Driving Sustainable Futures
February 12, 2021
Committed to sustainability without compromising performance
While the industry is moving on its journey from a linear to a circular economy, high-performing recycled materials are emerging. Being an innovator in synthetic rubber and committed to the recently launched, ambitious “2030 Sustainability Goals”, Trinseo is a key enabler of this transformation towards more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly synthetic rubber products.
Our synthetic rubber business stands out with leading S-SBR technology and is a front runner in sustainable solutions. A forward-thinking team provides best support with a centralized Technology & Innovation, pilot plant, and expanded production assets in Schkopau, Germany. Trinseo’s proprietary functionalization technologies enable superior performance for even the most demanding tire applications.
Following an agreement signed in 2020 with Tyre Recycling Solutions SA (TRS) regarding an equity investment and joint development, we can extend our offer in novel circular solutions based on the combined technology expertise of TRS and Trinseo – both companies share the long-term goal of developing new value-creating systems for the manufacturing of tires that reduce the environmental footprint and create a sustainable outlet for end-of-life tires.
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Our customers do not just benefit from access to the TRS technology or Trinseo’s global supply and support network. They particularly benefit from innovative solutions, such as the recycled rubber powder TyreXol™ and high-performing tire formulations with an increasing percentage of recycled content, that do not compromise relevant performance features.
Making tires from tires
TRS builds global solutions for the collection, processing, and recycling of end-of-life tires in facilities in Switzerland and additional three factories in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and China (2021). The TRS technology toolbox can produce high-performance powder regained from end-of-life-tires for use as raw material in new tires and a variety of industrial rubber products.
The TyreXol™ high-performance powder is a concrete solution from TRS. Virgin materials enhanced with TyreXol™ can be manufactured for a wide range of industries, from building and construction, to automotive and transportation, footwear, 3D printing, and beyond.
TyreXol™ is proposed as a partial replacement of virgin raw materials for rubber compounds. It can be used to formulate and compound SBR-, BR-, and NBR-based compounds for tires and technical rubber goods. We offer global availability in a constant quality starting in 2021 and TRS laboratories are ready to support the product approvals in customer compounds.
Water Pulse™ and only selected ingredients
TyreXol™ is a recycled rubber material derived from passenger car and truck tire tread layers only, as the origin of recycled content significantly impacts the quality of the rubber powder. The majority stems from SBR/silica compounds from car tire treads. In the micronization process, the proprietary TRS Water Pulse™ ultra-high-pressure technology allows for various advantages.
The TRS water-jet milling technology is applied to tire tread layers only – by segregating car and truck tires. This way, we achieve the production of a rubber powder with consistent quality and differentiated composition. It provides a large surface area compared to all other rubber recycling products (>2x vs. best-in-class cryogenic powder at similar particle size range). In addition, the Water Pulse™ technology allows for a surface functionality on particles providing improved interaction with a (functionalized) rubber matrix. (The surface functionality could be further tuned to correspond with the targeted functionalization technology.)
Depending on the manufacturing process, the differences in the morphology, the composition, and the properties observed between rubber powders yield variable levels of performance in rubber compounds. One important fact to be emphasized: TyreXol™ rubber powder can be revulcanized.
Characteristics of the Water Pulse™ technology at a glance:
Performance advantages – proven by tire manufacturers
Several tire manufacturers have already confirmed TyreXol™ performance. They proved that mechanical properties such as tear resistance and abrasion can benefit from compounding with TyreXol™. Acceptable addition levels range from 10 up to 30 phr depending on the compound material composition and performance requirements. In some cases, processing could require some minor compounding adjustments when using the recycled rubber powder. The addition of TyreXol™ rubber powder increases the compound viscosity (effect reported for all rubber powder), but the formulation can be tuned to bring back the viscosity to its original level.
(*= optimized compound)
If we look at the example of tire compounds, there are two recommended grades: TyreXol™ CW 50 (produced from car tire treads) and TyreXol™ TW 50 (produced from truck tire treads). The figures below provide relevant comparison results at a glance.
Quality and competency advantage – TyreXol™ is certified
Our joint development partner TRS provides a remarkably high level of quality and consistency because of raw material selection (tire treads only) and the proprietary Water Pulse™ manufacturing process. In addition to performance properties, the chemical analysis of several batches produced over a period of 14 months demonstrated highly constant chemical composition.
The composition consistency and the particle size distribution in the lots translated to a high degree of reproducibility at the compounding stage (Swiss Safety Center certification ISO 9001-2015) results of composition analysis and comparison for TyreXol™ CW 50 and TyreXol™ TW 50.
Economic Advantage – a premium material adding value
You can add TyreXol™ in most tread compounds at 20 phr or more, while still maintaining the required mechanical and dynamic properties. Different to TyreXol™, you cannot add low performance recycled materials to tire compounds at high loading without compromising performance.
The economic advantage of using TyreXol™ is often significantly greater than the advantage obtained when using cheap, low-performing recycled material. Through long-term supply contracts, we can secure price stability. TyreXol™ meets a series of vital criteria that have been identified by tire manufacturers as being important to increase the adoption of recycled materials, in addition to performance and economic advantages: e. g. the sustainable business model as a supplier and sustainable quality and production volumes, the solution’s positive impact on Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of their products, and the support for meeting increasingly challenging regulations.