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Interview with Dow

Ahead of October's Sustainability in Tires, we heard from expert speaker, Alex Lu, General maneger, Technical Support and Development for Silicone Rubber Products at Dow, to get a sneak peek of what we can expect from his presentation on: The world’s first silicone recyclable self-sealing tire solution from Dow

1. Q1. Your topic will be “The world’s first silicone recyclable self-sealing tire solution from Dow” this year, can you give us a snapshot of what delegates will hear? And why is it important for others in the industry to hear this message?

• We are introducing our SiLASTIC™ Self-sealing Silicone this time. It’s the world’s first silicone recyclable self-sealing tire solution that meets self-sealing tire manufacturers’ demands for high performance and sustainability, while providing drivers and passengers with enhanced lightweight, safety, and durability.
• With growing demands for material circularity and sustainability in the global automotive industry, self-sealing tires are becoming a new solution which enable lighter-weight vehicles. However, the traditional self-sealing tires have great limitations in terms of circularity and manufacturing process.
• As a global leader in silicone technology, Dow made full use of the advantages of silicone materials and innovatively developed SiLASTIC™ Self-sealing Silicone. SiLASTIC™ Self-sealing Silicone sealants can be separated from tires at the end of life, enabling further recyclability of both tires and silicone. The sealant’s processability is also enhanced with reduced cycle time and less processing costs. Tires using SiLASTIC™ Self-sealing Silicone sealants can be easily and quickly manufactured with standard equipment at room temperature without precleaning and pre-compounding.
• We believe that SiLASTIC™ Self-sealing Silicone can bring more possibilities and sustainability benefits to the tire industry.

Q2. What does your company/organization hope to achieve over the next 5 years with regard to sustainability?

• Dow has set new targets around advancing a circular economy and climate protection by focusing on two closely linked issues: reducing carbon emissions and eliminating plastic waste.
• By 2030,
a) Dow will reduce its net annual carbon emissions by 5 million metric tons versus its 2020 baseline, a 15 percent reduction.
b) Dow will transform plastic waste and other forms of alternative feedstock to commercialize 3 million metric tons of circular and renewable solutions annually. To do this, Dow will expand its efforts to stop the waste* by building industrial ecosystems to collect, reuse or recycle waste and expand its portfolio to meet rapidly growing demand.

Q3. In the sustainable context, what do you think are the key challenges facing the industry?

SILASTIC™ Self-sealing Silicone provides the following sustainability benefits throughout tire life cycle:
a) Design: SILASTIC™ Self-sealing Silicone requires only a thin layer of silicone sealant to achieve puncture resistance, thus it reduces vehicle weight and improves vehicle range and fuel efficiency.
b) Production: Tires using SILASTIC™ Self-sealing Silicone sealants can be easily and quickly manufactured with standard equipment at room temperature without precleaning and pre-compounding. This enhanced processability and reduced cycle time enable tire manufacturers to achieve less energy consumption and carbon emission during the self-sealing tire production.
c) Use: SILASTIC™ Self-sealing silicone enables improved fuel efficiency by eliminating a spare tire.
d) End-of-life: SILASTIC™ Self-sealing Silicone sealants can be separated from tires at the end of life, enabling recycling of both tires and silicone in separate waste streams.

Q4. What industry topics are getting the most attention currently? How are these factors influencing the future of the tire value chain?

• Safety: With the rapid development of the global automotive industry, the demand for tires has increased significantly. The growing concern for driver and passenger safety and an increasing number of fatal traffic accidents have led to a rise in demand for quality tires with longer service life, enhanced stability and reliability, and high puncture resistance.
• Sustainability: Environmental concerns are becoming a more important factor in consumer purchasing decisions. Consumer demand for lower emissions is driving automotive OEMs and tire manufacturers to produce products with higher fuel efficiency and recyclability. Carbon footprint reduction, recyclability and sustainability are becoming increasingly important in manufacturing and supply chains of tire industry.
• Increasing demands for safety and sustainability in the tire industry make the use of advanced materials particularly critical. Especially the booming development of new energy vehicles, also put forward higher requirements for tires. Tire manufacturers need to improve processing, enhance product performance, use recyclable materials to meet market requirements.

Q5. What do you think will be some of the most interesting advancements in tire materials or technologies in the near future?

• Dow is investing in several technology and process development enabling silicone material recycling more efficiently. Those development advancements will further accelerate SILASTIC™ Self-sealing Silicone to lead industry’s transition to a more sustainable future.
• With the continuing improvement in self-sealing tire technology and the constant innovation in self-sealing materials, the performance, processes, and costs will be optimized continuously, which permits an ever-expanding market.

Q6. Why do you feel it's important for people to attend the conference this year?

• For the tire industry, energy saving and emission reduction, low-carbon transformation, sustainability, technological innovation, etc. are all hot topics that the industry focuses on.
• It provides an excellent platform for communication among automotive OEMs, tire manufacturers, customers and material companies. While attending the conference, people can learn about the cutting-edge technology, innovative products and future development direction of the tire industry.