Eco Innovator November 2011
Machine Simplifies Tyre
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
The research project was funded
by a Federal Government grant of $516,000 through the Advanced Manufacturing
Cooperative Research Centre.
VR TEKs 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.