CLUB OF CAR FANS
What distinguishes branded brushes from cheap consumer goods.
They manage to make a good brush soft, elastic and at the same time wear-resistant. Of course, manufacturers do not reveal all the secrets, but the basic processing methods are similar. To increase the wear resistance, halogen is introduced into the rubber composition - for example, chlorine, as the well-known Valeo company does, or bromine - this is what Champion does. The choice between chlorination and bromination is a purely technological issue, with almost no effect on the properties of the product. Many companies graphite the surface of the gum. Graphite is a layered structure. The layers are relatively loosely coupled and easily shifted (graphite “smears”). Lubricant based on it is widely used in the automotive industry, however, “soaking” the rubber surface with graphite is far from an easy task. Process technology is the secret of the manufacturer. The graphitized surface has a much lower coefficient of friction on the glass, so the brushes move more evenly, the “crushing” effect disappears (when the brush starts to vibrate). But over time, the surface layer of graphite will be erased and the brush will no longer be able to boast of its former smoothness, therefore, in addition to saturating the surface, a graphite-containing rubber was created. From the name it is clear that graphite is not only on the surface, but also in the body of the brush. The soon abrasion does not threaten her. And if natural rubber is taken as the basis, then no frost is scary to the brush - it remains elastic right up to
-70 ° C!
In this way went the company "Valeo". We visited her subsidiary, the Paul Journe factory. It is located 50 kilometers from Paris in the town of Rey next to a huge medieval castle. The company, which employs only 250 people, annually produces over 14 million brushes, which covers the needs of 98% of Europe’s fleet. The plant’s products go to the conveyors of BMW, Citroen, Ford, Peugeot, Renault, Rover, and are also sold under the Motorcraft brand.
Let's go through the process chain - from a viscous briquette of crude rubber to an elegantly packed brush.
The first link is the loading auger and extruder. At the entrance - clods of crude graphitized rubber (only on a natural basis!), At the exit - a seemingly finished (but still raw) brush gum, while doubled. The next stage is vulcanization. Then the steaming tape is cooled and chlorinated. In the next "black box" its surface is additionally graphitized, and now the tape can come out of the "underground" - all the secrets are behind. It remains to apply the laser number on the side opposite the working edge (by the way, this number is also visible on the assembled brush) and cut it along - in half and across - along the length of the working part of the "janitor".
The adjacent workshop is the production of frame parts and packaging of finished products. Basically, the "wipers" collect machines, but for small series and non-standard orders there are two lines of manual assembly. Despite the large volumes of output, the plant willingly takes on small batches of brushes to order.
We asked the plant's engineers how much on average high-quality brushes serve. The answer was discouraging - six months, a maximum of a year! It is believed that during this period even the best products lose their “fighting qualities”: the rubber edge is serrated, the graphite coating is erased (graphitization in bulk improves the picture, but does not replace the surface), and the mounts are loosened. What then to speak about consumer goods? Now remember how often we - with our salt and sand on the roads in winter (and mud all year round) - change the brushes? Well, not once every six months, unless they’ll get really bad. Yes, and for those you can tighten the mounts, gum on the skin or on the nearest concrete wall to grind - and almost like new! They do not remove dirt from the glass - we tolerate, we will scrape! And two years later the “janitor” will lie down on the barrel and begin to crawl on the glass already with a frame. It is not easy to remove such natures even with diamond paste. Strange savings are obtained. Isn't it better to just change the brushes together, for example, with an air filter and not save on matches. And remove greasy dirt that does not lend itself to a soft branded brush by adding special preparations to the water - they are abundant today. After all, the "wipers" - this is the component of your safety.
A raw gum for brushes comes out of the extruder.