Why You Must Prevent Clogged Micro Vents When Manufacturing Tires

Tire Manufacturing Facility

EZ-Kote provides the rubber manufacturing industry with superior, water-based mold release agents, including ones that help make your industrial processes more efficient and cost-effective.

Our experts discuss why tire manufacturers must prevent clogged micro vents (small spaces within a mold that allow air to be vented out) in their industrial equipment and how to prevent the problem.

Tire Manufacturing Requires Precision Along Many Steps

Synthetic rubber requires precise conditions to heat up, cool down, and form the right shape for pneumatic tires. You have to blend the rubber properly before it flattens into sheets. Then you have to reinforce it and add the steel belts before your machines add all of these parts into a complex shape. Then you need to bake it in a mold again to vulcanize it. 

Those Tiny Whiskers on New Tires

When you look at new tires, you see those tiny whiskers on them. Those are the product of the micro vents used during the molding process. When the treads take shape, the soft rubber turns into the hardened, vulcanized final product.

You want those whiskers (called vent spews) on your tires. They offer signs your mold release works properly. They give your staff a chance to inspect for clogged micro vents without getting into the mold itself.

If you don’t see those whiskers, that’s not good. You’ve got some clogged micro vents on your hands.

Why You Need Unclogged Micro Vents

Heating the tire to anywhere from 300 to 400 degrees allows the vulcanization process to take hold. Micro vents in the mold allow the tire to stay cool over time. If the mold chamber gets too hot, the tire is ruined. You can’t go back and remake it. That failure gets tossed into the recycle bin, and you’ve just wasted product materials. 

When this happens, you have to shut down the line and take staff time to unclog the micro vents of the tire molds. Sure, you have the tools to do this. But you have to tag out the machinery so that it’s not operable. Your teams must follow safety protocols for cleaning. Then you need to let the mold cool enough before someone can get close to the micro vents. 

This takes time.

How to Solve Clogged Micro Vents

You have four options to solve for clogged micro vents during your production process.

  1. Clean the mold when the clogs cause a breakdown. To do this, you generally blast the mold with grit or sand. Unfortunately, this can wear down the mold over time and causes it to break down more quickly while shortening its lifespan. Then you have to replace it sooner than you expect.
  2. You can also use dry ice to clean the micro vents. Yes, this offers less clean-up than the grit option, but it still causes wear and tear on the mold. Although the sudden jet of cold air doesn’t cause major problems, over time, this could cause damage to the surface of the mold.
  3. Of course, you can also use a specialized drill and drill bit to clear out the tire mold. But it still doesn’t solve the problem of downtime that occurs every single time you are faced with clogged micro vents that cause defective SKUs.
  4. A practical alternative is to prevent clogged micro vents with a water-based mold release agent. EZ-Kote makes products specifically for the rubber industry so that your mold releases easily and effortlessly, even with deep treads. You’ll have fewer defects; your inspectors can see all of the whiskers are in place, and you reduce your downtime due to clogged micro vents. Your molds also last longer. 

An investment in a mold release agent as a preventative measure costs less than having to buy new molds sooner than you’re ready. Heavy equipment parts are expensive. The chemistry to protect them is much more cost-effective for long-term success.

When production quotas and time to market drive your tire manufacturing process, your equipment must be reliable and perform as you expect. Our mold release agents keep your tire molds operating at the right temperature over and over again when you apply our chemistry the correct way.

Talk to EZ-Kote Today

Looking for world-class, water-based mold release agents for your tire molds? EZ-Kote’s engineers and experienced chemists can show you how to improve your industrial processes to save money and reduce costs.

Contact EZ-Kote or call (770) 720-1811 for more information on our mold release solutions for your company.