Rubber is one of the most used raw materials in the footwear sector for the manufacture of soles for shoes, sheets and other items. However, it needs to be vulcanised so that its physical-chemical characteristics are appropriate for its final use. The vulcanisation is a process which needs temperature, pressure to keep the mould closed, and time, being traditionally carried out in the footwear sector as an intermittent process, which is slow and not very flexible, and therefore limits the production. The main objective of the project is to develop an alternative to this process. For this, the design and realisation of pilot scale prototype with microwave technology for the continuous vulcanisation of rubber items for footwear, was proposed. Microwave technology offers many advantages in comparison with the traditional processes: direct heating of the rubber mass and not the moulds, faster, uniform and selective, better performance, less energy consumption, better quality and reproducibility of the finished product, less heat escaping into the atmosphere, better cleaning, less implantation space, easier maintenance, electronic programming and control, automation capacity, and a more comfortable work atmosphere. Given the versatility which will be attempted to be given to the prototype constructed, on finishing the project, it will be able to be applied to different manufacturing processes in both the footwear and other sectors where vulcanised rubber is needed. The applications of the rubber could be: vulcanisation for soles for footwear. vulcanisation of sheets, vulcanisation of latex foam for innersoles, finishings and coverings of sheets etc.
Funding SchemeEAW - Exploratory awards
18233 Agios Ioannis Rendis