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Goodyear fights natural rubber costs with synthetics

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. officials say new proprietary polymers and rubber compounds will replace more than 15% of the company's natural rubber usage "without impacting tire performance."

The materials were developed at Goodyear's technical centers in Akron, Ohio, and Luxembourg.

Two years ago, in response to escalating costs for natural rubber, Joseph Gingo, Goodyear’s executive vice president, quality systems and chief technical officer, implemented plans to increase the company’s rubber substitution flexibility.

"New polymer development is ongoing, but the supply and demand volatility -– which even then showed no signs of subsiding –- created a sense of urgency for our research and development team," he says

Synthetic rubber development does not reduce Goodyear's raw material concerns, says Gingo, but it gives the company "greater flexibility in the event of further natural rubber price increases or supply disruptions and can provide a competitive advantage."

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