Hankook Tires share some knowledsge
Q: Where does Hankook stand on the inclusion of post-consumer tires in the make-up of new tires?
A: The use of post-consumer tires is an interesting idea. The process of using post-consumer tires in manufacturing a new tire is not as simple as it seems.
A tire is built by bonding together hundreds of different raw materials, from steel to synthetic rubber, which in itself is a blend of various raw ingredients. In order to use post-consumer tires in development, the separation and extraction of the raw materials is required. The development of this process is the most important step to realizing the goal of using post-consumer tires in a new tire.
Raw material extraction technology, such as the extraction of oil from post-consumer tires, is currently in development and Hankook Tire is monitoring such new technological innovations around the world.
Q: Other than these new and advanced compounds, what else is Hankook doing to improve or maintain the quality of our environment? Relatedly, of the approximate 5% of revenue invested in R&D, how much of it is reserved for the “green” effort, and can Hankook see a day where all of its operations will be done using all of the most advanced environmentally friendly tire production technology?
A: Hankook Tire views environmental responsibility as a priority. We have established supervision and management systems in our plants, and continue to make active efforts and improvements in energy saving practices, the treatment of exhaust gasoline and waste water, and noise control.
Control of Air Pollutants:
The control and treatment of air pollutants that are generated in the rubber mixing process has long been a difficult issue in the tire manufacturing industry. Overseas, CRCO (Concentrator Regenerative Catalytic Oxidizer) has been proven effective in treating these air pollutants, and Hankook Tire promptly incorporated it into the rubber mixing process.
Since that time, the air pollutant emissions at Hankook Tire’s plants have been dramatically reduced by over 90%, a percentage which has been widely recognized by environmental experts, government, and community residents. In China, Hankook became the first tire manufacturer to use effective treatment of air pollutants.
Furthermore, Hankook Tire’s five R&D centres regularly sample, test and analyze the air surrounding all our plants, and monitor odor concentration, all to contribute to providing a safe and reliable living environment for surrounding residents.
Treatment of Waste Water:
Authorities strictly regulate and control the discharge and recycling of waste water in all areas in which Hankook Tire operates. For effective recycling of steam condensate water, Hankook made an investment to improve the utilization of waste water, and incorporated a low-pressure steam to save the water resource.
Hankook Tire has significantly reduced noise during production through initiatives such as noise insulation, shock absorption and tree planting, from an intensity of 80 to 90 dB (A). Hankook Tire locations around the world plant as many trees as possible to provide employees with a pleasant work environment. For example, two plants located in China (the Huai’an Plant and the Jiaxing Plant) have reached 36,000 m² and 80,000 m² in green areas, respectively.
Energy Saving and Emission Reduction:
Hankook Tire’s plants conduct various energy saving and emission reduction campaigns to improve the existing energy structure, operation management and structural adjustment of their plants. The government has mandated that energy savings be a focus for manufacturers, and Hankook Tire has developed programs that have led to the total emission of air pollutants being far below the nationally required minimum standards and industrial averages.
Hankook Tire has focused on developing a supply-chain partnership that enables the company to achieve sustainable growth and development centred on trust-based relationships with suppliers. Endeavours to facilitate green purchasing with the expansion of eco-friendly materials (materials that contain low to zero PAH or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) that are nontoxic to the human body is important, as is continued assistance in the development of green products that provide higher fuel and performance efficiency.
These efforts are critical in enhancing the environmental value of our products, and are an important step in expanding customer service relations throughout the entire business process.
Research is also underway at Hankook to find optimum silica compositions and mixing rations that gradually reduce the consumption of carbon black, a raw material that is produced through the incomplete combustion of oil which has a tremendous impact on the environment. Silica is also advantageous in improving fuel efficiency, and thus has warranted the creation of a dedicated task force for proactive research in Hankook Tire’s R&D centres.
In 2011, Hankook experienced a 7% year-over-year increase in the purchasing of eco-friendly materials, and the company plans to further improve in 2012.
Q: Clearly, there is a cost involved in developing such cutting-edge technology. Will it pay for Hankook to continue to invest as it currently has been?
A: Research and development are at the heart of Hankook Tire. With the global market as vast as it is, we understand the importance of remaining competitive.
True competitiveness originates through providing high performance, high quality products that satisfy consumer needs from racing to low rolling resistance tires. Hankook Tire will continue to invest in R&D to develop and produce the most suitable products for every market, including the complex landscape of Canada.