an alternative raw material.

BKT has already started official collaboration with US-based biotechnology enterprise Kultevat. As part of the research, the innovators will investigate new compounding techniques applying Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS) / Russian dandelion rubber, which will be used in tire production.

Before signing the agreement, the companies carried out testing of solutions that applied guayule and dandelion rubber. The favor was given to dandelions due to their great latex composition and the flowers’ capacity to grow during various seasons in temperate climate.

In 2018, during the early phase of the initiative, a number of sample deliveries are expected according to the agreement.

By October 2019, during the second stage, a ton of stabilized TKS rubber will be supplied to Indian BKT.

After that, further researches and tests will be carried out by the tire producer at the new R&D center in India, the Suresh Poddar Innovation Hub.

When the raw material’s physical and chemical behavior is thoroughly studied, and when primary compounding solutions are ready to be applied, BKT will start additional investigations aimed at establishing key performance criteria, including TKS rubber’s response to mechanical stress, tensile strength, endurance and other properties.

In addition, testing of several compositions used in tire manufacturing is expected. According to BKT, it will take a lot of time and effort to develop a final product.

Daniel R. Swiger, chief executive officer of Kultevat said that the main goal of BKT’s testing is to develop products for specialty rubber markets as stipulated by the strategy of Kultevat. He expects that the rubber will be on sale from early 2019.

Swiger added that the partnership with BKT is “ideal” and will enable faster commercialization, as the brand preserves a solid reputation in the international tire market.

Dilip Vaidya, president and director of technology at BKT said that the brand’s commitment to innovation and regular availability of adequate funds invested into research lay a solid foundation for success in the highly competitive and rapidly developing global market.

He added that by teaming up with Kultevat for TKS rubber, the enterprise will get significantly closer to sustainability and progress. The initiative reflects BKT’s mission which seeks to develop groundbreaking techniques that will equip the brand with innovative methods and prepare the company for challenges in the future.

Article by Tyre Press