Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence 2019 shortlist – as supplied by organisers UKI Media & Events. Winners to be announced at gala dinner event on 6 March
Every year over 1 billion end-of-life tires are either sent to landfill or incinerated. Lehigh Technologies and Michelin are addressing the problem of waste tires by upcycling them into a high-performance, raw material called micronized rubber powder (MRP), reducing the industry’s reliance on finite natural resources while improving the performance of market-ready products without any compromise. After last year’s acquisition of the specialty chemicals company, Michelin is actively working to strengthen its commitment to its 4R Strategy of reducing, reusing, recycling and renewing materials in its product line. Michelin recently announced its sustainability goals of recycling 100% of its tires and using 80% sustainable materials in the manufacture of new tires by 2048.
RubberJet Valley – High-pressure water jet technology
RubberJet Valley’s solution allows for the recycling of truck and OTR end-of-life tires (ELT) that are not efficiently treatable by traditional shredding plants which use mechanical cutting technology. RubberJet Valley’s HPWJ Technology is able to recycle truck and OTR tires, whatever the size, obtaining clean, unique secondary raw materials – powder (RJPTM) and granules (RJGTM) which feature high NR content, high levels of purity, and are already partially devulcanized. RJPTM and RJGTM can be inserted in the compounds of new tires, contributing to a circular economy for OTR tires.
Bridgestone – high-strength rubber
World’s first polymer to bond rubber and resins at a molecular level. Crack resistance five times higher than natural rubber, tensile strength and abrasion resistance also higher than NR. It’s a hybrid material to bond synthetic rubber components and resins. In theory, could lead to 50% reduction in the amount of materials used in the tire (less tread depth, less polymer needed in production) and could also (potentially) reduce rolling resistance without affecting durability – making it a big factor in future EV tire development.
Yokohama – isoprene from biomass technology
Yokohama has developed what is claimed to be the world’s first technology capable of efficiently producing isoprene from biomass. The breakthrough was achieved through joint research with Riken and Zeon Corp. Isoprene is a raw material used in the production of synthetic rubber (polyisoprene rubber) applied in tires and other applications. Industrial isoprene is currently produced as a by-product of naphtha pyrolysis. The development of this new technology for synthesizing isoprene will reduce dependence on petroleum and contribute to the reduction of CO2 in the environment.
Michelin – RF-free dipping
RF latex has long been used as an adhesive to bond textiles with the rubber, but the chemicals are under increasing scrutiny for their environmental impact. They could be reclassified, or even banned, in the future. Michelin has spent nine years (and 35 patents) researching and developing replacement chemicals. It also necessitated development of a new processing method (using powder instead of liquid ingredients).