Everyone has an opinion about the Rubber Sheeting they buy and not simply that it’s too expensive or not as good as ‘in the old days’. Common questions we are asked in relation to Rubber Sheeting materials involve hardness queries, thickness tolerances and surface finish. The problem in trying to respond too many of these issues relate to variances in methodology, equipment available, individual interpretations of standards and quite simply custom and practice.
I thought it would be a good idea to ruminate through a blog on these issues and more importantly publish how MacLellan Rubber assess, measure and approve its own materials, with a view to these ruminations being a guideline for Storage; Hardness Measuring, Thickness Measuring and Handling, many of which relate to British and European Standards and where appropriate common sense.
I may not be right about everything but in publishing this and follow up articles we hope to clarify some of our customers concerns and remove some of the areas of conflict that can so easily arise.
The Customer is of course always right, it’s just that they are not always correct!
I thought we should start with one of the most common issues which impacts on quality concerns which is the Storage of Rubber Sheeting and Rubber Matting
The principal thing to remember is that we are dealing with a vulcanised rubber which is an elastic product and susceptible to changes in the physical properties if storage conditions vary. Areas which are readily affected by incorrect storage and handling are hardness, flexibility, surface cracking and deterioration. Long term implications of incorrect storage and handling may be a reduction in performance characteristics such as elongation, tensile strength and compression set
These are covered by standards such as BS3734, ISO 2230 amongst others but the main points to follow are:
Store in a Cool environment – Optimum temperature will be 10° C, but shouldn’t be below 0° C or exceed +30° C as the polymerisation within the material may start to break down. Where temperatures do drop below 0o C you should allow the material to warm slowly before commencing work on it.
Store away from Direct Sunlight – Exposure to UV will cause materials to harden and crack.
Material should be wrapped in an opaque, non-reactive packing material for best practice.
Store away from Heat Sources – Extreme Heat will cause material to soften and degrade.
Maintain Humidity - A relative humidity between 45 and 75% is optimum. Low humidity may cause material to harden and crack.
Store in a Relaxed Condition – Rubber Sheet may take on a compression set or deformation if stored incorrectly or under load. Ideally store standing on its end rather than lying on its side. Re-roll the material so that it is tightly coiled and retains some rigidity. If the material has to be laid on its side then avoid putting too much load on top which will crush the material and may effect some compression set.
Despite following these recommendations we need to remember that vulcanised Rubber Sheet still has a defined Shelf Life after which there can be no expectation that it will perform to anything like the stated characteristics such as elongation or tensile strength.
ISO 2230:2002 amongst other standards categorise materials into one of three groups to determine their initial shelf life when stored correctly and an extension period that can be agreed if the material is show to be in good condition. These are summarised accordingly:
For a full list of Polymers by Classification please refer to our website.
Note shelf life is dependent upon correct storage conditions and cannot be taken for granted. Incorrect storage conditions may reduce the shelf life by as much as 50%.
As a final point in this blog, I should say that all of the team at MacLellan Rubber are regularly updated on changes to standards that affect our business and are willing to provide advice and recommendations where appropriate.
I hope that this first instalment gives all of those with the time and inclination to read it something to consider, whether or not you agree with the statements made. If you do, we look forward to working with you. If you don’t I guess we will potentially have more discussions in the future.
When the discussion with our Website Partners moved on to Blogging I have got to admit there were alot of puzzled and confused faces in the office.
The first question that cropped up were extremely obvious:-
* What the "Blog" do we Blog about ?
* Who the "Blog" will read it ?
* How the "Blog" will it help us ?
Well one answer to the last question, blogging will help us with our Search Engine Optomisation programme and this will help our customer base find us easier.
However after much thought and deliberation we hope the blog will do more than this. The Blog will allow us to talk more informally about our Products and some of the challenges of the Rubber Industry, we can hopefully spark some constructive debate with our Customers as well as passing on tips, advice or just generally keeping you all up to date with developments in the industry.
We are looking forward to using this new media, to keep our customer base up to date with the world of rubber and invite comment on the subject matter from our Website Users. When commenting on our Blog entries, you do not have to agree with us all of the time. We do ask that you make your comments constructive and Clean! We hope to be able to use these comments to better understand our customer`s requirements and improve our own service and products.
We hope that the "MacLellan Rubber Blog" will become a useful, informative and regular read!
Please note that all of our Blog Entries are the "Ramblings" of the individual contributors and opinions or views expressed are not necessarily those of the company MacLellan Rubber Ltd.
Interesting article in April’s issue of Works Management regarding stock holding of raw materials and where in the supply chain it should be held.
With so many theories such as Just in Time and Lean Manufacturing exported from the Automotive Industry now so prevalent in many manufacturing business the answer should be obvious.
However many businesses have found that moving the stock holding responsibility down the supply chain is a train crash waiting to happen particularly in such a volatile environment where customers upstream are unwilling or simply unable to give accurate forecasts for future demand. Add to this the supplier’s challenges of dealing with long manufacturing or restocking times, accommodating quality issues that may arise and the cost of committing significant levels of cash to a higher inventory and the whole process becomes less attractive for all parties involved.
There is evidence that manufacturers who have imposed a system because they don’t want the immediate cost of stockholding have experience increased costs in others areas such as quality control and line stoppage as supplier’s loose interest in their business due to the increased costs of doing business and the resultant lower margins.
The message has to be that collaboration throughout the supply chain is essential if any of this is to work efficiently and everyone is going to be happy and making money.
MacLellan Rubber has considerable experience in working supply chain solutions with its customers. With over 1000 tonnes of Rubber Sheeting and Rubber Matting either in stock, manufacture or in transit from our production plants, we service customers by projecting demand 12 – 16 weeks forward and provide both onsite and consigned stock holding to customers where appropriate. Stocks are also available to meet the immediate day to day changes that always seem to occur.
If you would like to discuss how MacLellan Rubber can work with you in delivering real cost benefits against your Rubber Sheeting and Rubber Matting products supply, contact your Account Manager or our office.
For the full article click here