AKRON (March 29, 2004) — Goodyear has developed a number of new synthetic rubber products it claims will allow it to reduce its natural rubber (NR) purchases by as much as 15 percent the next few years.
The development has been in the works for a number of years but was accelerated lately amidst volatile NR prices. Among other things, the new products allow Goodyear to decrease its use of NR in truck tires without sacrificing quality, said Joseph M. Gingo, executive vice president for quality systems and chief technical officer.
“While our newly developed synthetic rubber products do not totally solve raw material cost concerns, we have gained for ourselves greater flexibility,” said Gary A. Miller, vice president and chief procurement officer.
“That flexibility not only will help cushion us against future natural rubber price volatility, but also provides us with a competitive advantage,” Mr. Miller said.
Goodyear did not go into detail about which type of synthetic rubber the development affects, but the Akron-based company is a producer of polyisoprene, the synthetic equivalent of natural rubber.