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Malaysian company announces world's first commercial tyre recycling technology

AvantiKumar | June 1, 2010
Landmark disruptive clean technology' will go global: Sekhar Research Innovations

KUALA LUMPUR, 1 JUNE 2010 -- The world's first commercially-viable tyre recycling solution, which addresses the global problem of scrap tyres, will also go global, according to Malaysian cleantech firm Sekhar Research Innovations (SRI).

SIR chief executive officer, Gopinath B. Sekhar, said: SRI's technology will fundamentally change the landscape of rubber manufacturing and tyre waste management, as we know it today. For the first time, scrap tyre material can be used in substantial proportions in the manufacture of premium rubber goods, such as tyres."

"SRI is focused on making a difference with a viable solution that is cost-effective, volume-based, value-added and compatible with existing rubber manufacturing equipment and processes," said Sekhar.

"Globally, there are more than 1 billion tyres produced yearly, valued at more than US$130 billion," he added. "These very same tyres, when they reach end of life, pose a global public health and solid waste management problem."

"Across Europe and United States, the majority are burnt for fuel (TDF) or used in roads and similar low-end applications," said Sekhar. "In Asia, end-of-life tyres (ELT) are routinely disposed of in landfills or in an irresponsible manner that has a negative impact on the health and the environment of the surrounding communities."

For lack of an alternative, these low-end and toxic practices have been wrongly accepted as sound solid waste management," he said. "The by-products of burning tyres for fuel include harmful emissions and contamination of fresh water sources.

What we have today is a solution that makes these end-of-life tyres a valuable industrial raw material for premium rubber products such as new and retread tyres. This is good for the environment, the economy and the consumer, he said.

Sekhar Research Innovations (SRI) is a research and development cleantech company focused on providing solutions to the growing challenge posed by the need to recycle tyres. It is currently using its disruptive clean technology to produce next generation rubber recycling solutions in the form of SRI Compound Masterbatch and SRI Activation Technology, processing aids and advanced state-of-the-art equipment for the global market.

 

Producing Compound Masterbatch
 
Sekhar said the company's proprietary SRI Activation Technology has successfully produced compounds that are currently being tested and evaluated by leading global tyre manufacturers. Locally, SRI is involved in ongoing evaluations and road testing trials with the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia.

SRI Compound Masterbatch (MB) is derived from the recycling of scrap tyre rubber that has been devulcanised and converted into raw material rubber compound, he said.  The primary input material for our process is 40 mesh (less than .04 mm) crumb rubber from ordinary whole car and truck tyres.

He said that in two months, SRI would produce 50 tonnes of SRI Compound Masterbatch per month at the company's present test facility in Malaysia.

This initial production will be targeted towards the retread tyre and general rubber goods market, and is expected to generate revenues of more than US$610,000 (RM2 million) per annum, said Sekhar.
 

 Overseas expansion

In the meantime, we are finalising sites for a full size production facility in Port Klang, which is expected to be operational by the end of this year, he said. This plant will produce about 20,000 tonnes of SRI Compound Masterbatch annually and represents an investment of US$10.76 million (RM35 million). This facility, which would target the demands of Malaysia and ASEAN markets, will generate revenues of more than US$24.6 million (RM80 million) per annum.

Sekhar said as part of SRI's global expansion strategy, it has a licensee in the United States for the eventual production of SRI Compound Masterbatch with similar agreements under way in Europe and Asia.

Tyre manufacturing is a demanding and highly competitive industry and any savings in raw material costs, even one per cent, is a significant gain, said Sekhar. What we are offering here is a solution that provides a savings of between four and eight per cent in terms of raw material cost. Given that profit margins in the industry are uniformly less than 10 per cent, this has the potential to double profits.

 

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