Tires are round, rubber, ring shaped covering that goes on a metal rim. They are used on transport such as cars and trucks. Tires provide a flexible surface for contact with road surfaces. Most tires are made from synthetic rubber, natural rubber, fabric and wire. They consist of two major parts; the tread and the body. Tires can come in a variety of sizes and treads depending on the type of vehicle they will be used on. The tread on a tire is what gives vehicle wheels traction. Tires are filled with pressurized air to provide a cushion that absorbs shock whilst still allowing the vehicle to maintain traction and contact with the road surface.
How are tires made?
There are four parts to a tire these are: the bead, the body, the sidewall and the tread. Each of these components in made in the tire factory using specialized machines.
1. The first step in making a tire is to create the rubber that the tire is going to be made from. (For more information on how rubber is made see our article – how is rubber made).
2. The beads are made from high-strength steel that is coated in rubber. It is the beads that keep the tire in place once it is mounted on a rim. It is also the beads that give the tires the ability to maintain its shape under pressure.
3.The body of a tire is made up of layers of different fabrics such as polyester cord. These fabrics are also coated with rubber to enable them to be bonded together.
4.The sidewall of a tire is made of heavy duty rubber and provides the tire with stability and protects the body plies. The tread is the patterned part of the tire and is made from both synthetic and natural rubbers. It is extruded from a special machine in long lengths which are then cut to size.
The tire machine combines the tire parts to create a tire that is the right size and dimensions. They are formed around a tire making drum. This tire has no tread pattern and is not yet bonded together or air tight. Each section of the tire is spliced to ensure that it will stay together. This tire is referred to as a green tire as it has not yet been cured. The tire is then run into a curing machine. It is here that the tire receives its tread patterns and markings. It is placed inside the required mold and heated under pressure in a process called vulcanizing. Once the tire has been molded, it is released from the mold. The tire stays fully inflated until it has cooled. Once this has occurred the tire is measured and tested to ensure its quality and safely.