AKRON, Ohio — The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is looking to tap into several new proprietary synthetic rubber products it has developed that could help the company reduce its natural rubber dependency by as much as 15 per cent over the next few years.
“We’ve been working on these polymers for some time,” said Joseph M. Gingo, Goodyear executive vice president for quality systems and chief technical officer, “but recent natural rubber price volatility, that has shown no signs of subsiding soon, created a sense of urgency for our research and development people.”
Among all of the world’s tire and rubber product producers, Goodyear has long been considered a leader in synthetic rubber development capability.
“In addition to the cost impact, another significant aspect of the new developments is that they will allow us to use more synthetic rubber in truck tires,” said Gingo.
The last two years have seen world natural rubber prices climb steadily as demand has increased. Most industry observers expect the prices to continue upward through 2004.
“While our newly developed synthetic rubber products do not totally solve raw material cost concerns, we have gained for ourselves greater flexibilit," said Gary 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."
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