Conference for experts on rubber
Zlín, 11th November 2019 – A conference was held to highlight the results of research and the latest advances in rubber, as well as to allow scientists and people in the industry to meet. So it was that the fifth annual “Gumference” took place on 13th November 2019 at the Centre of Polymer Systems (CPS), part of Tomas Bata University in Zlín (TBU). As in the past, the Centre organised the event in cooperation with Barum Continental Otrokovice.
“The conference is significant, especially since this is a region strongly associated with rubber. Bringing together scientific experts and professionals from home and abroad with mutual interests in the rubber sector permits the sharing of knowledge between them - the insights of scientists and the practical experience of technologists at manufacturing facilities,” said Vladimír Sedlařík, Director of the Centre of Polymer Systems and Rector of Tomas Bata University in Zlín.
Currently, the rubber industry is considered very stable as rubber is inherently a sustainable material. However, an issue has arisen in recent years concerning dramatic decline in the number of experienced individuals with know-how in formulating rubber mixtures over long years of practice.
“Today, there are only a handful of experts and it’s difficult to find young people interested in the field,” added Radek Stoček, who has been intensely involved in rubber research at the Centre of Polymer Systems.
Reduction in the quality of rubber-based products is another pressing problem, as industries place greater emphasis on minimising costs and making efficiencies in development and production. Consequently, there is reason to ensure that manufacturers obtain as much information as possible on the latest scientific advances. This could improve practices in the industry, while also educating the next wave of experts, also boosting quality and the spread of know-how. This very topic is scheduled for discussion at the Gumference.
The rubber industry is well-established in the Zlín region, with production of it having been introduced in 1932 - a total 87 years to date.
“The culture of tyre manufacture continues through Continental Barum in Otrokovice, and Continental Matador Rubber and Continental Matador Truck Tires in Púchov. This year representatives from all three companies are in attendance – members of the Continental Group from the Czech Republic and Slovakia,” said Regina Feiferlíková, the spokesperson for Barum Continental.
The Centre of Polymeric Systems is a research unit at Tomas Bata University in Zlín, a hub for research in the field of rubber, focussing on predicting and characterising the service life of rubber components by simulating real loads on the respective products.
“To this end, the local Rubber Production Processes and Materials Group has been set up by scientists active internationally, who have laboratories available to them furnished with unique equipment with no equivalent anywhere else in the world,” said Petra Svěráková, the spokesperson for the Centre. This group cooperates with major institutions from abroad linked with the CPS through shared research topics. This year’s Gumference welcomes these foreign experts and acts as a showcase for presenting their research findings.
Centrum výzkumu obouvání
Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně