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How are tyres made?

Modern motor vehicles, from bikes to the largest commercials, are incredibly complex pieces of engineering and technology. Even compared with vehicles being built twenty or thirty years ago, there’s been a considerable increase in the refinement and complexity of the design of the vehicles we drive. While tyres are often given less prominence compared with other, perhaps more glamorous elements of the car’s construction, they have a massive influence on the vehicle’s safety, performance, handling and fuel economy, but how much do we know about the construction of this vital component of our cherished car, van or bike? While Avatyre’s FAQ section gives details of much of what you need to know about ordering tyres online, it may be helpful to know how modern tyres are manufactured and constructed.

The foundations

The mechanics of any tyre’s construction is basically very similar in almost all cases, and what we see on the outside of the tyre - the black vulcanised rubber side walls, bead and tread - are only part of the story.

The foundation of the tyre – and what gives it the greater part of its strength and durability – is constructed from rubber coated woven fabric or fibre belts. Known as the Ply, these make up the tyre’s skeleton, giving the tyre its shape and substance. A layer placed directly above the inner layer of the tyre, known as the Carcass Ply is the principal strengthener and provides the base for the main construction of the tyre.

To provide additional strength and rigidity, steel belts, often reinforced with Kevlar (the same stuff used to make bulletproof vests!) is layered around the Carcass Ply. Among other things, this also gives significant extra protection against picking up punctures. Further steel cable braids will later be added at the tyre’s rim to form the bead, which gives rigidity to the edges of the tyre and forms an airtight seal with the rim of the wheel.

The construction process

Construction of the tyre now continues from the inside out, using the Ply and steel belt as a skeleton around which the sidewalls, shoulder and tread of the tyre are built. Up to thirty ingredients go to make up the rubber which is used in the manufacturing process. The exact proportions of different types of rubber, gums, bonding agents and fillers will play a major part in determining how the tyre will perform in terms of its road-holding, fuel economy and durability. Once these components have been mixed, in giant blenders known as Banbury Mixers, the resultant compound is sent for milling.

During the milling process, the basic rubber compound is coated and cut into strips which form the basis of the outer structure of the tyre. The basic construction of the tyre can now be completed and, with the components in place, the tyre assumes its familiar form. This “Green Tyre”, as it’s known, is still without its final shape and tread. These are added in the curing process, in which the tyre is “vulcanised” in hot moulds, the “sipes” and “Grooves” which make up the tread pattern are formed and other information including the dimensions and manufacturer’s data added to the sidewalls.

Your car tyres are one of the key components, which can make or mar the vehicle’s performance. It pays to take a little time determining the right tyre for you, safe in the knowledge you’re guaranteed a great deal in tyres online from Avatyre whatever your choice.