Eco Innovator November 2011


Machine Simplifies Tyre Recycling

The development of a device that can segment used tyres into sections of specific material could provide a means to dramatically reduce the number of used tyres sent to land fill or illegally dumped.

The tyre recycling technology was developed by the Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) with Melbourne-based company VR TEK, in partnership with Deakin University and the CSIRO,

VR TEK's tyre recycling process uses mechanical segmenting and is energy efficient. It is the first part of a patented process that turns used tyres into high quality rubber powders that are free of metal contamination. The powders are ready for redevelopment as new products based on rubber and elasto-polymers. The rubber crumb is also cheaper than virgin rubber.

Over 20 million used tyres are disposed of in Australia each year. Less than a quarter are recovered and recycled; the remainder are dumped as waste where they pose environmental and health problems.

Due to their metal content, shredded tyres are difficult to recycle in an economically viable and environmentally sustainable manner. VR TEK and CSIRO have overcome this problem with their device that segments tyres into sections of specific material.

The research project was funded by a Federal Government grant of $516,000 through the Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre.

VR TEK”s tyre recycling process produces
metal-free devulcanized and activated rubber

Federal Innovation minister Senator Kim Carr said the technology is an example of how innovation is helping to build a sustainable future for Australian companies and workers.

Victorian Manufacturing, Exports and Trade minister Richard Dalla-Riva said the initiative is a great example of a local company collaborating with local learning, research and development institutions to produce a commercial application and global solution.

"This research partnership shows how innovation and collaboration can boost commercial competitiveness and productivity, while also delivering broader benefits such as reduced waste and energy consumption," said Mr Dalla-Riva.






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