What is the uniqueness of rubber, or innovative formulas of «Belshina», an article in the journal «Vestnik Belneftekhim»
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The economic effect in the amount of 1.5 million rubles from September 2020 to July 2021 was received by JSC Belshina based on the results of scientific research. The qualitative effect is also impressive: the specialists of the enterprise and scientists of the Belarusian State Technological University, who work in the framework of the branch laboratory of the tire industry, managed to reduce the heat generation of some tire models. The difference between the previous and current indicators in some cases reached 8%.
- «Belshina» demonstrates high innovative potential, and this factor makes it possible to ensure the competitiveness of its products. Today we see that the decision on the expediency of creating a branch laboratory of the tire industry is fully justified, - states Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Shumilin , who visited at the enterprise.
On a par with the best analogues
For our country, the activity of branch laboratories (OL) is a relatively new direction. Petrochemical enterprises were among the first to actively develop it. So, the updated order on the creation of the OL of the tire industry is dated January 24, 2018. The scientific core was initially determined by BSTU, the industrial site - OJSC «Belshina», where, in fact, specialized equipment is located and tests are carried out.
Among the main activities of the new structure, not only the implementation of research, development and experimental-technological research, but also the development of practical recommendations to improve the efficiency of existing production, as well as scientific support for the implementation of business plans of JSC «Belshina» in the modernization of existing and the introduction of advanced technological processes for the production of tires, the organization of the release of new standard sizes of tires. The specialists of the enterprise, in particular the central plant laboratory, and the scientific personnel of the university have a comprehensive approach to solving technical, economic and environmental problems, and primarily focus on the study of cause-and-effect relationships in the existing chemical and technological systems «design - raw materials - technology for processing elastomers - quality of semi-finished products - productivity - production cost - ecology».
- Our goal is to develop highly efficient technologies and improve the existing production facilities of JSC Belshina for the production of competitive products that would not be inferior in quality to the best foreign counterparts, - says Chief Chemist - Head of the Central Laboratory of JSC Belshina Andrey Lyushtyk. - This is achieved by establishing the dependences of the chemical transformations of the ingredients of elastomeric compositions at various stages of the technological process of tire production, as well as the creation and implementation of innovative technologies for the processing of elastomers at our enterprise.
The main advantage of the branch laboratory is that its work is based on close interaction between science and industry. This allows you to increase the return on science and helps to introduce the results of scientific activities into production. In fact, an industry laboratory is an additional tool that stimulates the development of the industry and, in particular, Belshina OJSC.
- To produce innovative high-tech products, the modern real sector of the economy needs new technical solutions. However, it is hard for production workers to do it alone, without science and scientific personnel, - says Alexander Shumilin. That is why a purposeful state policy is being pursued in Belarus to create sectoral laboratories at industrial enterprises. The domestic petrochemical complex quickly assessed the new prospects, and we see the corresponding results on the example of Belshina.
A glimpse into the nanoscale
According to the State Committee for Science and Technology, the technical equipment of the industrial laboratory of the tire industry in 2018-2019 increased by 3.5 times. The total cost of work performed (services rendered) in 2020 doubled compared to 2018, including the cost of services rendered to external users in nine months of 2020 compared to 2018 increased by 2.8 times. In turn, due to the increase in the cost of work performed (services rendered), capital productivity increased almost 2 times, productivity - by 41%. It is necessary to note the increased indicator of the degree of orientation of the laboratory towards external users - by 40%.
The peak of active work on renewal of the branch laboratory of the tire industry fell on the last year. The project to update its material and technical base was submitted to an open competition of the Republican Centralized Innovation Fund, as a result of which over 3 million rubles were allocated. Thanks to this, today the branch laboratory operating at JSC Belshina is equipped with modern and even unique equipment. Thus, the company got the opportunity to expand the list of tests carried out, including according to the international ASTM and ISO methods, to strengthen quality control of raw materials for homologation, coming from various manufacturers and suppliers.
In particular, Belshina's specialists have at their disposal a universal polymer analyzer based on gel permeation chromatography. It is used to determine the molecular weight and molecular weight distribution of polymers, including natural rubber. The availability of such information allows the rational distribution of natural rubber. For example, to improve the performance of super-large tires, polymers with higher molecular weights are added to particularly “critical” rubber compounds.
The LAT-100 laboratory abrasion and slip tester, used in conjunction with the DMA Gabo Eplexor dynamic mechanical analyzer, made it possible to significantly reduce the time to obtain a result of the effectiveness of recipe changes. Moreover, even at the stage of formulating the tires, the specialists of the enterprise can now predict the performance and fuel efficiency of tires.
«There are no analogues to the LAT-100 device, it is the best in the segment of its purpose», explains Andrey Lyushtyk. - LAT-100 allows you to determine adhesion characteristics in all types - grip on ice, on a wet road, as well as wear resistance - when tires are used in difficult conditions, at elevated temperatures, and so on. With this device, we create improved tread rubber samples. Correlation of readings obtained with this instrument in real conditions is 80%. Prices on the market change quickly, but we can quickly get new rubber compounds without losing properties. Maneuvering in this way, over the past 11 months, we received 1.5 million rubles as an economic effect.
CPL employees pay special attention to the systematic study of the quality of raw materials for a reason. As you know, rubber is 50% polymer and 30-35% filler (carbon black). Despite the fact that we are talking only about two long and well-known types of raw materials, each of them is a separate world. For example, one kilogram of carbon black is 120 m2 of surface, so it is porous. At one time in the scientific world about the revolutionary discovery - the effect of the combination of carbon black and rubber, there was even a joke that this was the "wedding of the century". Rubber without carbon black does not provide the unique properties of rubber, and neither does carbon black. And given the uniqueness of rubber - its ability to deform repeatedly without destruction, as well as the fact that, according to modern scientists, the potential of this material is used only by 30%, the process of studying and improving its composition is endless.
- The equipment of the industry laboratory allows us not only to indirectly assess the quality of raw materials, but also to «look inside» - to the nanoscale, - continues Andrey Lyushtyk. - After all, all the interaction and basic properties of rubber are made up of mechanisms that work at the nanoscale, and this gives us additional opportunities to improve the efficiency of both the industry laboratory and the entire enterprise.
In general, the chief chemist of OJSC Belshina notes, the laboratory devices purchased last year allow production workers and scientists to develop new recipes using the most suitable ingredients, taking into account the production technology and the specifics of raw materials, as well as improve the quality of products.
A new list of equipment has already been formed, which is tentatively estimated at 2.6 million rubles. It is assumed that it will be purchased in 2021-2022. When compiling the list, it was taken into account that the company intends to focus in the near future on extra-large tires - on increasing their operational endurance. Therefore, the request includes instruments for in-vitro evaluation of punctures and cuts of the SKGSH and other tread rubbers.
According to Alexander Shumilin, the State Committee for Science and Technology always scrupulously approaches the definition of the list of scientific equipment, instruments and components purchased at the expense of the republican budget, provided for financing scientific, scientific, technical and innovative activities for the next financial year. The application of the branch laboratory of the tire industry will be considered in accordance with the procedure established by law.
"Shoes" for electric cars
At a meeting with the management and staff of Belshina, Alexander Shumilin raised the issue of creating tires for electric cars in the future. With the increasing popularity of this type of transport, the automotive industry is changing, including new components. This also applies to the tire market.
Experts say that resistance to rolling forces is a key consideration in developing a shoe for electric vehicles. That is, the resistance to movement that occurs when the wheel rolls over the surface. The cause of rolling friction is the deformation of the tire, which acts as a kind of roller, and the supporting surface. The lower the rolling friction, the less effort the engine needs to make to move, and the less effort, the less energy is consumed. At the same time, electric cars have an increased weight due to a heavy battery and a higher torque during acceleration and acceleration. Consequently, tires on electric vehicles wear out 2 times faster than on cars with a conventional engine. Therefore, for tire manufacturers, the number one task in this context is the creation of special, energy-efficient tires.
«The concept of developing a tire for electric vehicles should be aimed at reducing fuel efficiency», emphasizes Alexander Shumilin. Therefore, Belshina has to continue to follow the innovative vector.
In particular, BELGI CJSC has recently completed tests of a new model - the Geely Geometria C electric car. According to the press service of the enterprise, its deliveries to the Belarusian market are scheduled for the 4th quarter of 2021. The model is formed in the form of a hatchback, the range on one charge is 550 km. Made in China, this vehicle features a range of innovative solutions, from active safety systems to design. It is expected that if it is in demand by Belarusians, then next year BELGI will use its own facilities for production and assembly.
OJSC Belshina, as you know, is a full-fledged participant in the national project for the production of cars and an irreplaceable business partner of BELGI. Both enterprises have been cooperating since the very beginning of the opening of a Chinese-Belarusian auto company near Minsk. When it reaches a different quality level, the Bobruisk tire manufacturer will also have to meet the new requirements.
And in the nearest plans of the branch laboratory of the tire industry, as noted during the visit of Alexander Shumilin, - the development of technologies for the manufacture of passenger tires with improved performance characteristics (with a reduced rolling resistance coefficient, increased grip on a wet road, improved mileage), the creation of new formulations of an elastomeric composition for truck tire tread with improved abrasion resistance, as well as the introduction of new sizes of agricultural tires, improving the performance of extra-large tires.
According to the head of the State Committee for Science and Technology, «Belshina» OJSC is one of the most active organizations in the petrochemical industry in creating intellectual property objects and their commercialization. Last year alone, the enterprise was granted four patents for useful designs, three for useful models, and two for inventions. This allows us to assume that «Belshina» will cope with the new tasks for the development and implementation of innovative products with the scientific support of BSTU.