RUBBERIZED RFID TAGGED TIRE BLADDERS
A tire curing bladder and associated method of forming same includes an elastomeric body and a radio frequency identification device (RFID) tag chemically bonded to the elastomeric body.
- 1. A curing bladder comprising:
an elastomeric body; and a radio frequency identification device (RFID) tag chemically bonded to the elastomeric body.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
- 10. A method of making a tire curing bladder, comprising:
mixing an elastomeric material; positioning a radio frequency identification device (RFID) tag within a tire curing bladder mold; and molding and curing the mixture in the tire curing bladder mold whereby the RFID tag is situated adjacent an outer surface of the molded tire curing bladder.
- View Dependent Claims (11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
- 16. A tire curing bladder comprising:
a vulcanized, elastomeric tire curing bladder body dimensioned for receipt in a green tire which is dimensioned for receipt in a tire mold; and a radio frequency identification device (RFID) tag chemically bonded to the elastomeric bladder body.
- View Dependent Claims (17, 18, 19, 20)
This application claims the priority benefit of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 62/290,730, filed Feb. 3, 2016, the entire disclosure of which is expressly incorporated herein by reference.
The present disclosure relates to encapsulating an RFID tag within the rubber structure of a tire curing bladder for the purpose of identifying a specific bladder via the RFID electronic product code (EPC) number and identifying the manufacturing and logistical transportation history of the bladder.
A need exists for greater control over manufacturing, transportation, and storage/inventory. More particularly a need exists for improved remote identification, that is machine-readable (e.g., wireless) capabilities, of product and specifically a tire curing bladder, without adversely impacting quality and performance characteristics of the tire curing bladder.
An improved apparatus, tire curing bladder and tracking/information system for the tire curing bladder is provided.
The tire curing bladder includes an elastomeric body and a radio frequency identification device (RFID) tag chemically bonded to the elastomeric body.
The elastomeric material is vulcanized.
The RFID tag is located adjacent on outer surface of the elastomeric body, and preferably positioned at a bead of the tire curing bladder.
The RFID tag is at least partially formed of an elastomeric material, and preferably formed of a similar material as the remainder of the tire curing bladder to enhance chemical bonding thereto.
In a preferred arrangement, the RFID tag includes first and second layers of rubber encapsulating the RFID tag, and at least one of the layers is chemically bonded to the elastomeric body.
The RFID tag further includes a conductive rubber antenna in one embodiment.
In a preferred arrangement, the RFID tag includes a chip that is mechanically and electrically joined to the rubber antenna, and the chip and antenna are encapsulated by the first and second rubber layers.
The vulcanized, elastomeric tire curing bladder body is dimensioned for receipt in a green tire which is dimensioned for receipt in a tire mold.
A method of making a tire curing bladder, includes mixing an elastomeric material, and positioning a radio frequency identification device (RFID) tag within a tire curing bladder mold. The method further includes molding and curing the mixture in the tire curing bladder mold whereby the RFID tag is situated adjacent an outer surface of the molded tire curing bladder.
The curing step further includes vulcanizing the elastomeric material.
The positioning step further includes locating the RFID tag along a surface of the tire curing bladder mold.
The positioning step further includes locating the RFID tag in the bead of the tire curing bladder.
An antenna configuration allows a RFID chip to fit within a bead ring of a typical tire curing bladder. There are no products commercially available today in the U.S. that are believed to meet this description.
This invention may be applied to a tire curing bladder within the manufacturing process. The invention may then be further utilized throughout the life of its service including manufacturing, transportation and within the tire factories and storage warehouses.
Incorporating an RFID tag within the rubber structure of a tire curing bladder (TCB) allows for individual, non-line-of-sight identification of a tire curing bladder.
Bladders may advantageously have an individual serial identification number which they currently do not.
Another benefit is that the entire manufacturing history and transportation history of a tire curing bladder may be recorded and analyzed. This may aid with quality control and any possible recall issues that might occur.
Another advantage resides in the non-line-of-sight identification capabilities of individual or multiple bladders which may be identified even when held within the shipping packaging or box of the tire curing bladder without the need to remove and scan individual bladders.
Still another benefit is that the tag will remain with the tire curing bladder throughout its life and there is no possibility for it to be removed without noticeably and critically damaging the product/bladder itself.
Given the addition of individual identification, a manufacturer may now have a computer scan and check to further ensure the proper bladder is placed within the proper curing press.
Presently bladders may be misplaced at times but using a combination of an RFID tag incorporated within the bladder and a reader infrastructure type system, the bladders may be tracked and have their location recorded at all times. This will further ensure they are used within the proper time period.
Since the rubber RFID tag must be made of a similar material to the tire curing bladder, specialized rubberized RFID tags must be made using ideally the same kind of rubber. At a minimum a similar type of polymer and cure package must be used to allow the RFID tag to be incorporated within the tire curing bladder.
Still other benefits and advantages of the present disclosure will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading and understanding the following detailed description.
A curing bladder is an important part of a tire vulcanizing process. The proper selection of butyl polymers and compounding materials for a bladder formulation is essential in ensuring durability, service life, and efficient operation in a tire factory.
The durability of the bladder is based on it resistance to heat and steam during the vulcanizing process, along with its very low permeability to gasses and water vapors.
To maximize bladder life, the correct size and tire fitment is critical, as the bladder stretch percentages must be accurately controlled in both the radial and circumferential directions. Bladders typically operate at 15% to 25% of stretch in both the radial and circumferential directions and in some instances may be required to stretch up to 50% or more in both the radial and circumferential directions.
Even though there are multiple bladder configurations, the general clamping within tire curing presses of the different configurations are very similar. The typical bladder will have two opposing clamp beads that create a seal to capture the curing media, such as steam, hot water, or inert gasses. The beads are typically secured in the curing press with a bead clamp plate or ring, wherein the bead clamp plate captures and holds the clamp beads of the bladder allowing the bladder to receive the curing medium and stretch outwardly from the press as a pressure of the curing medium within the bladder is increased. One possible alternative bladder configuration is a curing bladder having only a single opening and at least one bead formed at the opening to form a generally balloon shaped curing bladder, wherein the bead is typically secured in the curing press with a bead clamp plate or ring.
To get the most efficiency from the bladder, it is highly desirable to transfer the heat of the curing media at an accelerated rate through the bladder wall. This process is measured by “rate of transfer” and is known as thermal diffusivity.
The inclusion of the RFID tag in the bladder must not interfere with the thermal diffusivity of the bladder or the bladder'"'"'s ability to stretch outwardly from the press. Further, the inclusion of the RFID tag in the bladder ideally will not reduce the service life of the bladder. Favorable results have been obtained by positioning the RFID tag in the area of the bladder clamp beads. At this location, the RFID tag is not in an area of the bladder that is required to stretch or to substantially transfer heat energy into the tire being cured. Accordingly, the thermal diffusivity, the ability to stretch, and the service life of the bladder with the RFID tag are substantially identical to these same properties in a bladder without the RFID tag. Additionally, locating the RFID tag in the area of the bladder clamp beads minimizes damage to the RFID tag when the bladder is installed in the tire curing press thus maintaining the functionality of the RFID tag when the bladder is removed from the curing press after the bladder has completed its service life.
A conventional tire curing bladder is of well-known construction and is typically formed of an elastomeric material such as butyl rubber. The tire curing bladder 100 of the present disclosure (
A thickness of the wall 104 of the tire curing bladder 100 is selected so that the wall of the tire curing bladder 100 is able to withstand the environment of the tire curing press, i.e. resistance to heat, pressure, flexing, etc. as an internal volume of the bladder is expanded in response to air, gases, steam/water vapor, while maximizing the thermal diffusivity. The tire curing bladder 100 is dimensioned for receipt in a green tire and when pressurized (inflated), urges the green tire against the inner mold surface during the vulcanization process in the tire curing press. Thus, the wall 104 of the tire curing bladder 100 must have a thickness able to withstand the high pressure and high temperatures associated with the curing cycle where temperatures will reach over 200° C. Further, the cycles of expanding and retracting the tire curing bladder 100 during curing/vulcanization of the green tire requires the bladder to be able to withstand numerous curing cycles.
Within this rigorous environment, the RFID tag 110 associated with the tire curing bladder 100 must be able to withstand these conditions and perform effectively. It has been determined that a preferred location for the RFID tag 110 is to position the tag in the bead 102 of the tire curing bladder 100 (see detailed views of
As shown in
By forming a portion of the RFID tag 110 from a material that is compatible with the material of the tire curing bladder 100, the RFID tag is chemically bonded to the tire curing bladder and maintains structural integrity with the bladder. Thus as illustrated in
Particularly, and as is generally known in the art, the tire curing bladder 100 is sealed along the beads 102 in a tire curing press 140 (
Technology exists to design and manufacture a rubberized RFID tag 110 (
In summary, when this assembly is performed using uncured rubber veneers of similar or identical material as the bladder itself, the tag may be incorporated into the tire curing bladder. This incorporation procedure is accomplished preferably by placing the rubberized RFID tag into the bottom of the tire curing bladder mold and then performing the routine procedure of injection molding tire curing bladder rubber material into the mold. The bladder rubber material will then fill the mold flowing around the tag but allowing the RFID tag to remain in the same general location which eventually will form the bead of the tire curing bladder. After the curing procedure of the bladder is complete and the bladder is removed from the mold, the rubberized RFID tag will be indistinguishable from the rest of the tire curing bladder, as well as chemically bonded to the structure.
The RFID tag in this invention is chemically bonded to the tire bladder and may not be seen to the untrained observer or removed without permanently damaging the product. This is in contrast to a conventional RFID tag sticker or bar code sticker which may inadvertently fall off the tire curing bladder or be unable to remain adhered to the tire curing bladder during the extreme environmental conditions in which this product operates (very high temperature and pressure). Additionally, due to the location of the RFID tag in the bead of the bladder, an area which encounters minimum flexing or stretching compared to the rest of the bladder, this RFID tag encounters little structural strain compared to what a tag might encounter if placed in an area outside of the bead.
As described above, one possible method of manufacturing a tire curing bladder involves injection molding rubber into a mold to form a tire curing bladder. The rubberized RFID tag would not be able to be passed through the same channel as the injection molding mechanism before entering the mold. Therefore the concept of placing a non-injection molded rubberized tag within a fixed location in the mold, performing the injection molding procedure, and having the rubberized RFID tag non-visibly and chemically integrated within the tire curing bladder is believed to be a novel concept that achieves the desired benefits and advantages over existing arrangements.
This written description uses examples to describe the disclosure, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the disclosure. The patentable scope of the disclosure is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they have structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal language of the claims. Moreover, this disclosure is intended to seek protection for a combination of components and/or steps and a combination of claims as originally presented for examination, as well as seek potential protection for other combinations of components and/or steps and combinations of claims during prosecution.