Tirecycle® products are produced by a process of surface treating ground particulate vulcanized rubber with an adhesive polymer, which enables the ground rubber to actively cross-link with other rubber. This enables the user to incorporate high concentrations of ground particulate in rubber and plastic without significantly affecting the physical properties of those compounds, while achieving significant cost reduction, quality control and enhanced performance of the ultimate end products.
The Tirecycle process converts an overwhelming environmental nuisance and pollutant from a negative value, into a raw material that has significant commercial value to the rubber and plastics industry, without any environmental side effects, as no effluent is produced during the process and
NorthStar Elastomers, LLC, manufactures and markets TC 1301, the activating adhesive polymer, and TC 1302, the basic Tirecycle compound. Both can be tested and adjusted for your specific master batch manufacturing and performance needs.
The production process involves the application of a small percentage of TC 1301 adhesive polymer to a large percentage of ground rubber in a mixer (Banbury works best). The adhesive polymer, combined with the mixing process, serves to activate the previously “dead” particles of rubber crumb.
At the completion of this stage, powdered or amorphous Tirecycle products are bagged/boxed for shipment to the customer. This stream of Tirecycle compound may be further processed with virgin synthetic or natural rubber compounds to produce a fully compounded sheet stock, which can be used directly in compression molding applications.
Tirecycle products have proven to be a commercially viable and effective raw material in the manufacture of tire tread, molded mechanical items, floor tiles, roofing, plumbing parts, shoe outsoles, railroad crossings, automotive equipment, other injection molded and extruded polypropylene and polyethylene parts and miscellaneous items.
A typical application enables the user to incorporate as much as 30% to 75% of TC 1302 into their rubber or plastic compound without significantly affecting the physical properties of the compound.
Depending on the actual blend and concentration of Tirecycle used, the compounder’s raw material costs can be reduced by 20% to 50%. Use of Tirecycle also enhances performance/wear of many high stress goods such as industrial and automotive v-belts, tires, footwear, etc, by increasing stability and traction (in particular on wet surfaces) and overall durability. Tirecycle provides other significant manufacturing efficiencies (i.e, using about 1/3 less time to mix, meld, and cure rubber products such as tires – like adding a 4 shift to a 24/7 plant).
Because Tirecycle products are an excellent fit for tire manufacturers and can be used in thermoset and thermoplastic compounds, NorthStar Elastomers estimates the market for Tirecycle products exceeds six billion pounds per year. The science has been available for 30 years, but the market is only now becoming receptive on a major scale. This is bringing new entrants, such as Dow, attempting to develop competing reclamatory processes.