Canadian rubber technology company Phoenix Innovation has announced that it is almost ready to launch its patented technology which has been under development for many years and which will allow licensees to be able to reintegrate their truck tyre buffings in tread compounds in a significant percentage.
Surface Activated Crumb Rubber Technology Ready for Launch
The technology, called “Activator” is claimed to be unique and is referred to as “Surface Activated Crumb Rubber (SA-CR)” since it is a surface activated process that forms an integral part of the compound. The rubber granules generated by buffing are not devulcanised. Instead, they are surface activated to blend into the compound completely.
Jean Prévost, the President of Phoenix explains: “The uniqueness of the process is that we made it very simple to operate with few people, it is software driven, has a small footprint, is fully green, and has durable equipment. The rubber granules, once gone through the SA-CR process, change shape (swelling) and are therefore easily incorporated in a compound. We used a very large compounder for our latest tread compound, and they had glowing comments on how easily it blended in a compound compared to other compounds they do for other companies. The only issue is downsizing the scrap rubber to the right size. That could be set up in house by individual licensees and/or subcontracted to a local quality recycler.”
According to Prévost, Phoenix have now tested and proved the concept in an industrial size pilot plant facility and are now looking for interested parties who might wish to reserve territories or early deliveries. In the initial phase of development, the company is specifically looking to target the retreading sector as it says it has received considerable interest in all aspects of reusing the buffings as part of a circular economy concept.
“We now have new retreads on several trucks with 16% of SA-CR in the treads, and statistics are being taken to compare to standard tyres. The technology has been proven and is now being tested to confirm again on retreads,” he claimed.
In terms of the process of getting ready to go to market, Prévost explained that this is still several months away.
“When we started this adventure, we modified standard used equipment,” he explained. We now need to make the next generation of the “Activator” System, and this will spawn 2-3 new patents. That will take about 8 months or more since we want to place that new unit in a lab as a demonstrator and use the lab to test future licensee samples before they try to convert them. The licensees will need and appreciate this kind of support.”
Phoenix say they will eventually be looking to sell licenses as well as selling the new “Activator” System Equipment. The company will also take a royalty per pound of SA-CR rubber.
“We are not looking to sell complete plants,” said Prévost. “We will have interested parties that will want to treat rubber scrap for many companies that will take it back once in the SA-CR form. These licensees may also want to treat rejected materials or excess rubber and sell it to other parties since it will be very good in many industries. These licensees will set up their own facility since it does not cost much compared to pyrolysis and other technologies. We are fully scalable.
Phoenix say they plan to license the technology globally in a variety of non-competing formats. They do not plan to operate facilities themselves, although they anticipate being partners in one in Montreal. The company will also be licensing companies that are in the rubber business.