Continental rolls out verification markers to boost natural rubber supply chain transparency

Continental and Security Matters (SMX) have announced that they have succeeded in verifying a marker substance for natural rubber in a tyre, and throughout the entire production process.

SMX is an innovative tech platform that specialises in digital tracking using unalterable chemical-based barcodes.

The dedicated marker technology, which both companies optimised for use in natural rubber, is designed to create greater transparency along the entire value chain of tyres and technical rubber products from Continental.

Provided with special security features, the use of the marker substances enables the invisible marking of natural rubber with information on its geographical origin. This means, for example, that responsibly sourced natural rubber and its origin can be verified at every stage of the supply chain all the way to the customer.

By doing so, Continental said it is further strengthening its role in its commitment to greater transparency along its supply chain. By 2050 at the latest, all materials that Continental uses in its tyre production will originate from responsible sources.

Claus Petschick, head of sustainability at Continental Tires, said: “We see huge potential in marker technology. In the future, it will help us to ensure that the natural rubber we use in our tyres is grown and sourced entirely responsibly.

“Over the long term, we believe that marker technology could help to make the sometimes highly complex processes in our supply chains more transparent and verifiable. With Security Matters, we have an innovative partner for the development and trialing of marker technology by our side.”

Haggai Alon, CEO of SMX, said: “Together with Continental, SMX will use marker, reader and digital technology to further improve the transparency of the natural rubber supply chain and enable sustainability and circularity.”

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In the successfully completed field test, the marker substance underwent and passed a test of resilience. The substance was added to responsibly grown latex during harvesting and withstood not only the intensive preparations involved in the production of natural rubber but also the tyre manufacturing process itself.

In the manufactured tyre, the data was retrieved using special, purpose-built software and a reader, and correctly interpreted. The appearance and performance of a bicycle tyre containing the invisible marker, such as grip, rolling resistance and wear behaviour, remained unchanged.

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