How to increase profitability of tire recycling business with innovative rubber products
Recycling tires into materials such as steel-free crumb rubber and fine rubber powder used to be a profitable venture; however, due to market saturation in developed economies, tire recycling companies are beginning to shift their focus from producing raw materials to manufacturing higher-priced consumer goods made from recycled rubber or even virgin rubber which can be replaced by tire-derived materials. The first and so far one of the most viable choice for tire recyclers would be investing in presses and molds to produce molded goods from crumb rubber or rubber powder. Another options include more complex technologies, e.g. blending recycled rubber powder with polyethylene or polypropylene to produce thermoplastic elastomers (TPE).
As a rule, manufacture and sales of consumer goods yield higher margins than production and distribution of raw materials, and yet markets abound with opportunities in the field of molded and other value-added products from recycled rubber. The most common examples of molded goods are playground mats, flooring tiles for gyms, rubber curbs, traffic safety products, insulation panels, equine mats, carpets for cattle etc. However, one needs to keep innovating and inventing new products. Due to high supply and relatively low prices of recycled rubber in most of OECD countries given rapidly advancing technology, every year more molded products from recycled rubber are being developed.
This article lists some of the products from recycled tire rubber which could significantly increase profit margins of tire recycling businesses.
Rubber wheels for waste bins
In Europe, the technology has been on the market for quite some time and many companies manufacturing and assembling waste bins, municipal and industrial trash containers started using chassis from recycled tire rubber. As a rule, such chassis not only contribute to cleaner environment, but also help companies cut production costs – market price of such goods is notably lower. Croatian company Gumiimpex can serve a good example for such a manufacture.
Yet, developing regions such as, for instance, North Africa or Middle East, lack such manufacturers and import rubber wheels for waste bins from key manufacturers in Europe and Asia. Many countries around the world find themselves in similar situation – vast market opportunities on domestic and regional markets remain unexplored.
Security products from recycled rubber
Recent news in tire recycling industry features a British company Rosehill Security that will start providing its molded security products from recycled tires, including hostile vehicle mitigation (HVM) barriers, Ballistic Blocks and Rapid and Impakt Defenders to the US market. According to the company, it recently signed a deal with ARX Perimeters which gives the company a new window of opportunity.
The production of Rapid and Impakt Defenders relies on recycled tire rubber, and uses polyurethane for extra strength. The product can be used in almost all types of surfaces, ranging from roads to stadiums. It is also possible to apply them in combination with mobile perimeter and high-security fence systems – thus ensuring boosted protection.
Rubberized metro tracks
In Spain, Acciona Infrastructure Group – a company previously teamed up with researchers, Spanish waste tire management authority SIGNUS and tire recycling industry players studied how recycled tires could benefit municipal railway systems. The company explained that its team was searching for methods to reduce noise from trains on railroads, adding that they are seeking to benefit the environment.
Currently, a 16-kilometer subway route which uses recycled tire rubber stretches between four points in Spanish Granada – Albolote, Maracena, Granada and Armilla; 13km are above the ground and 3 km stretch underground. According to the company, Acciona’s innovation allows carrying out proper maintenance without huge investments and molded rubber pads for railroad tracks can be easily installed. In addition, the technology helps transform large amounts of scrap tires into valuable products greatly reducing the end-of-life tire problem. According to the company, to produce one meter of tracks approximately seven scrap tires are needed.
Railroad ties from recycled rubber
Another innovator in Spain successfully entered the market of molded products from recycled tire rubber with similar goods.
A joint agreement has been signed between Spanish technology company Indra and an Italy-based young company Greenrail, which is involved in manufacturing of environment-friendly railroad ties from recycled tires and plastic. The partners will now be developing merchandise from recycled tires and construct new production lines, which will cater to the rail industry. Apart from utilizing scrap tire rubber, the collaboration between Greenrail and Indra is expected to make railway maintenance process more energy-efficient and cost-effective, as well as safer.
Giovani De Lisi, CEO and founder of Greenrail said that Greenrail’s Solar and LinkBox systems capable of ensuring energy-efficiency and railway’s setup safety, may be adopted by Indra as a result of the signed contract. The joint venture is considered a powerful player of Shift2Rail, the key project in Europe that advocates innovations in the rail industry, thanks to its frontline advances in traffic control and rail signaling, payment systems, service improvement and other outstanding achievements.
Weibold's market researches
High returns on investment are required for successful recycling operations and apart from lowering operational costs one needs to keep innovating and looking for new revenue streams. To explore opportunities in innovative rubber products, including molded rubber goods, contact Weibold and consider our specialized market researches. Weibold’s 20-year-long expertise includes not only the economic side of running tire recycling and pyrolysis businesses, but also production technologies. Write us at email@example.com to learn more about our work!