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Separation of Crumb and Fiber in Tire Recycling Operations

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  056139,  2005 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.19584) @2005
Authors:   W. Stanley Anthony
Keywords:   Tires, rubber, fiber, fluff, waste, separation, recycling

Tests at a research laboratory and field evaluation at a commercial tire recycling facility demonstrated the viability and economic value of a new machine to separate the waste fluff produced by tire recycling plants into marketable products such as crumb rubber and fiber. Two new fluff recycling machines were designed, constructed, patented and tested in the lab (prototype and improved), and one (prototype) was tested in a commercial plant. Processing the fluff from several recycling plants with the prototype machine yielded from 34 to 87% crumb and from 1 to 26% fiber. The crumb was mostly 300 microns or smaller. The quantity of unground rubber in the fluff ranged from 2 to 64% and greatly impacted the amount of recoverable crumb and fiber. Field tests at a commercial tire recycling facility were successful and the prototype machine yielded 70% crumb, 13% clean fiber, 9% partially cleaned fiber, 5% large pieces of unground rubber, and 3% cyclone waste. Evaluation of the improved machine with fluff from five recycling plants produced 40 to 67% crumb, mostly 300 microns or smaller. The highly variable raw material yielded from 1 to 21% clean fiber, 9 to 30% rough fiber, and 3 to 48% unground rubber. Economic evaluation for three tire recycling plants that processed from 2 to 5 million tires annually indicated that their gross income can be increased from $0.672 to $1.935 million per year depending on the quantity of tires processed and the landfill costs. The machines process about 1,491 kg/hr per meter of width (1,000 lbs/hr/ft) and cost about $100,000.

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