Rubber is a compound consisting of Polymers of the organic compound isoprene and other impurities such as organic compounds and water which are in small quantity. Most manufacturing companies prefer rubber for the manufacture of rubber products. The para rubber tree is the major plant that produces rubber that is harvested in form of latex which is sticky and milky that is drawn from the back of rubber tree by tapping since it has got the ability to flow. The tapped rubber is then taken to the processing companies to be refined and processed into a fine product. The first rubber seed came to Thailand around the year 1900s from Malaysia which was planted as an experiment. This led to a wider spread of rubber tree and Thailand is the world’s largest rubber producer and exporter.
Currently, Thailand produces 2.87 million tons of rubber annually of which 2.57 million tons are being exported to countries like China, Japan, Malaysia and United States of America. The remaining quantity is used domestically within the country. Rubber plantation industry that is mainly dominated by small holding sectors that account for 95% of the area. Southern peninsula accounts for the 90% of these smallholders, the remaining 5% are evenly distributed in the north, east and northeast parts.
A good percentage of rubber products are exported in their natural or raw form as Technically Specified Rubbers:
- Standard Thai Rubber (STR): This grade of rubber is packed in blocks and is used mainly in the US and European markets. The STR is divided into six categories: STR5L and STR5CV60 product of latex coagulate grades. STR10. STR10CV, STR20, and STR20CV made from uncooked sheet.
- Ribbed Smoke Sheet (RSS): Used in automobile tyre manufacturing companies to make a wider range of car tyres. RSS is divided into five grades that is RSS1, RSS2, RSS3, RSS4 and RSS5.
- Natural rubber latex: is a raw material in the manufacture of Rubber Gloves, Condom, and Balloon. Latex is dived into two that is Low Ammonia and High Ammonia.
Air dried sheet (ADS): It is a transparent product processed in a smoke free room. Used in Collared Rubber Products.
- Skim block: this a by-product of latex production.
Rubber products mainly at Thailand includes tyres and tubes for motor vehicles, airplanes, bicycles, and motorcycles. Rubber gloves used in hospitals and by garbage collectors to prevent them from contacting any form of infection. Rubber bands that have got a wider range of uses both domestically and commercially. Domestically rubber band is used in holding together two different parts of anything such as supporting a cellphone, joining together home wires amongst others. Commercially rubber band is used in holding together women braids, colorful rubbers are used to tie together hair of baby girls. This gives them an elegant beautiful and pretty look. Rubber is being used also to make shoe soles, soles made from rubber are very durable and do not crack as well as reduced the risk of one being electrocuted.