American rCB producer pursues growth initiatives despite economic downturn
In late Spring 2020, Bolder Industries – Colorado-based recovered carbon black (rCB) and petrochemical extraction pioneer that perfected the recovery of carbon black and petrochemicals from end-of-life tires at commercial scale, announced investment in infrastructure and team. Bolder said that the investments would expand opportunities for rubber, plastics, and oil markets to use responsibly sourced alternative materials without sacrificing performance while reducing cost.
Bolder Industries increased investment in technical expertise, physical lab space, and its leadership team based on the success of its pilot programs. The Bolder Industries’ plant in Maryville, Missouri, fully commercialized the solution, accepting end-of-life tires at the gate and extracting steel, BolderBlack® (Bolder Industries' recovered carbon black brand), gas, and petrochemicals with a 98% recovery rate and a net-positive energy facility. The company reports that the net effect is a ~90% reduction of environmental impact across the board when considering greenhouse gas emissions, electricity, and water usage, and at a lower price. The company’s press release in May 2020 said Bolder Industries' patent-pending manufacturing process offered all of the petroleum-based products inside of a tire another life, revealing re-use savings.
Ginger Glidewell, Technical Director at Elite Elastomers Inc., an Applicative Compounder in the U.S. Custom Mix market, commented, “Their steady production, consistent product-quality numbers, and increasing sales are the foundation for the next step. And the next step is here since the production trials were a success. Adding Bolder Industries’ expertise to ours so we could successfully compound a consistent product using BolderBlack rCB was the gateway customers were looking for. We’re excited to see Bolder Industries and their BolderBlack moving forward and reaching growth goals. As a result, Elite Elastomers is able to check our own sustainability ‘boxes’ and provide that platform for customers,” she added, “Both BolderBlack and Elite Elastomers initiatives bring the U.S. rubber market design options that were never before available."
Bolder Industries CTO Nate Murphy explained the tipping point. "We have been able to prove our uptime, quality, consistency, operational costs, and sales of all products over the past 18 months at full commercial scale. What has been a critical step for us is to have a clear definition around our charter product, BolderBlack. Customers can reliably use BolderBlack rCB in their formulas."
According to the manufacturer, BolderBlack has made its way into more than 300 products ranging from tires to construction materials to waste containers. The learning experience has led Bolder Industries to a product-driven, customer-centric approach that helps companies achieve their margin, quality, and sustainability goals.
Bolder Industries' CEO Tony Wibbeler said, "Demand for custom formulas has been increasing. We expected that things would level-off during COVID-19. Instead, the casualness and quick connectivity of video-chat-meetings have accelerated conversations with brands looking to innovate and tell a new story. The new story focuses on responsible resources. The new dialog isn't about 'eco' and 'sustainable' as much as it is about the thoughtful use of what we've rediscovered as the resourceful use of the materials we already have."
Bolder Industries highlights that nearly anything that is black plastic or rubber can use BolderBlack as a sustainable alternative to virgin carbon black, the commercialization of BolderBlack rCB makes it easier for companies to commit to a sustainable impact.
Bolder Industries has built a full-scale rubber development laboratory in Punta Gorda, Florida, led by Mike Kumbalek. He has more than 45 years of industrial rubber compounding and executive leadership and was Bolder Industries' first customer.
Adding leadership and strategy by hiring Dave Abdallah, who spent 21 years at Bridgestone and whose experience includes tire compounding, process engineering, technology acquisition, and two years of selling and marketing recovered carbon black. He is responsible for one of the most successful implementations of recovered carbon black in tires to date.
Adding Giovanni Michetti as a retained consultant who brings more than 30 years of black masterbatch experience to add plastics expertise.
Swan Chemical, the distribution arm for Thomas Swan Ltd., North America, a well-known industrial rubber specialty chemical manufacturer and distributor, increases U.S. coverage and customer interaction.
About Bolder Industries
Bolder Industries partners with global brands and manufactures one of the most sustainable rubber and plastic ingredients on the market, BolderBlack rCB, from its Innovation Lab. Bolder Industries converts end-of-life tires into desirable carbon black and petroleum – with minimal waste. Its mission is to solve a growing tire-waste problem while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and the use of electricity while creating manufacturing jobs in the USA. The passion for the mission has created a series of technological developments and patents focused on the waste tire problem and its custom compounding lab to help customers accelerate time to market.