The tire is the most recognizable and most important of all bicycle components. With its importance, only a few bikers are interested in the difficult manufacturing process that every bike tire goes through.
But how are bike tires are made? Bringing a bike tire into the bike shop and the real world includes advanced machinery, complicated manufacturing processes, and excellent craftsmanship. Check out this article for you to have an idea of the step-by-step process of manufacturing a bike tire.
Stage 1: Mixing of the Materials
The initial step happens when the manufacturing designers use the computer to create a tire to simulate the effect of different rubber compounds that will be used in the manufacturing process. The real construction begins with all the rubber compounds being mixed together to create some parts of the tire.
The ingredients needed to create the tires include synthetic rubbers, natural rubbers, sulfur, and other chemicals. A machine with rotating spiral blades will be the one breaking down the materials.
The friction from the mixing and the heat will make them soft. This process will transform the mixed ingredients into a dough-like rubber compound. Powerful rulers will then squeeze the compound into long thick sheets while the blades will cut the rolled rubber into narrow strips.
Stage 2: Rolling Out the Rubber Strips
After the initial process, the processed rubber will travel through more rollers, squeezing it down to the desired thickness. These rubber sheets will then be put in a cart and ready for use – technicians in case steel bead wire with one of these compounds.
The bead wire will be used as a part of the wire that will connect to the wheel’s rim. As the steel wire travels through an aperture, the rubber is extruded to form the casing. The machine delivers the beading wire to a spinning disk.
The disk will then wind the beading wire, shaping it into rings which fit to a wheel rim. To maintain the diameter of the wire, the technician will tape the ends together. This will hold the shape until the next stage of the production process.
Stage 3: The Extrusion Process
The rubber sheets with varying characteristics will enter an extruder in this step. The extruder will use heat and pressure to force the rubber through the dies. This process merges their attributes into a single sheet.
This sheet will be used to make the bicycle’s tread. The tread rubber will then travel through a channel of cool water. Meanwhile, rollers coat fabric with rubber to make plies for the tire casing. A moving blade will cut them into strips.
This rubber will be naturally tacky so that each piece can be easily spliced. The system feeds the strips to a tire-building machine. An assembler will then wrap the strips to the machine drum to form the tire casing while splicing the rubber where the ends meet.
Stage 4: Tire Assembly
In this next step, the robots will slide two wire beads around the casing. The ends of the drum fold the sides of the case over the bead wires. The technician will then apply rubber-coated fabric to the bead wires, which will strengthen the area.
The tread rubber will be placed in the center. As the drum spins, a roller will apply the pressure to wind the thread around the casing. Then, the ends are pressed together manually. And one more turn of the drum will secure the tread rubber to the casing.
Once the vent hole has been cut into the rubber, it’s over to an expanding mold where the tire takes shape. The technician will insert a rubber curing bladder to maintain the tire’s shape.
Stage 5: Cooking the Tire Under Pressure
In this final stage, the technician will place the mountain bike tires in curing molds. These individual molds will steam-cook the tires under pressure to shape them further. This specific process will form knots and other protrusions on the tire surface designed to grip rugged terrain.
This mold will cook and form the mountain bike tire. The tire is then placed on a rack to cool it down. After that, the bike tire will be subjected to a durability test while a computer measures the rolling resistance. That’s the energy lost when the tire rotates and an indication of how quickly the tire will roll.
This article explains the step-by-step process of making a bike tire. It may be less important to other bikers, but if you are a bike enthusiast, knowing the whole process of making the bike will make you appreciate the importance of this bicycle component.
Furthermore, if you are just starting to bike, learning the whole process of bike manufacture will make you knowledgeable about the difficult process of constructing the bike. Then, you will appreciate it more as you gain experience and learn the importance of tires in the bike.