Cooper and INSA disclosed in March they had been granted a U.S. patent (8,357,733) for a silica masterbatch process that the companies claim offers a broader processing window for enhanced manufacturing efficiencies.
"This is a first for the tire industry," said Chuck Yurkovich, Cooper's vice president, global research and development. "It's one thing to patent an industry-leading silica masterbatch process, but quite another to successfully use it in manufacturing and evaluate this new technology in tires.
"By accomplishing this, Cooper Tire and INSA have demonstrated significant processing advantages in our plants — including improvements in mixing efficiencies through considerable reduction in cycle times over conventional dry mixed silica — and we've been able to verify all aspects of tire performance."
INSA General Director Felipe Varela Hernandez said co-developing this process with Cooper over the past few years "has been a key driver to confirm the future commercialization potential of this technology."
The companies earlier said they were considering licensing the technology; the latest news release does not elaborate on this possibility.
INSA is part of Grupo KUO, a diversified holding with businesses in the polymer, automotive components, agriculture and food industries. It is the sole producer of emulsion synthetic rubber in Mexico.