Creating markets for recycled resources

Fine Rubber Powders from Rubber Crumb & Buffings
Project code: TYR0009-26 Date of commencement of research: 25 December 2005 Finish date: 19 February 2006

Written by:

Anne & Russ Evans

Published by:
The Waste & Resources Action Programme The Old Academy, 21 Horse Fair, Banbury, Oxon OX16 0AH Tel: 01295 819900 Fax: 01295 819911 WRAP Business Helpline: Freephone: 0808 100 2040

May 2006

Tyres Report

using sophisticated. the more difficult it is to manufacture. and what is it used for? This report seeks to answer these questions. before becoming independent in 2003. All of the company’s products meet demanding standards for purity. fine grade product providing recycled content for the automotive industry. Bridgestone-Firestone. Its customers have a choice of either whole tyre-derived rubber or tread only-derived product. It is the only rubber powder manufacturer using wet-grind technology to produce a premium. Edge Rubber is a small manufacturing company in the East-central Pennsylvania USA city of Chambersburg that makes fine rubber powders for use in new tyres. and passed through ownerships by NRI Industries (1996-2000).1. what does it take to make really fine crumb rubber. Polytek Corporation (2000). Also. Titan Tire Corporation. Federal Mogul Corporation and Carlisle Motion Control Industries. even though environmental consultants globally assume that post-consumer tyre materials are an easy fit into products of these industries. Fine Rubber Powders from Rubber Crumb & Buffings Page 2 . and expensive. Summary Generally. the finer the crumb rubber. Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (and its Oliver retreading division). including Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The company's factory is the longest running. and packaging. are supplied by Edge Rubber of Chambersburg. brake linings and pigments. So. It manufactures qualitycontrolled medium and fine powders. The Edge Rubber Story Numerous customers. Inc. and Landstar Industries (2001-2003). The company is a producer of high quality rubber powders. 2. Pennsylvania USA. These three markets are extremely difficult to penetrate successfully. equipment. primarily for use by other manufacturers as component materials. The company began as a division of Baker Rubber. size distribution. the higher the value. most successful rubber powder facility in the United States.

and most of its feedstock is 1/4" (∀6. and one “wet grind” process line. as a feedstock for other products. including materials for tyres to replace clays and other fillers (20 mesh. then grinds the slurry. whole truck tyres. supplying rubber granulates and powders derived from whole passenger tyres. The company also supplies the bitumen crack and seal industry (10 to 20 mesh). Because the wet-grinder is not a pressure vessel. The company can use 1" (25mm+) crumb rubber as feedstock.4mm) material if the price is competitive. Process Raw material feedstock enters the plant at one side. The surface characteristics and shape of the particles produced with this system enable the product to be more successfully integrated into other polymer materials. In the wet-grind process some of the water mixed with the rubber granulate to be ground is heated into steam and vented.1 Wet-Grind Technology The company is the only wet-grind manufacturer in the industry. 4. 50 mesh & 80 mesh depending upon the tyre manufacturer) and for brake liners (20 mesh and 30 mesh depending upon the manufacturer). A sophisticated extraction and drying system allows bagging the finished product at the end of the process line Rubber grinding generates large amounts of heat as rubber particles are torn apart.4mm) rubber crumb or larger. The unique wet process line mixes rubber crumb feedstock into a slurry. but prefers 1/4" (∀6. Its primary products are rubber granulates and powders for the automotive industries. There are two ambient process lines. an immense amount of heat is given off. Most of its “finished” products are rubber granulates and powders that are 10 mesh to 140 mesh. on the opposite side (see aerial photograph above). Products The company is a reprocessor. 140 mesh materials are supplied for roofing and to PPG Industries. Because of the friction of the grinding process.3. 30 mesh. fine grade material that meets the demanding specifications of the automotive industry. The choice of processes depends upon the size and uniformity of the product being manufactured to meet the customers’ specifications. The company uses two different processes to manufacture its products. packaged. and finished products leave the plant. The wet-grind system produces a premium. Fine Rubber Powders from Rubber Crumb & Buffings Page 3 . and retreaders’ buffings. 4. the entrained water prevents the material from overheating. a major paint supplier to the automotive industry. and some of the slurry evaporates into steam.

Photo by Edge Rubber. This Process Flow Diagram is a simplified explanation of the company’s wet grind technology. Diagram by Edge Rubber. The steam rising is a visual reminder of the heat given off when rubber is ground – making plant design and safety important issues. Fine Rubber Powders from Rubber Crumb & Buffings Page 4 .This is the company’s wet process mill.

The ambient grinding is done using granulators and cracking mills. Fine Rubber Powders from Rubber Crumb & Buffings Page 5 . depending upon the customer’s needs. a small paddle with spikes is used to punch small holes in the sides of the plastic bags. fine rubber powder from the wet process is directed to a bagging station where the fine grind is put into SuperSacks.2 Ambient Grinding Technology The company also uses ambient grinding technology to produce material for the moulded goods. after filling. conveyors and ducts. 4.3 Packaging and Shipping After drying. The factory is a tangle of chutes. sports surfacing and bitumen industries. Photo by Edge Rubber. so that any moisture in the granulates or powders can vent and don’t fog up the bag causing caking. Granulates and powders from the ambient lines are also directed to bagging stations. through which feedstock and products being manufactured flow from one machine to another. plastic bags or paper bags. If the rubber granulates/powders are put into plastic bags.4.

This is one of the bagging stations where a SuperSack weighing about one tonne is being filled with rubber granulate or fine powder. Fine Rubber Powders from Rubber Crumb & Buffings Page 6 . Photo by Edge Rubber. Inc.

improving the likelihood of customer satisfaction. consistency and adherence to the strict specifications expected by customers. It is a full. state-ofthe-art rubber granulate/powder test facility. Fine Rubber Powders from Rubber Crumb & Buffings Page 7 . The lab tests feedstock. Each bath or customer shipment is checked for quality. but independently test each batch received for consistency and to insure that what is received is within the very tight specifications of the tyre and/or brake industries. The company uses ASTM (American Society of Testing & Materials) test method D-5644 for performing sieve analyses on rubber granulates and powders. The company produces rubber granulates and powders from various types of recycled tyre material. A lab technician prepares a sample for a sieve analysis. that performs all standard chemical tests and sieve analyses for rubber particulates using the latest technology and test equipment. The company’s laboratory tests assure that a product meets its customer’s requirements before it is shipped. The laboratory is involved in the company’s manufacturing operation. Its internal testing laboratory provides all customers with reliable data on each product shipment. Most automotive customers require ISO 9001 certification and quality assurance.5. Photo by Edge Rubber. using ASTM standards and protocols. including Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA). Quality Control & Testing The company is ISO 9001:2000 certified. raw material streams and finished products to ensure that its rubber products meet all of its customers’ requirements all of the time.

com URL: www. 7. 40%. Standards & Protocols The company has been in the forefront of establishing reliable.3 Manufacturing Innovation The company’s innovative use of the wet process to meet customers’ exacting needs. the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland and the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland). Any errors or omissions contained within the reports are the responsibility of the respective authors.1 Why a Best Practice? Establishing Markets. Individuals and organisations proposing to utilise any of the practices and methodologies within these publications are advised to seek appropriate expert professional advice in respect to their specific situation and requirements. Consequently. the information contained in this website is provided only on the condition that WRAP and their sub-contractors will not be liable for any loss.EdgeRubber. This converts to about 1. Additional information: Samuel E Kauffman.2 Testing for Product Quality The company’s on-site laboratory is among the best equipped and managed in the business.900 metric tonnes).6.000 whole post-consumer passenger tyres. 7. make this a Best Practice. consistent and longterm markets for granulated rubber products and has worked with the tyre and rubber companies to develop protocols and products that are reliably consistent in meeting very tight specifications and expectations. The company’s ability to satisfy these difficult industries makes this a Best Practice. 8. ___________________________________________________________________________ Important Warning The information set out in the above is of a general nature only and not intended to be relied upon in specific cases.000 lorry tyre casings being retreaded (based on 40%. 20%). using it to guide the manufacturing process and assure compliance with tight customer specifications.4 Supplier to New Tyre Manufacturers The company supplies new tyre manufacturers which is extremely difficult to do because of the extremely stringent requirements. Fine Rubber Powders from Rubber Crumb & Buffings Page 8 . 7. expense or damage arising from the use or application of such information. General Manager Edge Rubber 811 Progress Road Chambersburg. and buffings from 580. The information does not take account of environmental issues which should be discussed as a matter of routine with the regulatory authorities (the Environment Agency in England and Wales.040. 7. Contribution to Recycling The company claims an annual output of approximately 35 million pounds (about 15. Yet the company has maintained a long-term relationship with most of the world’s largest new tyre manufacturers while broadening its product base to the pigment and friction industries so it is not totally dependent upon the tyre companies. Pennsylvania 17201 USA Tel: +1 717 267-0599 Fax: +1 717 262-4909 Email: sfauffman@edgerubber.000 whole post-consumer lorry tyres. 7.