SCIENCE IS GOLDEN THE DUNLOP LABORATORY
The laboratory, situated in our Drachten plant, lies at the very heart of just about everything we do. Our company has built its reputation and market strategy on quality and the laboratory plays a pivotal role in the whole quality control process. For example, it is here that every single batch of rubber compound is checked and thoroughly tested before it is allowed to be used to produce conveyor belts. Unless the specific batch of rubber has received the ‘seal of approval’ from the lab technicians then under no circumstances can it be used. This is key to achieving consistency of quality and performance.
Quality control does not end once a belt has actually been produced because the lab technicians take random samples of the belt and subject them to a wide range of tests performed strictly in accordance with the relevant ISO test methods. For example, the cover rubber is tested for abrasion resistance and for its resistance to the damaging effects of ozone and ultraviolet light. Testing the mechanical properties of the carcass includes longitudinal and transverse tensile strength, tear strength, adhesion, longitudinal and transverse elongation at break and elongation at 10% tensile strength.
Testing samples of belts made by our competitors is also a routine part of the work carried out in the lab. This kind of testing provides a factual, scientific insight that helps us keep ahead of our competitors. As a company, we need to know the strengths and advantages of our belts and the weaknesses of the competition. It is not enough simply to tell potential customers that Dunlop belts are of better quality and provide the lowest lifetime cost because such claims must be supported by factual evidence. Staying ahead of the rest also involves constant research & development. We are constantly seeking to improve existing products and at the same time looking for new innovations. The Dunlop track record for innovation speaks for itself with several breakthroughs in recent years including BV GT heat, fire and oil-resistant rubber, Ultra X and Optima Heat Xtreme.
Especially because of the current global problems concerning supply and demand, the Dunlop purchasing team are constantly searching for alternative suppliers. This means that the laboratory team are constantly testing and checking potential alternative raw materials and components for suitability to make absolutely sure that their use will not compromise quality requirements in any way.
Last but not least, the laboratory team are responsible for ensuring that all of our products are safe for both humans and the environment by complying with EU REACH regulations regarding the use of hazardous chemicals and also Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). So, as you can tell from all of this, our laboratory really does lie at the heart of what we do.