The latex milk, a primary source of a natural rubber adhesive system, is derived from the Hevea Brasiliensis, otherwise known as the rubber tree. All rubber tree plantations originated in the Amazon Rainforest due to heavy rainfall and no frost, they are now mainly located in Southern Asia.
The latex milk extraction process called “Rubber Tapping” starts by measuring the tree’s girth (min. 45cm), marking a specified section, scratching a thin layer of bark at a spirally arranged 30 deg. angle at 6cm width from top to bottom. Followed up by drilling a precision hole, inserting a small gutter allowing the latex milk to travel down into the collection bucket, which is strapped to the trunk base by a hook and tightened rope.
Each tree can be re-tapped in an alternative section every 5 years, while the original section repairs itself. A single Hevea Brasiliensis (Rubber Tree) can provide latex milk for a minimum of 20-25 years. Typically, an aged latex tree is cut down after 30 years due to a decline in latex milk production, those trees are then recycled for use in furniture making. Once the latex milk is collected and coagulated it is sold as a solid for solvent dissolution. Pressure-sensitive rubber based adhesive systems are widely used in applications that require a permanent bond and high initial tack.
The adhesives industry is the 2nd largest user of natural latex in the world today.