Rubber-tire upcycling process

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Last modified: 8 May 2023

• Just in Europe approximately 3 million tons of waste rubber become available, mainly in form of used tires.

• The used tires are currently not reused in an adequate manner, a large portion is incinerated for cement production, deposited on landfills or simply burned for energy production.

• By adding a very pure finely grained rubber powder the physical properties of specific plastics are positively influenced and can be used to substitute products with critical resources.

• Contrary to vulcanised rubber, the resulting materials are fully recyclable. This eliminates the problem of waste handling for the customers.

General description:
The process is based on mixing of highly pure rubber powder (<0,4 mm) with conventional plastics. The rubber powder is produced out of used tires by means of a multi-stage process. The tires are shredded into pieces the size of a hand. These are further reduced in size in a specialised mechanical process and freed from the steel rims, which is available without any rubber traces. The resulting used tire chips are chilled by mean of liquid nitrogen and reduced further in size by a hammer mill. In the next step all non rubber materials like metal, minerals and textile are removed in an elaborate sieve and separation installation. These products can be sold separately.

During a secondary cryogenic step the rubber granulate is ground to the desired grain size of <0,4 mm and purified once again. The purity is at this point approx. 99.9%. The grains surface is cubic. The rubber powder is now, with other addittives, mixed with pastics and is treated in a compounder resulting in compounds in granulate form.
These compounds are usable in all conventional injection moulding machines, extruders, and all other conventional plastic forming machines. Parts of the compounds are treated in a calander to end-products within the industrial wear protection. Furthermore these compounds can be processed on the STPS ThermoPress TB.

Unique selling proposition:
• Used tires as a starting material is at least free of charge, in a number of countries a recycling/collection fee is charged.
• All the output material of the first step is i.e. rubber, steel, and textile can be monetized.
• Throughout the processing highly valuable plastics are obtained, which can be used in many applications.
• The full process is environmentally friendly. No harmful by-products or waste water are produced. Waste gases are dedusted and filtered.
• The end products are recyclable.
• Protected by European patents (owned by KEC)
• Continuous product management and roadmap development with continuous patent extension.
• Registered Brand Rucothel® (owned by KEC)

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Written by

IPCO Process Systems BV

An Industrial process solutions group with 600 employees, 35+ sales & service offices globally, production in Asia, Europe and North America and 200 M EURO in annual sales. Previously operating... Read more