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Calling all vintage car enthusiasts!

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 17 January, 2005  (Company News)
As any vintage car enthusiast will tell you, original tires with whitewall strips are very rare and fetch a high price
One manufacturer of these types of facing is the Gronau, Germany-based company Ravus which uses the thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) Desmopan® from Bayer MaterialScience AG for this application. 'This material is highly abrasion-resistant, which makes the facings much more resistant to wear than their rubber counterparts. Moreover, due to the high stiffness and resilience of the plastic, they sit very firmly on the wheel,' says Reinhard Vorrink, the owner of Ravus. The long lifespan of the facings is a result of the good chemical resistance, UV stability, impact strength, tear resistance and tear-propagation resistance of the TPU material.

Fitting the facings could not be easier – the vehicle does not have to be lifted and there is no need for special tools or a gluing or vulcanization step. First of all, the whitewall facing is inserted with a base ring into the rim flange from outside. A steel rim facing is then fitted which fixes the whitewall facing in place. The base ring prevents plasticizers and carbon black from the tire from dirtying the whitewall facing. This also ensures that the side of the tire does not fray.

The resilience they demonstrated when tested over a distance of 5,500 kilometers is clear proof of the fact that the facings stay firmly in place and are able to handle a significant amount of rough treatment. When fitted on a Volvo Amazon, they survived a grueling journey from the Netherlands through the Moroccan desert along the Kasbah route to Erg Chebbi, the largest sand dune in Morocco – and then back again. In 'normal' use on the road, they are designed for a maximum speed of 120 kilometers an hour. These facings are now sold to customers in Europe, the USA and Australia.

The facings can also be pigmented in colors other than white. This is due to the fact that the aliphatic grade of Desmopan® used in their production is lightfast and therefore does not yellow under the influence of sunlight. They can also be printed. 'This means that our tire facings are an ideal advertising medium for cars and trucks. For example, they could carry a company logo, an advertising slogan or the logo of a football team,' says Vorrink.
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