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Title:
TYRE COLD RETREADING METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/188502
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method for the cold retreading of a tyre (1) comprising the following steps: - a removal step, during which the old, worn tread is removed from the tyre in order to expose an equatorial surface (2) of a casing (3) of the tyre (1); - a deposition step, during which a cushion (4) and a pre-cured tread strip (6) provided with a tread pattern are deposited around the equatorial surface (2) of the casing (3); and - a curing step, during which the cushion (4) arranged between the casing (3) and the pre-cured tread strip (6) is cured. The retreading method also comprises a conductive interposition step, during which a conductive adhesive compound (5) is deposited between said cushion (4) and said pre-cured tread strip (6) and/or between said cushion (4) and said casing (3). The conductive adhesive compound (5) comprises at least one conductive material in a quantity ranging from 5 to 20% by weight and chosen among graphene, graphite and a carbon black having a surface area which is greater than or equal to 300 m2/gr. The curing step comprises a connection operation, during which said conductive adhesive (5) compound is connected either to a heat source (S) or to a power source (S) so as to transmit the heat to the cushion (4).

Inventors:
LELIO LUCA (IT)
LUST JEROEN (BE)
VINCENT BRAM (BE)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2020/052479
Publication Date:
September 24, 2020
Filing Date:
March 18, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BRIDGESTONE EUROPE NV/SA (BE)
International Classes:
B29D30/54; B29D30/56; B29D30/52
Domestic Patent References:
WO2015116171A12015-08-06
Foreign References:
GB1477317A1977-06-22
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARCHETTI, Alessio (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A method for the cold retreading of a tyre (1) comprising the following steps:

- a removal step, during which the old, worn tread is removed from the tyre in order to expose an equatorial surface (2) of a casing (3) of the tyre (1) ;

- a deposition step, during which a cushion (4) and a pre-cured tread strip (6) provided with a tread pattern are deposited around the equatorial surface (2) of the casing ( 3 ) ; and

- a curing step, during which the cushion (4) arranged between the casing (3) and the pre-cured tread strip (6) is cured;

the retreading method being characterized in that it comprises a conductive interposition step, during which a conductive adhesive compound (5) is deposited between said cushion (4) and said pre-cured tread strip (6) and/or between said cushion (4) and said casing (3); said conductive adhesive compound (5) comprising at least one conductive material in a quantity ranging from 5 to 20% by weight and chosen among graphene, graphite and a carbon black having a surface area which is greater than or equal to 300 m2/gr; and in that said curing step comprises a connection operation, during which said conductive adhesive (5) compound is connected either to a heat source (S) or to a power source (S) so as to transmit the heat to the cushion (4) .

2. A tyre cold retreading method according to claim 1, characterized in that said conductive adhesive compound (5) is based on an organic solvent.

3. A tyre cold retreading method according to claim 2, characterized in that said organic solvent is n-heptane.

4. A tyre cold retreading method according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises the following further steps :

- a coating step, during which a filler (7) in the fluid state is deposited on the pre-cured tread strip (6) before said curing step, thus forming a coating which covers the pre-cured tread strip (6);

- a compression step, during which, during said curing step, the tyre is subjected to a radial pressure applied on the pre-cured tread strip (6) by pressing, from the outside, against the filler (7) coating the pre-cured tread strip (6) ;

- a removal step, during which, following the curing step, the filler (7) is removed from the pre-cured tread strip ( 6 ) .

5. A tyre cold retreading method according to claim 4, characterized in that the filler (7) contains a material that shrinks when dry.

6. A tyre cold retreading method according to claim 5, characterized in that said shrinking material is clay.

7. A tyre which is retreaded by means of a cold retreading method according to one of the preceding claims.

Description:
"TYRE COLD RETREADING METHOD"

DESCRIPTION

The invention relates to a tyre cold retreading method.

The invention finds advantageous application in the field of "truck” tyre retreading, to which explicit reference will be made in the description below without because of this losing in generality.

At the end of their first use, "truck” tyres are usually retreaded, which means that they are provided with a new tread replacing the old, worn tread, which is previously removed. The retreading of a "truck” tyre involves mechanically eliminating - from the used tyre - the old, worn tread in order to uncover the "casing” and subsequently apply a new tread to the casing. The application of a new tread to the casing involves wrapping a "tread strip" around the casing; subsequently, the casing undergoes a curing process in order to determine an ideal adhesion of the tread strip to the casing.

In the hot retreading process, the tread strip is raw and without pattern, which is manufactured during the curing process, which is carried out in a curing press provided with a mould with the desired pattern. In the hot retreading process, curing takes place at high temperatures (ranging from 150°C to 160°C) and at pressures (ranging from approximately 14 to approximately 16 bar) , which are needed in order to make the rubber fluid enough to flow in the mould and form the pattern of the tread during the curing process; however, the thermal and mechanical stresses to which the casing is subjected due to these high temperatures and pressures cause additional stress to the casing.

In the cold retreading process, the tread strip (also known as "PCT - Pre Cured Tread - strip") is pre-cured and already provided with the pattern and between the casing and the pre-cured tread strip there is interposed an intermediate strip (hereinafter referred to as "cushion" ) , which is made of raw rubber and has a bonding function. In the cold retreading process, curing serves the sole purpose of curing the cushion in order to determine an ideal adhesion of the tread to the casing, through the bonding action of the cushion. This curing step does not imply the creation of a pattern of the tread (the tread is already cured) and requires temperature in the order of magnitude of 100°C - 125°C and pressures in the order of magnitude of 4-6 bar.

If compared with the hot retreading process, the curing step of the cold retreading process evidently requires significantly lower temperatures and pressures and, as a consequence, the casing is subjected to smaller thermal and mechanical stresses.

The cold retreading process, despite having the advantage of preventing the casing from undergoing conditions which could be harmful, suffers however from a low productivity.

Furthermore, in the cold retreading process and in order to ensure a proper adhesion of the tread strip to the casing (with the interposition of the cushion) , during curing a radial pressure needs to be applied so as to properly compress the tread strip against the casing. In known retreading plants, this radial pressure to be applied during curing is obtained by inserting the tyre in an autoclave, where an overpressure (of approximately 6 bar) is created. The tyre was previously inserted between two flexible "envelopes" (inner and outer) wherein, at first, a vacuum is created and, subsequently, air is blown until a pressure of approximately 4.5 bar is reached; in the autoclave, the pressure difference between the inside (4.5 bar) and the outside (6 bar) of the envelope (usually known as "DPC") is maintained for the entire curing cycle and creates the pneumatic pressure needed to compress the tread against the casing .

The use of autoclaves and of the envelopes, where the "DPC" pressure difference is created, allows manufacturers to obtain a uniform pressure in the whole tread. Indeed, the uniformity of the pneumatic pressure (which could never be achieved in a mechanical manner, as the recesses of the pattern cannot be reached due to their dimensions, their shapes and their number) ensures an ideal adhesion of the tread to the casing.

However, the use of the autoclave and of the envelopes is affected by different drawbacks: first of all, in use, the autoclave has an inner pressure that is significantly greater than atmospheric pressure and, hence, requests specific safety design of the equipment and strict operational procedure to be followed by operator of the plant. Furthermore, the application of the envelopes to the tyre is fairly long and complicated. Indeed, the possible breaking of the envelopes during curing (which frequently happens) forces operators to restart the retreading process from the beginning or, in some cases, even to scrap away the tyre being retreaded.

Therefore, there is the need to find a solution that allows manufacturers to carry out a tyre cold retreading process, without because of this having to face the drawbacks in terms of productivity and safety that are typical of the prior art discussed above. The inventors of this invention found a solution which is capable of fulfilling said need through the use of a conductive adhesive compound.

The subject-matter of this invention is a method for the cold retreading of a tyre comprising the following steps:

- a removal step, during which the old, worn tread is removed from the tyre in order to expose an equatorial surface of a casing of the tyre;

- a deposition step, during which a cushion and a pre cured tread strip provided with a tread pattern are deposited around the equatorial surface of the casing; and

- a curing step, during which the cushion arranged between the casing and the pre-cured tread strip is cured; the retreading method being characterized in that it comprises a conductive interposition step , during which a conductive adhesive compound is deposited between said cushion and said pre-cured tread strip and/or between said cushion and said casing; said conductive adhesive compound comprising at least one conductive material in a quantity ranging from 5 to 20% by weight and chosen among graphene, graphite and a carbon black having a surface area which is greater than or equal to 300 m 2 /gr; and in that said curing step comprises a connection operation, during which said conductive adhesive compound is connected either to a heat source or to a power source so as to transmit the heat to the cushion.

Said conductive adhesive compound is preferably based on an organic solvent; more preferably, said organic solvent is n-heptane.

Hereinafter, by adhesive compound we mean the type of compound (commonly known as "cement") that is useful in the production of tyres in order to help increase the adhesion between two rubber portions of the tyre. Adhesive compounds are usually based on organic solvents, thus showing a high adhesion efficiency and a great easiness of use, which are mainly due to the solubility of rubbers in organic solvents and, hence, to their ability to melt with one another almost forming one single piece once the organic solvent evaporates.

The method preferably comprises the further following steps :

- a coating step, during which a filler in the fluid state is deposited on the pre-cured tread strip before said curing step, thus forming a coating which covers the pre cured tread strip and realizes a flat and even surface onto which pressure can be easily applied;

- a compression step, during which, during said curing step, the tyre is subjected to a radial pressure applied on the tread strip by pressing, from the outside, against the filler coating the pre-cured tread strip;

- a removal step, during which, following the curing step, the filler is removed from the pre-cured tread strip.

The filler preferably contains a material that shrinks when dry; more preferably, said shrinking material is clay.

A further subject-matter of the invention is a tyre retreaded by means of a cold retreading method according to the invention.

Hereinafter there is a description of an embodiment of the invention, by mere way of explanatory and non-limiting example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein :

- figure 1 is a schematic view of a tyre, in which the old, worn tread was mechanically removed, thus exposing an equatorial surface of a respective casing;

- figure 2 is a schematic view of the wrapping of a cushion around a casing of a tyre to be retreaded;

- figure 3 is a schematic view of the deposition of a conductive adhesive compound on a cushion;

- figure 4 is a schematic view of the wrapping of a pre-cured tread strip around the cushion with the interposition of the conductive adhesive compound; - figure 5 is a schematic view of the application of a filler on the previously wrapped pre-cured tread strip;

- figure 6 is a schematic view of a compression during the curing of a retreaded tyre;

- figure 7 is a schematic view of a removal of a filler from the pre-cured tread strip after curing.

In figure 1, number 1 indicates, as a whole, a tyre, in which the old, worn tread was mechanically removed, thus exposing an equatorial surface 2 of a respective casing 3.

The procedure with which the old, used tread is removed is known and, since it is not relevant for the invention, it will not be discussed any further.

Figure 2 shows a deposition step, during which a cushion 4 is wrapped on the equatorial surface 2 of the casing 3. As a person skilled in the art knows, the cushion is an intermediate strip of raw rubber, which fulfils a bonding function between the casing of the used tyre and the new, previously cured tread strip.

Figure 3 shows a conductive interposition step, during which a conductive adhesive compound 5 is deposited on the exposed surface of the cushion 4. According to figure 3, the conductive adhesive compound was not deposited on the entire exposed surface of the cushion 4, but it was deposited in the form of a strip along a broken line, which extends on the exposed surface of the cushion 4 as much as possible. In particular, in this specific example, the conductive adhesive compound is based on n-heptane, where graphite was dissolved in a quantity amounting to 15% by weight.

By way of example, Table I shows the phr composition of the conductive adhesive compound with an indication of the weight percentages only in relation to the solvent and the conductive material.

TABLE I

*The conductive material is chosen among graphite, graphene and carbon black having a surface area which is greater than or equal to 300 m 2 /gr.

Experiments have shown that the quantity of conductive material (chosen among graphite, graphene and carbon black having a surface area which is greater than or equal to 300 m2/gr) , in order to be effective for the purposes of the invention, must be comprised in the conductive adhesive compound in a quantity ranging from 5 to 20% by weight.

The strip of the conductive adhesive compound 5 has two free ends 5a, which are useful to create an electrical or thermal contact, as described more in detail below.

Contrary to what described above in the embodiment, the conductive adhesive compound 5 can be arranged between the cushion 4 and the equatorial surface 2 of the casing 3 ; or it can be arranged both between the cushion 4 and the equatorial surface 2 of the casing 3 and between the cushion 4 and the new pre-cured tread strip.

Contrary to what described above in the embodiment, the conductive adhesive compound can be deposited according to a different conformation, provided that it extends with continuity on the surface of the cushion and has a portion arranged so as to be connected to a power source or to a heat source.

Figure 4 shows another operation of the deposition step, during which a pre-cured tread strip 6 is wrapped on the cushion 4 on which the conductive adhesive compound 5 was previously deposited. It should be pointed out that the pre cured tread strip 6, since it has already been cured in a suitable mould, has a defined tread pattern.

Figure 5 shows a coating step, during which, after the wrapping of the pre-cured tread strip 6 and before subjecting the tyre 1 to a curing step, a filler 7 in the fluid state is deposited on the pre-cured tread strip 6. The filler 7 completely fills the pattern of the tread (namely, it penetrates the grooves of the tread pattern) and forms a coating which covers the pre-cured tread strip 6. In other words, the filler 7 creates a "negative" of the pre-cured tread strip 6.

In particular, the filler 7 is applied on the pre-cured tread strip 6 so as to completely cover it and, hence, have, on the outside, a flat equatorial surface (namely, a flat surface, i.e. without recesses and grooves) . In other words, the filler 11 is used to form a coating that "levels off” the pre-cured tread strip 6, thus offering, towards the outside, a flat equatorial surface (namely, a smooth surface without recesses and grooves).

In the embodiment shown in figure 5, the filler 7 is applied on the pre-cured tread strip 6 by means of an applying device 8 after the pre-cured tread strip 6 has been wrapped around the casing 3 (namely, when the pre-cured tread strip 6 has an annular shape) .

According to a preferred embodiment, the filler 7 can be made of clay, which has the advantage of being easy to be found, not very expensive and recyclable for further retreading operations or in general. Furthermore, the natural shrinking of the clay when dry also allows the filler 7 to be easily removed from the pattern of the tread.

Figure 6 shows a curing and compression step, during which the tyre 1 is housed inside a curing mould 9, which consists of a plurality of pressing bodies 10, which are each shaped like a circular sector and form, all together, a ring designed to contain, on the inside, the tyre 1. According to the figure, the two ends 5a of the conductive adhesive compound 5 are connected to a heat or power source, which is schematically shown and indicated with S. In case S is a power source, due to Joule effect, the conductive adhesive compound 5 heats up and the heat is transferred to the cushion 4, causing the curing thereof.

In this way, heat can be transferred only to the portion (cushion) of the tyre 1 that is involved in the curing process. This possibility offers the great advantage of not having to subject the entire tyre to a heating process, with the consequence both that already cured parts of the tyre do not risk being deteriorated and that the curing step is quicker .

Since the conductive adhesive compound 5 also has heat conductive properties, an alternative to what described above lies in connecting the conductive adhesive compound 5 to a heat source. In this case, S indicates a heat source instead of a power source.

Each pressing body 10 is radially moved (hence, is radially pushed against the tyre 1) by an actuator 11 (for example a pneumatic or hydraulic cylinder) . According to a preferred embodiment, the actuators 11 are designed to apply on the pressing body 10 a radial pressure towards the centre (namely, a radial pressure compressing the tyre 1) with an adjusted force, which is determined in such a way that, during the curing process, the tyre 1 (namely, the pre-cured tread strip 6 which is part of the tyre 1) is radially compresses with a desired pressure; by way of example, the actuators 11 could use, in order to radially push the pressing bodies 10, a pneumatic or hydraulic system with an adjusted pressure or they could use a completely mechanical system provided with adjusted springs.

During the curing process, the tyre 1 is kept at ambient pressure and a radial pressure is mechanically applied to the pre-cured tread strip 6 by means of the pressing bodies 10 of the curing mould 9 and with the interposition of the filler 7. In other words, the pressing bodies 10 of the curing mould 14 press against the filler 7, which has, on the outside, a smooth surface (hence, the pressure exerted by the pressing bodies 10 is distributed in a uniform manner on the entire filler 7); the filler 7 transmits the pressure exerted by the pressing bodies 10 in a uniform manner to the entire pre-cured tread strip 6, since the filler 7 is homogeneously distributed on the entire pre-cured tread strip 6 (namely, even in all the grooves of the tread pattern) . As a consequence, the filler 7 acts like a "distributor" of the pressure exerted by the pressing bodies 10 on the entire pre-cured tread strip 6, since it is a coating that reproduces in negative the shape of the pre cured tread strip 6. Figure 7 shows a removal step, during which, after the curing step, the filler 7 is removed from the pre-cured tread strip 6 by means of a suitable device, which is schematically shown and indicated with 12, and with this operation the tyre 1 retreading process ends.

To sum up, the cold retreading method according to the invention makes sure that the curing step is carried out without using autoclaves and by subjecting the sole cushion to heating. This leads to the important advantage of having a quicker and safer curing (avoiding the safety problems caused by the use of autoclaves) and of preventing, to a significant extent, the already cured parts of the tyre from having to undergo a heating process, which could jeopardize them. These results are obtained thanks to the presence of a conductive adhesive compound arranged between the cushion and the pre-cured tread strip and/or between the cushion and the casing.

Furthermore, the fact that the pre-cured tread strip is covered with the filler prevents manufacturers from having to use vacuum envelops, thus avoiding the complicated tyre dressing/undressing operations and the risks of breaking of the envelops.