More Transparency in the Natural Rubber Supply Chain Made Possible by Invisible Markers on Tires | GlobalSupplychain News

More Transparency in the Natural Rubber Supply Chain Made Possible by Invisible Markers on Tires

More Transparency in the Natural Rubber Supply Chain Made Possible by Invisible Markers on Tires
Written by Rajesh Tamada
  • Marker substance allows geographical origin of raw materials to be verified.
  • Field testing successfully completed – marker substance can be verified throughout tire production process, to enable sustainability and circularity.
  • In the long term, Continental plans to use the marker substance on a large scale in rubber products.
  • SMX have active onboarding processes with other major tire manufacturers to create an industry standard.

Continental and SMX (Security Matters) Public Limited Company (NASDAQ: SMX) (NASDAQ: SMXWW), have succeeded for the first time in verifying a marker substance for natural rubber in a tire and so throughout the entire production process. The dedicated marker technology, which both companies optimized for use in natural rubber, is designed to create greater transparency along the entire value chain of tires and technical rubber products from Continental. Provided with special security features, the use of the marker substances enables the invisible marking of natural rubber with information on its geographical origin. This means, for example, that responsibly sourced natural rubber and its origin can be verified at every stage of the supply chain all the way through to the customer. By doing so, Continental is further strengthening its pioneering role in its commitment to greater transparency along its supply chain. By 2050 at the latest, Continental expects that all materials that it uses in its tire production will originate from responsible sources.

“We see huge potential in marker technology. It will help us in the future to ensure that the natural rubber we use in our tires is grown and sourced entirely responsibly,” says Claus Petschick, Head of Sustainability at Continental Tires. “Over the long term, we believe that marker technology could help to make the sometimes highly complex processes in our supply chains more transparent and verifiable. With Security Matters, we have by our side an innovative tech platform for the development and trialing of marker technology.”

In the successfully completed field test, the marker substance underwent and passed a real test of resilience. The substance was added to responsibly grown latex during harvesting and withstood not only the intensive preparations involved in the production of natural rubber but also the tire manufacturing process itself. In the manufactured tire, the data was retrieved using special, purpose-built software and a reader and correctly interpreted. The appearance and performance of a bicycle tire containing the invisible marker remained unchanged.

Smallholders taught how to use the marker substance

For the field test, natural rubber grown as part of a joint project run by Continental and the German development aid agency ‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit’ (GIZ) in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan was used and enriched with the markers. The project focuses on education and digitalization as the keys to establishing sustainable supply chains for natural rubber. Local smallholders were taught how the marker substances work and in what concentration they need to be added to the latex.

Clear ambition for the future: large-scale use in rubber products

Now that the technology has passed its first test of resilience, Continental is planning to use the new marker technology on a larger scale in the future during the process of sourcing its rubber and also to integrate it in other rubber products. As part of the industrialization of this technology, it is conceivable to link the markers with blockchain technology, which is generally considered tamper-proof. This could provide additional support for tamper-free monitoring of compliance with quality standards and quality criteria along the complex supply chain of natural rubber.

“Together with Continental, SMX will use marker, reader and digital technology to further improve the transparency of the natural rubber supply chain and enable sustainability and circularity.” says Haggai Alon, CEO of SMX.

News Source: Yahoo Finance