Wikijunior:How Things Are Made/Rubber/Rubber band
Rubber bands are used by numerous individuals and industries for a wide variety of purposes (Usually the main function is used for holds things together). The largest consumer of rubber bands in the world is the U.S. Post Office, which orders millions of pounds a year to use in sorting and delivering piles of mail.
What do we need to make this thing?
Rubber bands are made from organic rubber, which is collected from rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) because it offers superior elasticity.
Natural rubber comes from latex, a milky fluid composed primarily of water with a smaller amount of rubber and trace amounts of resin, protein, sugar, and mineral matter.Natural rubber comes from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis).
What is the step by step process?
- Step 1: The initial stage of manufacturing the harvested latex usually takes place on the rubber plantation, prior to packing and shipping. The first step in processing the latex is purification, which entails straining it to remove the other constituent elements apart from rubber and to filter out impurities such
as tree sap and debris.
- Step 2: The rubber milk is now collected in large vats. Combined with acetic or formic acid, the rubber particles cling together to form slabs.
- Step 3: The slabs are squeezed between rollers to remove excess water and pressed into bales or blocks, usually 0.6 - 0.9 square meters, ready for shipping to factories. The size of the blocks depends on what the individual plantation can accommodate.
- Step 4: The rubber is then shipped to a rubber factory. Here, the slabs are machine cut (or chopped) into small pieces. Next, many manufacturers use a Banbury Mixer to mix the rubber with other ingredients such as sulfur to vulcanize it, pigments to color it, and other chemicals to increase or diminish the elasticity of the resulting rubber bands.
- Step 5: Milling, the next phase of production, entails heating the rubber (a blended mass if it has been mixed, discrete pieces if it has not)and squeezing it flat in a milling machine.
- Step 6: After milling, flattened rubber leaves the milling machine, it is cut into strips. The strips are then fed into an extruding machine which forces the rubber out in long, hollow tubes
- Step 7: The tubes of rubber are then forced over aluminum poles called mandrels, which have been covered with talcum powder to keep the rubber from sticking. Although the rubber has already been vulcanized, it's rather brittle at this point, and needs to be "cured" before it is elastic and usable. To accomplish this, the poles are loaded onto racks that are steamed and heated in large machines.
- Step 8: Removed from the poles and washed to remove the talcum powder, the tubes of rubber are fed into another machine that slices them into finished rubber bands.Rubber bands are sold by weight, and, because they tend to clump together, only small quantities can be weighed accurately by machines. Generally, any package over 2 kilograms can be loaded by machine but will still require manual weighing