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Rubber Journal Asia Rubber Report

Challenges beget opportunities; Sri Lanka on the road to growth Various industries that are reliant on

The automotive industry will undergo a profound transformation and its potential impacts to transportation mode and environment, and its effects on energy and cost saving in the long-run is a strategic game change. Pinizzotto says the future of mobility is connected autonomous electric vehicle fleet including shifts in vehicle ownership. Instead of individual traditional ownership, shared mobility platforms offer access IRSG’s Secretary-General Salvatore Pinizzotto to variety of vehicles. “Passenger car OEMS are investing in technology as well as ride sharing platforms. Sharing mobility and transport data are helpful to develop better business models to raise productivity. Intelligent and powerful software is the key element in the future tyre industry.” Tyres will communicate with the control system of an autonomous vehicle, sensing road and weather conditions and adapting to them. As the mobility landscape changes with the adoption of the disruptive transformations, there is a call for a closer partnership in the ecosystem to move forward. There will be changes in tyre requirements and the future tyre will be customised tyres. In terms of sustainability, Pinizzotto says the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative (SNR-i), developed under the frame-work of the IRSG as a voluntary and collaborative industry initiative, has so far seen 48 companies/organisations completing the self-declaration process. “The self-declared registrants as leading industry players account for around 50% of the global processed and consumed volume,” he added.

high performance and quality rubbers are advancing at a past pace. Today,

opportunities and challenges, alike, are

shaping up innovations in leading industries such as automotive and tyres, and Sri Lanka is paving the way for a larger share of the sector, says Angelica Buan in this report.

World growth on a high; China to lead The global total rubber consumption is forecast to increase by 2.7% for the next five-year period (201822). Total rubber consumption in Asia is forecast to increase by 3.2% whilst Europe’s total rubber consumption is forecast to be up 1.8% and others by 1.5% during the next five-year period. Asia consumes around 64% of rubber produced and a third of the global rubber usage is attributed by China. According to Singapore-based International Rubber Study Group (IRSG)’s Secretary-General Salvatore Pinizzotto, “China is shifting its growth pattern from a robust growth to that of a moderate and sustained pattern with the focus on consumption growth than investment. The rebalancing of economic activities in China, with a slowdown expected in the future years, will have a spill over effect to other economies.” China’s rubber consumption is expected to grow by 3.7% during the next five year period (2018-22). Economic cooperation and trade policies such as the One Belt One Road in China and the South Asian Economic Cooperation (SASEC) will encourage new investments to keep a sustained growth in rubber usage in China, adds Pinizzotto.

Sri Lanka, an upcoming rubber hub Sri Lanka, the host country of IRSG’s World Rubber Summit conference (held in early May this year), is the world’s eighth largest natural rubber producing country and currently the seventh largest rubber exporter, according to Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB). P r a b a s h Subasinghe, Managing Director of Sri Lanka-headquartered tyre maker Global Rubber Industries (GRI), says that since consumption for natural rubber continues to rise in the country, the industry needs to increase production and output efficiencies via continuous R&D and innovation in the machines and technologies utilised.

Disruptive trends to influence sector Technology disruption necessitates the implementation of new changes and innovations over time and for longer-term efficiency gains. Current disruptive technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 3D printing, and the Internet of things (Industry 4.0) are impacting new business models, and are applicable to the rubber and automotive industry too.

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PRA May 2018 issue  
PRA May 2018 issue