Weibold Academy: Recent innovations in OTR tire recycling technologies
For many years, tire recycling industry and business worldwide could not design economical solutions to efficiently recycle end-of-life off-the-road (OTR) tires. While OTR tires consist of high-quality natural rubber, one of the challenges in recycling them was transport. Huge size and weight of OTR tires do not allow transporting these tires easily and, as a result, these end-of-life tires used to be buried in quarries and on mining sites.
Today, new technologies and innovations in engineering design give us hope that OTR tire recycling will soon become a common practice.
In this article, we are highlighting some innovative technologies which have capacity to transform hard practices of OTR tire recycling into a common, yet profitable business.
Brehmer / Eagle International (United States)
Brehmer’s Eagle International – a longstanding manufacturer of large tire downsizing equipment – reports that its Punch Cutter has become a well-established machine for cutting OTR tires into usable segments. Eagle’s patented machine is designed to punch through the tread of an OTR tire and split it into two halves down the center of the tread. It is a more compact option for cutting tires in half within Eagle’s flagship OTR Downsizing System.
The Punch Cutter is loaded onto the sidewall and travels around the outside of the tire, punching a blade through the tread as it cycles. Once the equipment’s programmable logic computer (PLC) has been set, the operator can hit the “start” button and the entire cutting process runs automatically. The cutting cycle lasts up to eight minutes on a 59/80R63 and will remember settings between tires of the same size. The Punch cutter is equipped to cut tires with max rim size of 63 inches and a tread width up to, and including, 70 inches. The innovative design of this machine reduces friction on the blade during the cutting process. This allows the machine to cut without any added cooling systems.
Eagle reports that once the tire is “bagel-cut” it can be more easily processed during shredding or pyrolysis, reducing wear and tear on machine components. Other uses for halved-tires include livestock water tanks and implements for scraping and snow removal. According to the company, the Punch Cutter has a proven track record in Canada, South Africa, Chile and the United States and is set to enter Argentina in the coming months.
To learn more about company’s products, navigate to Eagle’s website.
Eco Green Equipment (United States)
Eco Green’s Razor 63 is the ultimate in high quality rubber removal and preparation for down stream processing of the largest tires on earth. The patent pending technology allows tire recyclers to remove valuable rubber from all three sides of the tire. The rubber that has been removed is ready to be screened packaged, and sold. Small changes in the blade configuration allows flexibility in the size of the output material to better target the most valuable size in the market. Once the high quality rubber has been removed and processed the remaining tire can be sent down stream for further processing or be turned into other useful products, such as water tanks or wear strips.
The company highlights that the equipment has advantageous features like articulating head for three sided rubber removal, adjustable knives for control of output size, dual head for rasping of rubber and splitting of tire, etc.
To learn more about the equipment, please visit Eco Green Equipment's website.
Gradeall International (UK / Northern Ireland)
Gradeall International is a renowned manufacturer of tire bailing and end-of-life tire recycling equipment based in Northern Ireland. The company recently reported about its new OTR cutting equipment.
To address major challenges in the domain of off the road (OTR) tyre recycling, Gradeall have developed a new 3-pronged solution, which enables to effectively cut the OTR tyres and mitigate costs. This range of OTR tire recycling machines consists of OTR Splitter, OTR Sidewall Cutter, OTR Shear.
Gradeall’s team pinpoints that the current problem in OTR tire recycling is that these huge tires take up a lot of space and are very heavy at approximately 600 kg per tire making them take up a lot of space, they are impossible to move by hand and costly to transport due to low amount of material fitting on a trailer.
Using the Gradeall OTR cutting range these large tyres can be cut down into easy to manage segments weighing under 25Kg which means they can be lifted and moved around by anyone. These segments can be baled, shredded, sent for pyrolysis or any of the further recycling methods that are available to conventional tires.
The video below demonstrates how Gradeall’s equipment cuts OTR tyres into manageable and easily transportable pieces.
In addition to OTR cutting equipment, Gradeall offers tire baling equipment to easily transport tires to recycling facilities locally and internationally.
To learn more about Gradeall’s products, navigate to Gradeall’s website.
Salvadori is the renowned provider of tire recycling solutions and recycling technologies. This year, the company helped American OTR tire manufacturer create an efficient solution to recycle their end-of-life OTR tires.
Inland sells and services OTR tires from four northern California locations. Thanks to Salvadori’s equipment, Inland’s CEO Eric Griffin has a dynamic vision how to recycle, repurpose and reuse the company’s end-of-life OTR tires and position Inland as a major player in the new “Circular Economy”.
To help Inland meet its ambitious goal, Salvadori designed a completely customized machine named “Wolverine” capable of cutting the largest OTR tires. One important facet of Wolverine, according to Salvadori, is that it is a fully automated piece of equipment which reduces labor costs and mitigates potential workplace injury liabilities. This was particularly important to Inland.
The second piece of equipment, Hercules 90 is able to quickly and efficiently extract the steel bead from large OTR tires. According to Salvadori, 97% of the rubber is removed in the debeading process which enhances the value of the reclaimed steel.
According to the CEO of Inland, Salvadori’s equipment exceeded the operator’s expectations during the factory acceptance test (FAT), which took place at Salvadori’s manufacturing facility in Rovereto, Italy.
To learn more about the company and its equipment, please visit Salvadori's website.
How to utilize downsized OTR tire most effectively?
Besides mechanical recycling of OTR and mining tires and producing rubber mulch, the industry has seen interest to tire pyrolysis technologies as well. The most recent example is Kal Tire’s OTR tire pyrolysis plant in Chile, which is expected to be constructed by the end of 2020.
According to a recent press release, the facility will operate using two OTR tire pyrolysis reactors, each about 6.2 m long and about 3.5 m in diameter. As the construction is currently in its first of three stages, yet four reactors are expected to arrive at the facility.
The plant was designed and manufactured in Europe, and recycles end-of-life OTR and mining tires through the process of thermal conversion (pyrolysis / thermolysis). Reportedly, the plant will be capable of recycling tires of 4 meters in diameter and more than 4 tons of weight. The project will process 7,300 tons of end-of-life tires per year and envisages expanding its capacity to 25,000 tons in the future.
Other helpful information
Currently, the industry is actively looking for innovative approaches to include OTR tires into the loop of circular economy. Luckily, OTR tire recycling receives ever more attention from both businesses and regulators. One great example is Tyre Stewardship Australia and its recent report about OTR and mining tires in the country.
There are more innovative OTR downsizing solutions already in the pipeline. Mobile units capable of precutting OTR tires at the mining sites for more efficient transportation. Ultra high pressure water jetting technology to directly pulverize the high quality rubber compound from OTR tires into surface de-vulcanised rubber powder.
To learn more about the topic or launch a tire recycling business focused on OTR tires, write us at email@example.com.
Weibold is an international consulting company specializing exclusively in end-of-life tire recycling and pyrolysis. Since 1999, we have helped companies grow and build profitable businesses.