Posted Mar 09, 2017
BEHIND THE NEOPRENE
Our decision to build our 7TILL8 custom wetsuits out of Yamamoto neoprene was comparatively a simple one. Yamamoto produces neoprene from 100% limestone and with the best precision machinery. Using the finest quality rubber for our custom wetsuits was an easy decision and we recently explored the Yamamoto factory to see how it is made.
The Yamamoto Tour
We visited 2 out of the 6 factories that produces neoprene for an up close look at how limestone transforms into neoprene. From one factory to another we walk you through the manufacturing process of Yamamoto limestone neoprene.
Yamamoto Corporation Osaka, Japan
Yamamoto 100% Limestone Chips
Yamamoto limestone chips are melted down where they rest for 24 hours.
The melted limestone is then mixed with carbon to harden and strengthen the material.
After mixing another 24 hours is needed to settle the combination. Mr. Yamamoto likes to compare his neoprene to bread. They are both alive!
Yamamoto has 6 different manufacturing facilities and from the first location, the carbon mixed limestone are trucked over to another facility down the street.
The impurities from the carbon and limestone are extruded through this process. Mr. Yamamoto explained that it's their secret Ramen neoprene production.
He likes to joke =)
This crucial process called vulcanization applies tremendous pressure, about 30,000 tons of force pressed onto the rubber as it expands to create equal independent cell structures. The reason why Yamamoto is light and water impermeable is due to this process. Independent cell structures create a uniform cell body for maximum warmth and light weight structure.
The pressure from the vulcanization process is released and large buns of neoprene are created.
Fresh neoprene buns straight out of the press. From here they are transported to get cut into various thicknesses.
Yamamoto cuts true to thickness. When ordering a 3mm you will have true 3mm neoprene in your custom wetsuit. We don't skimp on material and Yamamoto ensures an accurate cut (that grinding noise is the blade continuously being sharpened).
Each sheet is measured for the correct thickness before being shipped off to our custom wetsuit studio.
If you missed our live factory tour here is the video of the live stream that was broadcasted on Facebook. Follow us on facebook to keep up with all updates on our progress and leave us a comment!
After we toured the factory we had lunch with Mr. Yamamoto and asked him the list of questions you the customer or fan wanted to hear. We asked each question and compiled about 4 hours worth of his response. Stay tuned for next weeks Part III article where we will display all the questions and his answers.
Until then stay warm in the water and surfs up!