How Are Motorcycle Tires Made?
Have you ever wondered how motorcycle tires are designed and manufactured? Motorcycle tires are one of the most prominent and important features of any bike, and their production reflects that. Typically, tires go through four to five different stages of manufacturing.
Over the years, the types of tires that motorcycles use have changed in design, technology, and performance. Keep reading for a concise description of what typically goes on during the process of manufacturing motorcycle tires.
Components of Your Motorcycle Tires
Motorcycle tires are primarily made of rubber, nylon, and polythene materials. There are varying sizes, designs, and types of motorcycle tires for various uses and applications. Motorcycle tires are broadly classified into two main types: the bias-ply—or cross-belt tires—and the radial tires.
Up until the ’70s, the majority of bikes on the roads rolled on bias-ply tires. However, as technology progressed, motorcycles and their wheels needed better performance for more speed and mileage. In response to the demand, Dunlop started making more performance-oriented tires eventually leading to the development of radial motorcycle tires.
The general structure of both of these tires is similar. There is the tire’s tread cap, the carcass, and the sidewalls. The outermost part is the tread cap which is the part that makes contact with the road. Beneath that is a layer of material called the carcass, which gives form and structure to the tire.
The layer of material constituting the carcass extends down to the sides to form the sidewalls of the tire. It also wraps around the bead, a thick steel cable running through the tread. This applies to both the bias-ply tires and radials.
Process for Manufacturing of Motorcycle Tires
The process for making motorcycle tires goes through 5 stages: preparation of the chemicals or raw materials, extrusion, assembly, curing, and quality control checks. To ensure that the products meet quality standards, each step of the production process is tracked and monitored by safety professionals for compliance and consistency.
Stage 1: Preparation of Raw Materials for the Process
Manufacturing begins with the processing of large pieces of natural and synthetic rubber through a device known as the conveyor at which point small chunks of unwanted materials present in the raw materials are removed.
In the material-cutting stage, different raw materials—such as polyester, Aramid, Kevlar, nylon, and so on—are similarly prepped. The combination of these materials is known as tire plies.
For additional benefits and features, select materials including carbon black, silica, and sulfur are added to the mix. These materials are mixed in a giant heated vat while supervisors regulate pressure and closely monitor the process. At the end of this stage, the rubber compounds look like long flat sheets.
Stage 2: Extrusion
During the extrusion phase, the warm rubber sheets are pushed through machines to form long strips of rubber. This process may vary depending on the specific tire components that are being made. The carcass and sidewalls are formed at this stage. Next, steel cords are inserted in the tire carcass to make the tire bead.
Stage 3: Assembly
The assembly of the carcass is done on a large drum. The already-made carcass layer is rolled out and carefully measured and cut. The exterior tread layer is added as soon as the internal layers are formed. Once the exterior tread layer is added, the tires are removed from the drum.
Stage 4: Curing
Curing refers to a chemical reaction or vulcanization that transforms the tire into an elastic state, binding the rubber materials to the cords and other reinforcement. In the curing chambers, the tire is subjected to controlled heat, pressure, and time.
In the mold chambers, a tire tread pattern is applied to green tires, typically by pushing into the mold. The temperature is raised to up to 170° Fahrenheit. Once the molding is done, the tires are allowed to cool down.
Stage 5: Quality Control
While the entire development process is closely monitored, there is still a final quality check. To ensure consistency and compliance with quality requirements, the professionals at Dunlop take their time to check each tire manually.
At this point, defects are spotted and fixed. Laser rays are used to ensure proper construction. Finally, the tire is tested on a specially designed road simulator. Usually, few tires fail these tests — less than 0.11% of all the tires made.
Contact Us Today! If you are interested in new tires for your bike that are fresh off the production line, contact Dunlop Motorcycle Tires today to get started.