Director General's Message
TARRC Celebrates 75 Years of Excellence in Rubber Research and Development
The TUN ABDUL RAZAK RESEARCH CENTRE, a global centre of excellence for rubber related science and technology, a unit of the Malaysian Rubber Board, was founded in 1938. TARRC's main role is to promote and assist the Malaysian rubber and rubber products industries and is now one of the world's leading rubber research and development establishments. This is accomplished by scientific research into natural rubber, technological developments in the compounding and processing of rubbers, the design of rubber products and the improvement of service lifetime of rubber products.
TARRC is the UK-based laboratory of the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) was officially established on 27 January 1938, when it was then known as the British Rubber Producers’ Research Association (BRPRA). Over the years, as the Malaysian interests and funding grew, the name was changed first to the Natural Rubber Producers’ Research Association (NRPRA) in 1960, and in 1973 to the Malaysian Rubber Producers’ Research Association (MRPRA), before the final change to TARRC in 1997.
The events that led to the formation of TARRC can be traced back to 1931, when the governments of the Federated Malays States and Straits Settlements allocated £100,000 to the Rubber Growers’ Association (RGA) in London. This fund was used to launch a Technical Research and Development of New Uses Committee, for research on new and extended uses of natural rubber (NR). By increasing the uses for natural rubber, it was expected that the increased demand would result in higher rubber prices. Malaysia (then Malaya) was by then producing and exporting more than half of the world’s NR, and would naturally be the greatest beneficiary of the fruits of such research. This move could not have been timelier, for the following year saw rubber prices dropping to the lowest recorded levels in the history of the industry. The low rubber prices, which were triggered by oversupply, led to the realization that, for the long-term benefit of the industry, there was a need for coordinated research on the nature of rubber, and a need to find and promote new uses and applications for rubber.
“Rubber is the life-blood of Malaya. An efficient and prosperous rubber-producing industry, in which smallholders play a very substantial part, is vital to the continued social and economic development of the people. The Association’s scientific work is not irrelevant and remote, but is directly related to practical problems of human well-being in the towns and kampongs of a Commonwealth country eight thousand miles away”.
YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj on the occasion of TARRC’s 25th Anniversary in 1962
“TARRC is important to MRB’s operations as a centre for rubber research. It is strategic to the world rubber industry as it is in Europe, and has a reputation as a world leader in rubber research”.
YB Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, 12 July 2006
The 75th Anniversary marks a milestone in the development of TARRC, the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) and the Malaysian rubber industry in general. TARRC has been responsible for many of the significant advances in rubber science, technology and applications that have contributed to the expansion of the Malaysian industry. TARRC or BRPRA as it was then, started with the best people in the field and continues to attract staff of the highest calibre. Among past members of staff is a Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry in 1937, three Fellows of the Royal Society (FRS) - in connection with their work at TARRC, and five who were inducted into the University of Akron Hall of Fame. Fifteen have been honoured with the Colwyn Medal, six have received the Hancock Medal, from the Institution of the Rubber Industry, UK, and several others have received the Charles Goodyear Medal George Stafford Whitby Award, and Melvin Mooney Distinguished Technology Award from the US. TARRC itself was honoured with the Prince Philip Award for Services to Mankind in 1990 for developing natural rubber-steel laminated base isolation bearings for protecting buildings from earthquakes.
TARRC, as MRB’s global centre of excellence for rubber-related science and technology provides the catalyst for sustainable growth and advancement of the Malaysian rubber industry. Research programmes are been tailored to serve the interests of the expanding Malaysian rubber product manufacturing sector, as well as to extend the opportunities and markets for high quality Malaysian natural rubber.
To this day TARRC strives to enhance the competitiveness and viability of the Malaysian rubber industries in the global environment through focused R&D, effective transfer of technology and quality support services. As TARRC looks towards the future, its team of dedicated scientists, technologists and support staff will strive to ensure that the Malaysian rubber industry continues to be a significant player in the world market and a major contributor towards Malaysia’s national gross income as well as increasing its own internally generated income.
In conjunction with TARRC’s 75th Anniversary, TARRC, MRB and the International Rubber Research Development Board (IRRDB) organised the International Rubber Conference (IRC) 2013 held from 24-25 June 2013 in London, United Kingdom. The conference also commemorates the 50th anniversary of IRRDB. The conference was officiated by YBhg Datuk Dr Salmiah Ahmad, Director General MRB cum Chairman of TARRC and IRRDB. The event was witnessed by His Excellency Datuk Sri Zakaria Sulong, the High Commissioner of Malaysia to United Kingdom, YBhg Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz S A Kadir, Secretary General of IRRDB and Dr Kamarudin Malek, Chief Executive Officer of TARRC.
The theme of the conference was “Are we ready for Green Technologies?” and the conference focused on green and sustainable technologies relevant to the rubber industry. In her opening remarks YBhg Datuk Dr Salmiah Ahmad emphasised that the rubber industry globally is key to continued economic prosperity as it links several major elements of the economy and governs employment, investment, research and innovation. Its versatility and variety of uses ensure robust demand and increased production. The future viability of the rubber industry is dependent on how well the industry fulfils the requirements and progresses towards sustainability. New approaches are definitely required to integrate an equation of solutions to upstream, midstream and downstream problems by incorporating all three sustainability pillars.
Papers presented during the conference include topics ranging from life cycle analysis of rubber compounds for speciﬁc products to green issues that relates to the relationship between tyre rolling resistance and carbon dioxide emissions and meeting demands of tyre regulations. More than 200 delegates attended the conference including from Nigeria, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and other member countries of IRRDB.
The conference brought scientists, planners and experts connected with the world elastomer industry together to assess development, consolidate thinking, identify common interests, pool knowledge and formulate new strategies, for the betterment of the global rubber industry.
"Through science and technology, we have revolutionized the industry to such an extent that natural rubber is no longer regarded as simply an agricultural commodity, but as an industrial performance material of technical excellence and high economic value.”
YBhg Datuk Dr Salmiah Ahmad at the IRC 2013 on 24 June 2013
Datuk Dr Salmiah Ahmad
Malaysian Rubber Board