Rubber - a natural liquid product extracted from trees, is treated or processed by various techniques to make it useful for diverse industries. As a commercially important polymer, Rubber is used broadly in automobiles, as well as to produce different end products such as toys, garments, footwear, stationeries, accessories such as bands, automobile parts for ease compression, washers, shock absorbers, hose, cables and wires, rubber covered rollers, rubber lining of chemical plants, ant vibration mountings and other such items. Rubber products are in great demand due to its resistance and benefits. One of the most significant uses of rubber is its application in the manufacturing of tyres used in different types of vehicles ranging from aero planes to bicycles. Furthermore rubber is used in the interior and exteriors of car decoration, and in a wide range of applications. Rubber technology is a specialized field of science that comprises the study of transformation of rubbers or elastomers into useful products. It is an engineering field dealing with the processing of natural rubber or latex or synthetic rubber, to transform them into useful products. Studying rubber technology can help you obtain a reputed position in rubber manufacturing industry. The field is also considered as a specialized branch of Polymer Technology and encompasses a broad scope of various other specializations in Mechanical Engineering, Applied Physics and Chemical Engineering. The subject of study in the field of rubber industry include the types of rubbers, their properties, characteristics and descriptions of formulation of rubber compounds. Experts in this field are termed as Rubber technologists who analyze and use various engineering technologies to make natural rubber into usable forms. They use basic scientific principles in the conversion of raw rubber into various rubber products. Crude rubber has to go through a number of processing steps for being shaped up to produce a final product. Vulcanization, calendaring and mastication are the three main processes involved in the processing of rubber. Most rubber products are vulcanized, a process which involves heating with a small quantity of sulphur or equivalent cross-linking agent so as to stabilise the polymer chains, over a wide range of temperature. With the increasing number of automobiles and growing use of rubber in various industries, rubber technology is becoming a lucrative career option for students. Our country is expected to be the leading automobile hub of the world in a decade or two, and hence the demand for rubber technologists will be high. Manufacturing of rubber products is less energy intensive when compared with other structural materials and the field is best suited for those with entrepreneurial tendencies. How to become a Rubber Technologist For pursuing a career in the field of rubber technology, aspirants require at least a bachelor's degree or diploma in rubber technology. Diploma in Rubber Technology; B.E. / B.Tech in Rubber Technology; Post Graduate Diploma in Rubber Technology; M.E. / M.Tech in Rubber Technology are some of the rubber technology courses offered in India. The minimum eligibility required for pursuing a Bachelor's degree (B.E./ BTech) or diploma program in rubber technology is +2 science with Physics, Chemistry and Maths or Biology from any recognized board. Admission to 4 year B.E/ B.Tech courses will be generally made on the basis of entrance examination. Depending upon the courses, the diploma courses in rubber technology varies from 1 to 3 years. For obtaining admission to 2 years Master's program in rubber technology (M.Tech), candidates should hold a BE/ B.Tech degree or any equivalent degree like AMIE in polymer science and rubber technology, chemical engineering or M.Sc in Polymer Chemistry etc. The admissions to reputed Universities are on the basis of GATE score or any other entrance exam marks. M.Tech degree in Rubber Technology exposes students to technical side of rubber processing. Rubber Technology courses deals with the study of the nature, properties and formulation of rubber compounds. This includes processing technology, manufacture of latex products, testing and specification of rubber, basics of polymers, rubber compounding, etc. The course also deals with various types of rubbers and students are taught to produce it both by natural and manmade sources which is termed as vulcanization, mastication and calendaring. Post graduate courses in rubber technology mainly deal with subjects such as industrial rubber, rubber compounding, reinforcing materials, manufacturing technology, adhesion technology, rubber processing principles, Rheology, foam technology and so on. During the second year, candidates has to prepare thesis and go through industrial training. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Kharagpur) in West Bengal, Rubber Research Institute of India in Kerala, Hari Shankar Singhania Elastomer and Tyre Research Institute in Rajasthan etc. are some of the reputed institutes in India, offering Rubber technology courses. Indian Rubber Institute having branches in various cities like Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai etc. offer courses such as Graduate Diploma in Rubber Technology (DIRI) and Post-Graduate Diploma Course in Rubber Technology (PGDIRI). Rubber Training Institute of the Rubber Board of India, Kottayam is also conducting short term training programs in rubber technology. Personal attributes The field of rubber technology is suitable for those who have a keen interest to involve in the technology and methods to produce new products from rubber. To shine in this profession, rubber technologists require some outstanding qualities and skills and good knowledge about the principles and techniques to manufacture new rubber products. Strong leadership, analytical mind, problem solving ability, good communication skills, team work, confidence, hard working nature are the other attributes needed for them. Computer proficiency is also an added advantage in this field. Apart from these, a rubber technologist must have a keen interest in subjects like Physics and Chemistry and should master to deal with both chemical and engineering problems. Job prospects & Career Options in Rubber Technology There is an increasing demand for professionals in the field of rubber industry, as rubber products are becoming popular in the industrial sector, specially with the increasing number of automobiles. Rubber technology courses offer a promising scope, but very few people are aware about these courses. India has more than 6000 operational units, which provide huge job opportunities for the professionals who wish to secure a career in the rubber industry. Candidates with bachelors degree in Rubber technology will be recruited for the post of rubber technologists. They can seek employment opportunities in various sectors such as : • Agriculture SectorAutomobiles Industries • Transportation Companies • Building and Construction Firms • Telecommunication Firms • Electronics Industry • Defense and Aerospace Department • Computers Industry • Power Transmissions • Artificial Limbs Industry • Medicine and Health Firms etc. The job opportunities for rubber technologists in these fields include : • Testing Technologist/ technicians: Test technicians analyze systems and perform a variety of performance and production tests on equipment used in the production and quality control areas of a given business. They work primarily in engineering and quality control arenas. Test technicians can find work in office settings, laboratories, construction sites or manufacturing facilities. • Production Engineers: The primary duties of a production engineer comprise the operation and maintenance work with regard to production, product quality, quantity, the environment, and health and safety. • Polymer Specialists: The main responsibilities of the polymer specialists is to conduct research on the structures and properties of materials to obtain information that could be used to develop new products or enhance existing ones. • Marketing Executives: A marketing executive directs the marketing of a company’s products or services. • Materials Technologist: Materials technicians are responsible for warehousing activities such as shipping and receiving, and planning and managing the flow of goods into, within and from organizations. • Process Engineering Technologist: Process engineering technologist focuses on the design, operation, control, and optimization of chemical, physical, and biological processes through the aid of systematic computer-based methods. • Research and Development Technologist: The term R&D or research and development encompasses a specific group of activities within a business. The primary function of R&D technologist is to develop new products; to discover and create new knowledge about scientific and technological topics for the purpose of uncovering and enabling development of valuable new products, processes, and services. • Mould and Die Development Specialist: Mould and Die Development specialist frequently work with pre-hardened materials. These workers produce dies and special guiding and holding devices that enable machines to manufacture a variety of products such as clothing and furniture to heavy equipment and parts for aircraft. Mould and and die makers should have knowledge in machining operations, mathematics, and blueprint reading. • Quality Control Specialist : Quality control specialist alias Quality technicians ensure that all manufacturing works are satisfactorily completed in accordance with legislated, company and client quality standards. • Sales and Service Representative Rubber Technologists can seek employment both in rubber industry as well as in automobile industry. Deluxe Rubber Industries, Madras Rubber Factory and Rubco are the 3 prominent companies operating in the rubber industry in India. Bengal Waterproof Company- a renowned manufacturer of rubber garments and waterproofing materials; Duckback (Kolkata) - waterproof wares manufacturing industry; VPK Rubber Corporation - which specialize in extruded rubber products; Ashok Rubber Industries which produces rubber mats and industrial rubber products; HCL Technologies and Haldia Pharmaceuticals are some prominent establishments hiring rubber technology professionals. In the automotive industry, rubber technologists are needed to fix the design of the rubber components and for engineering R and D works. TVS Motors Limited, Apollo Tyre Limited, Ceat Tyres Limited, MRF Limited, Dunlop, JK Tyres, Jayashree Polymers, LM Fibres, Hi Tech Carbon, St Gobain Industries etc. are some of the automobile industries that provide job openings for rubber technologists. Government firms like Gas Authority of India Limited offer many career opportunities for the rubber technology professional. As rubber is an important semiconductor, graduates specializing in this line can work in the semi-conductor industry. Petrochemical companies like Haldia Petrochemicals Limited, Reliance petrochemicals etc. hire the service of experienced Rubber Technologists. Besides these, various other industries like garments, waterproofing materials, hospital supplies, rubber processing units etc. make use of rubber for the manufacture of their products. So employment opportunities are available in these areas also. There is also good scope for getting into research. Several researches are going on for the production of eco-friendly rubber. So those with higher educational qualification in rubber technology has good scope of getting into the research field. Opportunities Abroad : The rubber industry has an extended scope both in India and abroad. Rubber technologists can find opportunities in international companies dealing with rubber products. Rubber-processing units of the western countries such as France, the UK, and the US recruit trained professionals from India. Remuneration Usually, the field of engineering awards higher salary packages when compared to other professions. Even though rubber technology is an engineering field, the initial pay scale will be generally lesser than what the engineering industry will offer. Depending on the establishment, the average starting salary for fresh rubber technology graduates ranges between Rs.10000/- to Rs. 20000/- per month. After a few years of experience, the pay scale may range between Rs 2.5 Lakhs - Rs 3.5 Lakhs per annum. Experienced, highly qualified and proficient rubber technologists are offered handsome salaries, along with perks and other benefits. A senior rubber technologists/ engineers will be paid a salary ranges from Rs. 4,00,000/- to Rs. 5,00,000/- per annum. International companies offers much high pay scale to rubber technologists when compared to those of the Indian companies.