Premium tyre manufacturer, Continental, and Security Matters (SMX), a company focused on the digitisation of physical objects in the blockchain, are working together to develop and test a marker technology for natural rubber.
The special marker technology, which has been further developed by the project partners for use in natural rubber, is intended to contribute to even greater transparency and traceability along the entire value chain of tyres and technical rubber products from Continental in the future. With the aid of special reading devices and specially developed software, the use of marker substances enables the invisible labelling of natural rubber with information on its exact geographical origin.
“We are testing this marker technology to ensure in the future that the natural rubber we use in our tyres has been verifiably grown and sourced in a fully sustainable manner,” says Claus Petschick, Head of Sustainability in the ‘Tires’ business area of Continental. He adds, “We aim to procure all of our materials from responsible sources. Innovative technologies and digitalisation make an important contribution to this.” Thus, by 2050 at the latest, all materials used by Continental in its worldwide tyre production are to be sourced responsibly.
As part of the industrialisation of this technology, it would also be conceivable for the invisible marker method to be linked to blockchain technology, which is known to be particularly forgery-proof.
Continental and Security Matters are now working on utilising the new marker technology to be used on a larger scale during the process of rubber extraction. “Our collaboration shows that physical and digital tracking can be ensured through unique and immutable chemical-based barcodes in rubber products as well,” says Haggai Alon, founder, and CEO of Security Matters. He adds, “Together with Continental, we now want to use our marker technology to further improve the transparency of the natural rubber supply chain.”
The use of sustainable raw materials in tyre manufacturing and the commitment to and acceptance of responsibility for their sustainable production and processing have long been a high priority at Continental. The company has set itself the goal of becoming the most progressive tyre company in terms of environmental and social responsibility by 2030. By 2050 at the latest, Continental aims to use 100 percent sustainably produced materials in its tyre products and achieve complete climate neutrality along its entire value chain.
The start of the collaboration between Continental and Security Matters was initiated by Continental’s own start-up organization, ‘co-pace’. Its goal is to broker, promote and leverage connections between emerging companies and Continental’s business units. Focus areas of the global team of technology experts at co-pace are advanced materials, autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, data security, next-generation batteries, advanced drive systems and smart cities.