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  • What Countries Produce the Most Rubber?
    Before we can answer this article’s titular question, we have to start with a bit of clarification. There are two types of rubber, synthetic and natural, that differ greatly in terms of the production process. Synthetic rubber is oil-based, produced in a chemical factory, while natural rubber comes from trees grown in tropical climates.

    The U.S., China, Japan and several Western European countries lead the market in producing synthetic rubbers. However, this article will focus specifically on countries that produce high volumes of natural rubber, which comes from rubber trees. Now, let’s answer the question.
     

    What countries export rubber?

    There are 28 countries worldwide that produce natural rubber. The most distinct characteristic they share is a tropical climate. Tropical climates with consistent temperatures around 82℉ support healthy rubber trees. Rubber trees also thrive in deep soil with resistance to flooding and in areas where the annual rainfall remains between 60 and 78 inches. 

    Countries with this ideal equatorial climate that produce natural rubber are found primarily in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Rubber tree farms in these areas are reminiscent of maple tree farms in the Northeast U.S. where trees are grown in formation and tapped with spigots and buckets. But instead of maple syrup, rubber tree farmers tap latex, which is used to make raw natural rubber.
     
    Image credit britannica

    Approximately 85-90% of rubber tree farms are small businesses, often owned by families. These farmers process the latex into a powder, block, sheet or other form before shipping to rubber supply companies. 
     

    What countries produce the most rubber?

    Many countries produce and export natural rubber, but there are a handful of countries, specifically in Southeast Asia, that surpass all others. According to statistics released by the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC), three countries produce about 70% of the world’s current natural rubber supply, all of which are located in Southeast Asia. 

    For decades, Thailand has been the world’s biggest producer of rubber, growing 35% of the world’s natural rubber supply in 2019. The top ten countries that produced the most rubber in 2019 are as follows:
     
    1. Thailand
    2. Indonesia
    3. Vietnam
    4. India
    5. China
    6. Malaysia
    7. Philippines
    8. Guatemala
    9. Côte-d-Ivoire
    10. Myanmar
    This list has remained fairly stable for the past decade or so, but the rubber industry wasn’t always like this. For example, at the forefront of the 20th century, Brazil became the first nation to grow rubber trees commercially, producing almost all the world’s rubber - around 99%. Today, it produces less than 1% of the world’s natural rubber.
     

    Know your rubber supply chain

    While some desert states and greenhouses have successfully grown rubber trees, the United States does not have the proper natural climate for rubber trees to thrive. This means rubber molding companies and distributors are required to import natural rubber from high-producing countries like Thailand and Indonesia.

    Rubber-producing countries have their fair share of supply chain disruptions. For example in 2019 a typhoon named Storm Pabuk caused hundreds of millions in damages and led to a temporary closure of all docks in Thailand. More recently, COVID-related shutdowns have caused pauses and blips in the supply chain that have impacted rubber business lead times and customer service in the U.S.

    Those who work in the rubber industry must maintain a global mindset and stay aware of what’s happening in Southeast Asia. This makes it easier to predict and get ahead of supply chain issues. 


    How many custom mixers does a rubber parts manufacturer work with?


    In general, a diverse rubber products manufacturer will have at least three custom mixers: 
     
    • One for organic rubbers, including EPDM, Nitrile, SBR and natural
    • One for silicone rubber
    • One for fluoroelastomers 
    External factors like market price, service and physical proximity influence how many custom mixers a rubber molding company works with. The closer a company is to affordable mixers who offer dependable service, the less likely they are to seek out alternatives. However, it’s always wise to have a backup option in case of supply chain disruption. 

    The rubber supplier industry is relatively decentralized with some small businesses thriving in their space and two well-known, larger custom mixers that many brands work with. 
     
    • Hexpol is a Swedish company with global buying power, making them a dependable resource.
    • Wacker Chemical (pronounced ‘Vacker’ Chemical) is a German-based manufacturer of silicone rubber. 


    Addressing supply chain disruptions

    In the last two years, disruptions have caused several issues up and down the natural rubber supply chain, mainly surrounding ingredient availability. When a custom mixer runs short on rubber or can’t provide a certain key ingredient for a company’s formula, substitutions must be made. 

    Sometimes these substitutions fit right in, other times they don’t work at all, leading to poor product quality and causing delays in shipment. Wise rubber molding companies prepare for the worst by establishing variations on existing formulas that allow for the use of approved substitutions. 

    At Custom Rubber Corp., we have excellent working relationships with all of our custom mixers, which are almost always able to provide consistent material quality and delivery. We believe the best defenses against supply chain issues is adequate preparation and healthy business relationships.

    Inquire about availability, get advice on substitutions or reach out and chat with us about the world’s biggest rubber custom mixers here. 
     
    Posted Thursday, May 12, 2022 by: Global Administrator
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  • Custom Rubber Focusing on Employees - Now and in the Future

    Custom Rubber Corp. President, Charlie Braun, was recently selected by their insurance carrier Acuity to share some thoughts around employees - now and in the future.  Watch these two videos.

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  • Custom Rubber Corp. Upgrading and Expanding

    The Holidays brought new presents to Custom Rubber Corp.  A total of four new machines arrived December 23rd, just in time for the Holidays!
    Some of the machines are additional capacity, some are upgrades to machines that were old and needed to be replaced.  Custom Rubber Corp.'s commitment to our customers and our employees is to continuously upgrade our equipment to make sure every machine we run is dependable easy for operators to use.
     

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  • Custom Rubber Corp. continues to add new products and customers

    Custom Rubber Corp. continues to add new products and customers.  The website is a catalog of success - successes organized by industry and by application-product usage.  Some of the recent additions are in Automotive, Protective Cases, Rubber to Metal Bonding, Electronics, Round Gaskets and Seals, and more.

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  • More Part Examples Posted

    Custom Rubber Corp. has added two more part examples to the website.  Read on....

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  • Custom Rubber Corp. adds new Videos to YouTube channel

    Custom Rubber Corp. added five new videos to the company's YouTube channel.  All the videos will be used for instructional purposes during the shift-start meetings that take place every day. 

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  • Custom Rubber - Second Place, Educational Outreadh

    Custom Rubber Corp. won Second Place for the ARPM's Educational Outreach Award in late 2019.

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  • "Engineer for a Day" Tour

    On February 22, 2019, Custom Rubber Corp. hosted high school students for a day-long exposure to Engineering.  The event is organized annually by Cleveland State University and Custom Rubber Corp. has participated the last three years.  
    The tour event was also the first time Custom Rubber Corp. used a new audio tour guide system.  After winning a $750 prize associated with the "Educational Outreach" award from ARPM (Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers), CRC purchased a system of 10 receiving headphones and a microphone transmitter.  
     

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  • Custom Rubber Corp.'s Innovative Use of Vision Technology

    John Bellett presented at the Industry Benchmarking conference about Custom Rubber Corp.'s innovative use of vision technology, both for part inspection and also for mold safety. (Photo Courtesy of Creative Technology)

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  • Developing Next Generation

    Custom Rubber Corp. presented at the annual industry Benchmarking conference in Indianapolis back in October about their efforts to attract the next generation of folks to the manufacturing industry.

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  • Rubber News article: Custom Rubber Corp. hosts ARPM Tour

    The October issue of Rubber and Plastics News has a two page article discussing Custom Rubber Corp.'s approach to manufacturing employment and some technological investments the company has made.  The entire article is available here....

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  • Custom Rubber Corp. Tour

    On September 26, 2018, Custom Rubber Corp. hosted a tour of High School students from Warrensville Heights High School.  The students are in an Engineering and STEM class.  The students learned a bit about what makes manufacturing in general exciting and also some specifics about molding rubber.  At the end of the tour, the students were given a project....

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  • Custom Rubber - Building the Next Generation

    Custom Rubber Corp. is facing the same challenges many other companies are facing: Where can we find additional, dedicated employees who have some training?
    At Custom Rubber Corp., there is a movement to do something about it....

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  • Custom Rubber Corp Upgrades Quality Capabiltieis

    Custom Rubber Corp. has added significant quality inspection capabilities that utilize the latest in automated vision inspection equipment.

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  • Great Place to Work

    Custom Rubber Corp. released a new video sharing the experiences of employees.  Potential employees can watch to find out what kind of work environment Custom Rubber offers and see the type of work.  Custom Rubber Corp. is now hiring, $11.85 starting wage for night shift.

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  • Custom Rubber Corp. article in Inside Rubber Magazine

    Custom Rubber Corp. was featured in an article in the most recent Inside Rubber Magazine.  The article discusses the continuous improvement approach that Custom Rubber Corp. is taking with Mill Drills and Safety.

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  • Molded Round Seals / Molded Round Gaskets - How To

    Custom Rubber Corp. just updated and added information to the Round Molded Gasket / Round Molded Seals page.  The information includes the three primary ways to produce a round gasket or seal and what the advantages and drawbacks are to each.  Also discussed are three primary technical issues that are important to selecting the right type of round gasket and/or round seal.

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  • Colored Rubber Molding - How To

    Custom Rubber Corp. added content to its website with a host of information about molding colored rubber.  The information includes five reasons why Custom Rubber Corp. is one of the leaders in molding colored rubber products and four reasons why product developers, engineers, and companies in general should consider specifying a color other than black for their next rubber molded component. 

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  • Custom Rubber Grommets - How To

    When desigining a custom molded grommet, there are a number of things to consider.  Custom Rubber Corp. recently added detailed information regarding the issues or questions that need to be answered and an outline of how to work through the steps.

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  • Protective Case Design How-To

    Custom Rubber Corp. has added detailed, step-by-step information regarding how to design a custom silicone rubber protective case for your electronic device or instrument.

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  • Rubber Bellows Design How-To

    Custom Rubber Corp. added information related to designing molded rubber bellows and molded rubber convoluted boots.  Information is now available on the five steps or questions that designers need to consider when developing a custom molded rubber boot or bellow.

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  • New Look For Molded Rubber Products Website

    We're very excited about the recent launch of our new website. Much of the content is carried over - our old site had excellent illustrations of the types of products we make and customers we serve - but the look and feel of the site is much more up to date. We've included some larger photos showing some of our employees at work and have updated many of the product pictures.

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