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November 2009
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Rubber Journal Asia

Expansion of rubber reclamation
In the UK’s rubber reclamation sector, a new devulcanisation technology is being further developed while a new crumbing business will reclaim tracks and an existing tyre crumbing operation diversifies.

The DevulCO2 project to devulcanise rubber, which was completed last year, involves a continuous de-vulcanisation system for waste tyres combining supercritical carbon dioxide with chemical devulcanisation agents in an autoclave.

Now, a new ReMould project has been set up to move the technology beyond tyres, to include other scrap rubber products, such as EPDM automotive weatherstrip. The project, which will expand into large scale production, will be used to manufacture a range of goods and also extend the technology into the production of extruded profiles. The ReMould consortium includes the original DevulCO2 project members, Smithers Rapra, PJH Partnership, Martins Rubber Company, BD Technical Polymer, J Allcock & Sons and Charles Lawrence International, plus Kingpin Tyres and the London Metropolitan University.

Meanwhile, PMC Rubber Track Recycling has started a new crumbing business in Strathclyde, Scotland, which will reclaim tracks fitted to diggers and earth-moving equipment. The company has designed a machine, which will be patented, that removes the steel links from the tracks before shredding the rubber. Apart from the UK, PMC says it will sell the steel and rubber to South Korea, Dubai and China.

According to PMC, no other company in the world offers a similar service and it has secured contracts with track supply companies Osprey Industrial and SPS (Southern Plant Spares). It says that approximately 70,000 rubber tracks are sent to landfills every year in the UK, amounting to more than 10,000 tonnes of steel and rubber.

In related news, tyre shredding company Swiers and Grainger in York has now invested £62,845 in recycling equipment to widen the range of tyres it can handle, enabling it handle an extra 6,284 tonnes of rubber waste over the next three years.

The company's existing shredder had the capacity to shred 360 tyres/hour but tyres had to be cut manually to feed it and the shredder could not be loaded fast enough to achieve its maximum capacity. The new investment includes a pre-shredder to automate tyre cutting, which means the main shredder can run to capacity, tripling productivity. The shredded rubber produced is used as flooring for riding arenas.

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