Fire-hose Excellent Manufacturing by means of an I.. (FOIRCEV)
Fire-hose Excellent Manufacturing by means of an Innovative Rubber Compounding-Extrusion-Vulcanization process
Start date: Nov 1, 2008,
End date: Jan 31, 2011
"Lay flat rubber fire hoses are a specialized product based on technology knowledge. They differentiate from lower cost alternatives in their durability, performance and their maintenance-free lifetime. Competition from low labor cost countries, presently based on lower cost alternatives, has already covered most of the building fire-fighting equipment market. European manufacturers’ technology allow them manufacture higher quality hoses so far, and this gives them the world leadership in production and exports. However, there is an important manufacturing weakness that endangers this leadership. The project will try to overcome the problems on the manufacturing of lay flat fire/industrial rubber hoses. In the manufacturing process, a NBR/PVC rubber compound is extruded through a textile jacket, and the covered (in and out) hose is vulcanized in a discontinuous process with water steam injected into the rubber hose. In the vulcanization step, blisters frequently appear on the surface of the rubber hose, leading to a very important rate of rejection. Impurities on the rubber compound, due to insufficient dispersion of the components or coming with the raw materials, could introduce surface defects on the rubber inner cover leading to the defects on the outer surface. The project will try to study, by using Case Based Reasoning (CBR), the effect of the raw materials and mixing parameters on the rejection rate to identify the cause of the problem, and new formulations will be designed. Some changes on the current discontinuous manufacturing process will also be implemented to lower the rejection rate. Current discontinuous process limits the maximum length of the hoses, and continuous vulcanization systems for this product will be designed and tested."
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