Rubber is used all over the world for many purposes including automotive, agricultural, industrial, and in shoes and boots.
According to data from the International Rubber Study Group, in 2015 about 12 million tonnes of natural rubber have been produced. There are many different types of rubber produced for industrial use, including silicone, natural latex and hypalon. The product to be manufactured determines the type of rubber that would be used.
Common items made of rubber are shoes, toys, erasers and rubber bands. Larger primary uses are tires, pipeline gaskets and PVC water stoppers. All rubber parts are used in various places due to its flexible nature and its functionality. It plays a major role in the automobile industry, and about 75-80% of the rubber used in the U.S. is used for automotive purposes. The average automobile has around two hundred (give or take) parts made of rubber, including the tires and tubes. Rubber is used in a automobile in almost all forms as latex, soft and hard rubber, or sponge rubber.
In the Beauty Industry, silicone rubber provides all of the necessary qualities, and can be molded and cut into a preferred shape, and can be assembled.
Rubber bands are usually manufactured using natural rubber because of its great elasticity. One of the largest buyers of rubber bands in the world is the U.S. Post Office for the use of sorting and delivery of mail. Other consumers of rubber bands are the agricultural and flower industries. Softer rubber bands are used to hold vegetables that are bound together, and flowers have soft rubber bands on the ends to hold together. Also, the plastic that covers tomatoes, cauliflower and green onions are held in place with rubber bands, too. The newspaper industry also uses rubber bands to keep papers rolled together before delivery.
Rubber is used in natural and synthetic form. Synthetic rubber is made by polymerization of various petroleum oil-based substances (such as nylon, teflon, and polyester) called monomers. The transportation industry is the biggest user of rubber to manufacture tires. Natural rubber is made from the latex from the Hevea brasiliensis plant.
Examples of natural and synthetic rubber equipment and supplies are:
- surgical gloves, contraceptives and catheters etc., that are widely used in Healthcare facilities; although these products must be produced in a safe, contamination-free environment. The healthcare industry demands high quality rubber supplies to control contamination and provide safety. Even the shoes worn by medical staff provide the rubber protection they need.
- footwear, erasers and sporting good equipment. Shoe-soles made with rubber provide protection by absorbing electricity during movement like walking or running. Pencil erasers, in which rubber was initially used to erase markings, are made with rubber and sport equipment such as footballs and basketballs are made with tough, durable rubber. This is why these supplies provide longevity and durability.
- hoses, tubes and conveyor belts. Hoses are produced in a wide variety of elastomers of hardness and strength. Rubber tubes are supplied for flow lines for fluids and gases used in the oil and gas industry, and conveyor belts that carry materials at slow speed. These belts are commonly seen at grocery stores, big-chain retails, and warehouses.
Overall, whether big or small, rubber provides the substance we all need for optimal functionality.