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Sustainable Moulding of Articles from Recycled Tyres

Final Report Summary - SMART (Sustainable Moulding of Articles from Recycled Tyres)

Executive Summary:
End of life tyres represent both a waste problem and a resource opportunity, for both the society and the large recycling trade community. The land filling is realised in huge tyres stockpiles usually located close to the urban regions, most of them not even legally established, creating enormous environmental and health problems. The SMART technological objectives was to realise innovative recycled rubber products in high added value sectors (sport, transport and industry) with specifically produced moulds, by means of exhausted tyres’ grinding without the addition of any linking agent or virgin rubber.
The very first months of the project intended to identify the requirements in terms of industrial applications, expected performances, costs of the SMART solution and product to be moulded. A general layout of the moulding machine and the moulding process has been produced, taking into account the constraints for the production in the three main fields of application: Transport, Sport facilities and Industry applications. The products moulded and tested during the project have been: 1000 x 1000 tile for flooring (Sport & Leisure sector), anti-vibration tile with interlocking edge (Industry sector) and kerb for street applications.
The activities have been focussed on the definition of the expected requirements for the compression moulding process from the user side and the definition of the expected requirements for the compression moulding machine. The user requirements have been the basis on which to build up the technical specifications for both the compression moulding process and the compression moulding machine.
A specific moulding machine has been selected and customized for the needs of the compression moulding process. The process of defining and refining the overhauling and customization of the mechanics, the actuation, the electronics and the control system of the purchased commercial plate drawing machine have been successful. In parallel, the products and the moulds to be included in the machine have been designed and manufactures.
The project showed the feasibility of the SMART technology. As expected, the three products have been produced by using the SMART press customized by LABOR and thanks to the technical support of the SME partners. Thanks to Tebamix, other two products have been added to the list, arriving to a sum of 5. ADRIA provided the technical support for all the experimental campaigns with the SMART press, being the press located in its site. The first product has been moulded with the customized mould, designed and manufactured by LABOR. GumiImpex has produced puzzle-shape tiles by water-jet cutting. The third product has been made by using a mould designed and prototyped by UNITV. An extensive tests campaign has been carried on for testing the performances of the samples produced and the products. In conclusion, UNITV proposed a patentable innovation to provide optimal aesthetics and functional performances to SMART tiles.
Finally, an assessment of the products moulded with the SMART process has been performed. Products made by SMART technology show optimal mechanical performances in comparison with conventional technology. Production of tiles has been used as case-study to show that SMART technology is better than conventional one also in terms of costs and energy consumption. Cycle time strongly depends on automation as in conventional technology whereas SMART process is easier in operative terms because of the absence of the PU-rubber mixing phase. Interlocking geometries can be obtained by water-jet cutting or directly by moulding.

Project Context and Objectives:
End of life tyres represent both a waste problem and a resource opportunity, for both the society and the large recycling trade community. ETRA, the European Tyre Recycling Association, estimates that more than 3.4 Mtons of post-consumer tyres arise annually in the Europe, of which 0.9 Mtons are re-used or reconditioned, while 2.5 Mtons are End of Life Tyres (ELT), which are non-reusable in the original form. This amount enters a waste management system based on product /material recycling, energy recovery or landfill. Even though tyres land filling is illegal after Landfill Directive (Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999), this procedure is still applied in many EU countries.
The land filling is realised in huge tyres stockpiles usually located close to the urban regions, most of them not even legally established, creating enormous environmental and health problems:
• Tyres stockpiles attract insects or rodents that clearly endanger the health of the surrounding living centers, also being the cause of diseases diffusion. Especially in areas with warmer climates mosquito-borne diseases like encephalitis and dengue fever have been reported around large tyre piles . Insects and rodents represent a threat to life and health as well as reduced quality of life.
• Health problems and cancer incidence in the surrounding areas , , , .In Europe it is estimated that tyres storage sites presents an average risk of 1 cancer incidence per 1.500.000 citizens, thus a total of approximately 250 cases of cancer per year and a further 25 cases of birth defects annually in Europe are related to storage sites.4,5,6,7
• Huge environmental impact of these areas and a pollution increase in the nearby waters and soils, which is actually under-detected or not monitored at all; the most obvious hazard associated with the uncontrolled disposal and accumulation of large amounts of tires outdoors is the potential for large fires which are extremely detrimental to the environment. Once a large pile catches fire, it is very hard, if not impossible, to extinguish (see the figure for an example). The health risk has been demonstrated to increase with stockpiles fire incidences.

Moreover, even though tyres are 100 % recyclable and their chemical and physical properties make them an outstandingly valuable resource, still energy recovery constitute the greatest share of destination. The energy recovery is realised co-combusting tyres as Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) with other fuel (usually coal), mostly in cement kilns. The main drawback of this practice is related to the emissions of dioxin, due to the presence of chlorine in tyres: rubber used in tyres presents up to 25% aromatic extender oils, a toxic waste product of oil refining which can contain chlorine; also, certain metals present in tires (such as copper, iron, manganese, nickel, sodium and zinc) serve as catalysts for dioxin formation, Tests carried out by EPA in USA have found increased dioxin emissions in cement kilns (from 40 to 2000%) when tyres are co-combusted (
For these reasons, the burden of ELT waste is a Pan-European problem that requires an integrated and common European approach to recycling.

The tyre recycling sector is constituted by large communities of SMEs, estimated as more than 20.000 connected to the recycling trade in Europe. The sector is in a compelling need of seeking for an innovative and decisive solution to increase the competitiveness of tyres recycling when compared to energy recovery. In fact, presently, the added value of a recycled product derived from tyre shredding process is very low due to the following factors:
▪ The recycled rubber products have poor mechanical performances
▪ The profit of recycling is limited by the manufacturing costs

The SMART participants SME-AGs believe that the starting point, upon which it is necessary to build the future of tyre recycling, is to focus on totally eliminating the pricy resins usually integrated in the moulding process and serving as rubber fragmented parts binders, and to achieve recyclable products with mechanical proprieties comparable to primary rubber products, at least for what concerns the performance to compression.

The real added value of the SMART technological objectives is to realise innovative recycled rubber products in high added value sectors (sport, transport and industry) with specifically produced moulds, by means of exhausted tyres’ grinding without the addition of any linking agent or virgin rubber.
Additionally to the main goal, strategic and operative objectives are also included:
▪ Strategic objectives
o To improve competitiveness of ELT recycling SMEs through the development and validation of an innovative recycling technology which improves the mechanical characteristics of the recycled products, increasing their added value and enlarging their application market
o To enlarge the applicability of tyre recycled rubber to a wide range of application and support the shift of ELT recovery solution from energy recovery to recycling, validating the choice from the energy/environmental point of view and crating awareness on this aspect.
o To comply with the standards introduced by the European Community going straight to the elimination of tyres stockpiles and recycling of tyres for producing new industrial products/parts..
▪ Operative Objectives
o To optimise the tyre degradation process for producing a fine rubber powder (crumb) which will substitute polyurethane resins presently used as binding chemical elements, and constituting the main cost of the process
o To define a direct compression moulding process, using the rubber crumb powder as filler and to optimise the parameters relevant to the final moulds implementation (crumb mesh size, temperature and pressure of operation, etc.) and the adaptations needed to implement the process in moulds
o Define and realise three innovative mould products, in the application fields of transports, sport facilities and industry; these products will be chosen among some already individuated necessities of the mentioned applicative fields with the highest market value (Rubber sheets and rail profile for noise and vibrations reduction in rail, mats, ramp and kerbs for safer roads furniture and sports facilities applications, rubber technical articles for industry).
o To validate the technology and carry out the assessment from the technical-economic and environmental point of view of the technology compared to alternative routes, including energy recovery
Finally, the SMART project has also quantitative targets, as follows:
▪ Recycling costs vs traditional moulding: Production costs still remain the leading factor in the recycling sector. Processing of recycled rubbers needs to be economically competitive with respect to use of virgin material but also with presently applied process for tyre recycling through moulding.

▪ Product mechanical performances: The technology proposed in SMART project will produce rubber parts that will present the compressive strength resistance needed for many applications in the industrial, sport and transport sectors, where presently only virgin rubber can be used.

▪ Decrease to zero the polyurethane binder or other chemical agent component of the recycled rubber mixtures. The product will be fully further recyclable, being no additive in it.

Project Results:
SMART requirements and specifications
The very first months of the project intended to identify the requirements in terms of industrial applications, expected performances, costs of the SMART solution and product to be moulded. A general layout of the moulding machine and the moulding process has been produced, taking into account the constraints for the production of the three specific products in the three main fields of application: Transport, Sport facilities and Industry applications. In this framework, the activities have been focussed on the definition of the expected requirements for the compression moulding process from the user side and the definition of the expected requirements for the compression moulding machine. The user requirements have been the basis on which to build up the technical specifications for both the compression moulding process and the compression moulding machine.
The aim of the process requirements definition was to define end user requirements for the compression moulding process development, in terms of expected performance and cost. The definition of the compression moulding process is strictly dependent on the choice of the case studies. In fact, by identifying performances and shapes of parts, mould requirements are identified too as well as process conditions (in terms of temperature and pressure). Previous studies allowed partners to evaluate preliminary values for moulding temperature and pressure. Data are strongly dependent on the rubber part geometry and the used moulding machine. Building a new moulding machine will lead to obtain different properties (expected much higher) and different relationships between process parameters and final part performances. In particular, the moulding temperature has to be set as a function of the mould material (aluminium, steel) and the part details. The effect of the mould material can be extracted also by literature data.
The strongest limit in using aluminium moulds is related to the lower pressures than can be applied during forming. From a process point of view, aluminium moulds permit to reduce the time for moulding operations in absence of automation. On the other hand, aluminium moulds have lower costs, can be produced also in small workshops and can be heated with simple systems.
Starting from these technical information, it was possible to evaluate what kind of parts could be produced by the single partners in dependence of their industrial interests. It was clear that the pressure is not the most important problem as smaller parts can be produced by using small machines. The real problem is to apply a high temperature during moulding and new research efforts had to be made to reduce the moulding temperature. At the end, it was identified a list of possible candidates for rubber prototypes, according to the typologies mentioned in the research programme. At least 3 prototypes had to be moulded, each one belonging to a different class (namely Sport, Industry and Transport).
After discussion among the Team members, it was agreed that the final range of products would be culled from the initial seven to three based upon their applicability across markets. The final three are :
1. Tiles (1000 x 1000 x 15) which can be used as anti-vibration mats and/or sport tile (Sport application)
2. Road kerbing in a standard size (Transport application)
3a. 500 x 500 x 50 interlocking shape (Industry application)
3b. A support plate with three holes, which is an adaptation of a tile, with ant-vibration performance

The technical specifications of the process and the technical choices have been defined in order to achieve the requirements of the process. The specification had to be used to drive the design of the process, the product and relative moulds design. Briefly, it was necessary to preliminary show the feasibility for the production of case studies and to indicate approximate process conditions. The best way to reach this goal was to use the laboratory equipment for moulding tests. This way, requirements from SMEs and other partners could be directly evaluated by measuring physical and mechanical properties of rubber samples. In order to perform preliminary tests, different kinds of rubber powders and granules were provided by Adria and GumiImpex-GRP. Other tests were made by using rubber powder already present in the laboratory of the Department of Industrial Engineering of University of Rome Tor Vergata (RTD performer, UNITV). All the moulding and material tests were carried out by the researchers of UNITV.
At the beginning, the mould and the powders already present at UNITV were used and several actions were made to reduce plate warping after extraction (above making uniform the rubber surface before moulding). Subsequently, a new mould was designed and built (with an area of 200x200 mm2) and it was used to produce rubber plates with the new rubber furniture. Thanks to the new operative conditions during moulding, it was possible to reduce the plate thickness down to 1 mm, even if a poor agglomeration was visible near the plate edges. An important process change was made by reducing the mould temperature down to 200 °C. Physical and mechanical tests were carried out to evaluate the properties of the new materials and very interesting results were obtained. Tensile tests were chosen for mechanical characterization because, during the tensile tests, the adhesion among particles is directly evaluated. For this aim, dog-shaped specimens were extracted.
The plate density was 1 g/cm3 and was independent from the plate thickness. This value was lower than previous results (where a density up to 1.2 g/cm3 was achieved) because of the pressure reduction. In fact, higher moulded areas lead to lower moulding pressures and, therefore, to lower densities. Anyway, the measured tensile strength and elongation at break are very attractive. Picture below reports tensile curves for three different specimens, having different thickness (from 1 to 3 mm) and powder type (FP and GP). Much higher values are expected by increasing pressure in the new moulding equipment under designing. In the case of the picture below an average tensile strength of 1.3 MPa and an average elongation at break of 60% were achieved.
These preliminary results showed the ability of the new process in substituting the agglomerated recycled rubber (granules + PU binder) which is used at present to produce tiles, blocks and similar parts. In order to better show this feasibility, tensile tests were also carried out on specimens extracted from a sheet made of agglomerated recycled rubber. Higher properties and comparable elongation at break are achieved by directly moulded specimens. In particular, the tensile strength is near the double of the agglomerated rubber. This comparison is very important by considering that the moulding temperature was reduced to form the initial and the moulding pressure was moderate.
Problems arise when the comparison is made with virgin rubber. In this case, the substitution cannot be made by trying to increase the performances of the recycled rubber up to the virgin rubber: that is an impossible goal. Substitution is possible by re-designing parts and materials. Virgin rubber has a very high tensile strength (8 MPa) but the real limit is given by the elongation at break (higher than 150%). Direct moulded rubber can reach high values if some material changes are made. However any change that can increase the tensile strength would results in a further decreasing of the elongation at break. Parts in 100% virgin rubber will be probably never substituted with parts in direct moulded rubber if a strong reduction of the ductility is not accepted (for example part re-design could lead to reduce the need of so much high ductility). Nevertheless, parts made of virgin rubber and rubber granules could be substituted more easily with direct moulded parts. Some experiences were made to increase the rubber tensile strength by inserting a reinforce fabric in the rubber powder before moulding.
Rubber strengthening by fibre filling (or by particle filling) is easy thanks to the fact that the new moulding process is a solid state technology. Anyway, some aspects have to be taken into account, e.g. the need of placing a fabric with high voids to avoid rubber detaching from it. Moreover, plastic fibres can be used if the moulding temperature is not so high to produce their degradation. By using suitable reinforces, rubber hardness can increase as well.
Apart from physical and mechanical requirements, other functional properties are important to make the use of direct moulded rubber possible for industrial needs. In particular, three functional aspects are very important and preliminary activities were made to show some research strategies for their improvement: wear, smell, and aesthetics. Due to the moulding operation, a bad smell comes from the moulded parts in the first days after production. This smell reduces with time but rarely disappears. In order to limit this problem, part coating was studied. Coating of rubber is a difficult task because of the high rubber deformability. As a consequence stiff coating layers are rapidly broken and pushed away during the rubber part working. New solutions were found to efficiently coat rubber plates. Initially thermoplastic films were used but in such cases a very bad adhesion was found between the rubber and the plastic film. Very good results were obtained by using a silicone coating as silicone is flexible enough to follow the rubber deformation during loading. The effect on the rubber smell is evident as well as the effect on the tribological behaviour.
It was found that rubber plates made of fine powder (FP) showed poor behaviour during the test. A very high friction coefficient was measured, higher than 1. This occurrence is typical for elastomers that deform under the vertical load and increase the contact area with the pin.
Moulded plates with coarser particles behave better but the best result was obtained by the coated plate. Due to the pin interaction, wear is visible on the tested surface: this wear leads to the abrasion of the rubber, i.e. to the detaching of small particles from the surface. In the case of coated samples, the silicone coating protects the rubber and fails detaching from it. That could be a very good way to improve performances of rubber blocks or tiles.
At the end of this task, it has been possible to acquire all the technical information to show the feasibility for prototyping the desired case studies. A last activity was made to give evidence of the ability of the moulding process in obtaining the geometric details of interest.
In the same moulded part, large cylindrical pins (about 20 mm in height and 20 mm in diameter) were obtained together with small cylindrical holes (about 5 mm in height and 2 mm in diameter). Three different kinds of powder were used (FP for holes, GP for pins and granules for the plate back) so as to show the possibility of producing structures with gradient properties. Some defects occurred during the part extraction due to the absence of mould rounds or drafts. These defects will be easily eliminated by a proper mould design.

The moulding machine requirements collection was aimed to obtain all the requirements considered important by the SMEs about the SMART moulding machine, in order to make the result of the project the most suitable to satisfy the expectations of the real industrial production. Due to developments and improvements in the direct moulding process from one side, and considering the long process of defining the products to be realized in the projects on the other, the activity of gathering the pressing machine requirements have been continuously evolving for many months.
Speaking about performance, the most important requirement to be focused was the working table dimensions: this requirement was strictly connected to the product dimensions, which SMEs and RTDs have been discussing for many months. So, the need to mould 500x500mm products was at first considered the target requirement, while increasing these values up to 1000x1000mm was just mentioned as a wished possibility. Proceeding along the first Reporting Period, the final decision about the product dimensions could only be defined once the SMEs finally agreed on the list of products to be realized in the project. At last, realizing products up to 1000x1000mm became the target requirement.
In addition, accessory features for the pressing machine were mentioned:
▪ Indirect mould heating with external heating plates was considered acceptable;
▪ A scale system to help introducing exact quantities of different granules into the mould was considered useful;
▪ A mould sliding table to help moving the mould in and out of the press area was appreciated
▪ An extraction feature by means of compressed air was considered very useful to allow a safe hot extraction of the product from the mould
Finally, a list of specifications was defined and included:
▪ max moulding temperature
▪ min plate size: 1200x1200 mm
▪ press total load
▪ max product height
▪ daylight height
▪ piston stroke
▪ product extraction function
▪ mould sliding table
▪ preliminary granule drying system
▪ granule scale system
Considering the highly innovative concept of the SMART process and the very important impact that it is expected to have on rubber products industry, the design of a specific moulding machine is a very critical task: it must first realize all possible SMART process conditions, it must satisfy any typical end user industrial need in terms of final product wide range and machine cost and consumption, and must be highly functional and attractive in a very crowded industrial market like moulding machine market is; in addition to all that, it must be feasible within the project budget and time schedule.
Obviously, a successful result for such a complex request needs a clear and complete vision of all the possible implications of any possible design choice from the very beginning of the design process activities. This important work frame have been achieved by carefully considering any of the following aspects:
• the definition of a detailed list of requirements including SMEs explicit needs;
• a thorough analysis of moulding machines available on the market, in order to build a good base of interesting solutions, establish any possible room for improvement and decide whether to proceed to a completely new moulding machine design or consider an upgrade of existing models;
• a clear vision of all the parameters involved into the process, to be handled by the machine and its control system;
• the definition of a detailed list of specification that can represent the best answer to all the preceding points and offer a solid start point for the design phase.
The consortium was involved into extensive discussions which moved the make-or-buy analysis towards the purchasing on the market an existing machine to be customized for the necessities of the SMART project and the needs of the beneficiaries.
No doubts were raised about the convenience to obtain the pressing machine by purchasing a used model available on the market, to be later customized with the other groups. That for three main reasons:
• designing from scratch a complete pressing machine could be too complex, expensive and time-consuming to be feasible within the project budget and timeline;
• the SMART process testing activity performed by UNITV needs to rely on the complete moulding machine as soon as possible in order to proceed with more advanced and effective testing;
• provided the required clamping force and the necessary working area are guaranteed, any hydraulic pressing machine on the market can already serve the purpose of realizing the "pressing feature" of the SMART process.
Following this approach, it must be considered that SMART moulding machine has not been obtained by designing from scratch the complete mechanics and command electronics, but purchasing on the market a second-hand pressing machine to be later adapted and customized for the specific needs of the SMART process.

Process characterization
A lot of work has been done to study the powder mixtures so as to guarantee the best performances of the final moulded products. Several performances were expected from moulded rubber depending on the specific application (transport, sport or industry) and other properties were requested to the rubber mixtures to make production processes stable, repeatable and cheap.
Some products have been collected from partners and their mechanical performances have been extracted and compared with recycled rubber samples. Different rubber powders and granules have been collected as well both from partners and from other rubber recyclers. This way, it has been possible obtaining rubber parts with different properties starting from different rubber powder mixtures.
Apart from the shape, main differences between transport, sport or industry products deal with the shape and some functional properties. For all the products, higher the strength better the performances. Unfortunately, in directly moulded rubber there is a strict correlation between density and strength: therefore if low density materials are expected, problems could occur for their strength. Generally industrial and transport products are large; in this case, a particular emphasis is necessary to have rubber mixtures with high homogeneity. Moreover, for industrial products, the most important aspect is the definition of a correct processing procedure for high production runs. Sport products have to show highest performances and good reliability and powder mixtures have to behave as well.
The first step for designing a part in recycled rubber is the granulation step. The optimal powder mixtures have been chosen not only in dependence of the expected performances but also as a function of the availability for the different implants. Some mixtures were obtained by changing the powder granulometry and shape (depending on the production process) but this strategy seemed to be economically disadvantageous. Planned objectives have been:
▪ Defining the correct pulverisation strategy
▪ Analysis of the powder properties and correlation with the processing parameters
▪ Studying chemical or physical methods for powder functionalization
▪ Evaluating the correct powder mixture for each application field
▪ Defining measurement methods for the powder qualification
▪ Analysis of the powder degradation due to granulation.
Depending on the system used for grinding as well as on its working conditions, different properties can be achieved in the final moulded part. In the project, two industrial partners (Adria and Gumiimpex) have a recycling plant and can provide rubber powders and granules.
Materials provided from Gumiimpex are listed below:
• Rubber granulate (powder) 0-0,5 mm
• Rubber granulate 0,5-2 mm
• Rubber granulate 2-3,5 mm
• Rubber buffing (powder) 0-0,8 mm
• Rubber buffing 0,8-3 mm
• Wheels for container
• Tile for stable in virgin rubber
• Floor tiles (one red and one green).
Recycled rubber products were made by using 6 wt% of linking agent (polyurethane) and different rubber particles (buffing or a mixture of buffing and granulate for the wheels, only granules for the tiles). Gumiimpex also provided rubber particles:
1. Rubber granulate (powder) 0-0,5 mm – 2 kg
2. Rubber granulate 0,5-2,0 mm – 2 kg
3. Rubber granulate 2,0-3,5 mm – 2 kg
4. Rubber buffing (powder) 0-0,8 mm – 2 kg
5. Rubber buffing 0,8 – 3,0 mm – 2 kg.
These materials (rubber granulate and buffing) were direct moulded in plates of 200x200x5 mm3 before obtaining dog-bone specimens.
Other rubber articles have been provided by Tebamix:
• A portion of a car door bumper (600x200x16 mm3)
• A portion of a road sign stand (400x500x150 mm3)
The products samples have been previously catalogued and subsequently die cut to obtain test specimens for tensile tests. Other rubber granules (coloured ones) were supplied by IASLIM.
Other powders have been collected by the University of Rome from other factories to make some comparisons.
Starting from provided powders and granules, several studies have been performed to understand the correlation between the grinding process, the rubber particle characteristics, and the final performances of rubber products. Thanks to these analyses, it has been possible to evaluate the best mixing strategy as well as to clarify the expected effects from powder functionalization. Afterwards, recycled rubber plates were moulded and tested in an optimized moulding process. Process optimization also allowed defining new technological solutions for functionally gradient structures or low density materials. Other preliminary solutions for aesthetics were tested as well. It has been possible to focus the scientific investigation on the rubber powder so as to understand the morphology of the rubber particles and to correlate surface and bulk properties of particles with the final properties of the moulded rubber.
After moulding, dog-bone specimens were cut and tested.
Several technical solutions have been studied to improve the rubber mouldability, such as powder filling or sieving; other solutions have been tested during next research steps (such as rubber pre-heating or functionalization) but the goal remained the direct mouldability of the powder size distributions indicated by the industrial partners.
Rubber parts have different properties depending on the process conditions and the powder-granule mixture: this effect has been studied but further studies need by using the large-size press to overcome limitations coming from the laboratory-scale process (above all about the maximum allowable thickness of the moulded parts). Anyway, it is evident that bulk properties of direct moulded parts are sufficient for moulding the reference products, after proper part re-design. Some limitations were found by moulding high thickness plates at lower temperatures. Surface properties are affected by the powder/granule size distribution more than bulk properties and coarse particles have to be preferred for improving the surface wear resistance. Gradient structures (rubber granules on the surface, powders in the bulk) have been moulded with good surface properties; an alternative is coating the rubber by using the typical polyurethane binder.
Very interesting results were obtained also by SMEs (Tebamix and GumiImpex) which repeated the direct moulding process in their laboratories. Tebamix deepened the effect of the rubber functionalization (by sulphur or typical additives for rubber) whereas GumiImpex has reached the highest values of strength and ductility ever measured on direct moulded parts.
At the end of the research activities two important results have been obtained. The first one is the optimization of the moulding process with the consequent ability of forming complex shapes. New moulding solutions have been tested and will be used in the further experimentation. The second main result was the investigation on the rubber particles and the correlation between their properties and the performances of moulded products.
Thanks to this activity, it was possible identifying the best mixture for a given application as well as predicting the maximum allowable performances from a given powder mixture. In order to simplify the production process, powders and granules have been taken from the grinding implants and selected for the best performances.

Lab scale product moulding and tests
Teknologisk Institutt AS (TI) has tested the products prepared by the partners in the SMART project. TI has received samples produced by Tebamix and Adria. The objective of the tests is to analyse the properties of the test products produced by Tebamix and Adria by different processing conditions (temperature, duration and pressure) and compositions (granulate size and producer, gradient structure) and different raw materials by direct moulding (without binder). The tests should identify the best combination of processing conditions and composition/material and especially compare properties from products prepared by direct moulding with binder with commercially available products prepared by moulding with a Polyurethane (PU) binder and the activity of Teknologisk Institutt AS include:
1. Preparation of a specific set of tests and test plan/methodology addressing the key features and properties of the end products decided to be focused on the this project.
2. Performing the material tests according to test plan developed in 1) for the different types of products
3. In element 2), include existing products on the marked for comparison and benchmarking.

On the delivered samples from Tebamix and Adria, Teknologisk Institutt AS performed a series of tests including of mechanical testing, effects of ageing and compatibility tests for different materials against UV, ammonia, cutting liquid, hydraulic oil and water. This was performed to compare products made with different granulate types and moulding parameters and to see how materials respond to different conditions of use as well compare and benchmark with products produced with a PU binder. In addition, the samples has been analysed and tested with regards to their vibration damping properties for use of antivibration pads and friction was tested for anti-slippery surface. The tests performed include:

1. Hardness and change of hardness before and after exposure according to ASTM D2240/ISO 868
2. Tensile properties and change in tensile properties before and after exposure according to ASTM D412/ISO 527
3. Anti-vibration tests according to IEC 60068.
4. Friction on surface according to NS-INSTA 800.

With regards to the hardness and tensile properties tests, the samples were cut into test pieces with the following dimensions:
• Overall length: ≥ 150 mm
• With at narrow portion: 12 ± 0,2 mm
• With at ends: 24 ± 0,2 mm
• Gauge length: 50 ± 0,5 mm
• Initial distance between grips: 95 ± 1 mm

Change of hardness and tensile properties was performed before and after environmental exposure to UV, ammonia, cutting liquid, hydraulic liquid and water:
• Ultraviolet light; 700 hours in Atlas Xenon weather-o-meter
• Ammonia: Concentration 0,5ml/l – 70 degrees C –fully submerged
• Cutting liquid: 10 % volume – 70 degrees C –fully submerged
• Hydraulic oil: 100 % hydraulic oil – 70 degrees C –fully submerged
• Fresh water – 70 degrees C –fully submerged

The control/reference was stored in air at 23 degrees C.
Results of test of hardness and tensile strength
The unexposed materials all show fairly similar hardness values with small differences depending on granulate size and processing conditions. There is no pronounced difference between samples with and without binder. After exposure to UV-radiation, all samples show an increase in hardness although somewhat less pronounced for B-samples (i.e. samples produced by Tebamix with the process parameters of 180 degrees C for 15 minutes and a pressure of 3,2 MPa). After exposure to ammonia, all samples show a decrease in hardness, G2 (i.e. sample produced by Tebamix based on Adria granulate 0,8-2,0 mm) to a lesser extent than G4 (i.e. sample produced by Tebamix based on Gumiimpex granulate 0,8-2,0 mm) and G6 (i.e. sample produced by Tebamix based on Orzel granulate 0,8-2,0 mm) . Exposure to cutting liquid leads to a decrease in hardness, the cutting liquid has a very negative impact on samples, and the effect is more pronounced in samples with binder than without binder. Hydraulic oil also has a severe effect on all samples and the trend is the same regardless of binder, tap water does not lead to any pronounced effect but samples with binder are more negatively affected.

The tensile testing shows that the unexposed samples with binder have a greater tensile strength than samples from direct moulding. Among the direct moulded samples, the G6 (0.8-2 mm granulate from Orzel) samples show the greatest strength. The tensile properties are reduced by ammonia, samples with binder still retain their greater strength but the reduction is just as pronounced in the binder samples. Cutting liquid and hydraulic oil have a very severe effect on all samples, tap water also leads to a decrease in properties, but a very small decrease.

When looking at these materials and their applications the material exposure and mechanical tests give an indication in regard to which granulates and processing conditions that are worth further investigation. G 6.5 E1 (i.e. sample produced by Tebamix – Gradient structure Orzel granulate 0,8-2,0 and 0,0 – 0,8 mm, 200 degrees C for 10 minutes and pressure over 3,2 mPa) and G 6.7 E.1 i.e. sample produced by Tebamix – Gradient structure Orzel granulate 0,8-2,0 and ELT-rubber from RagnSells in Sweden 0,0 – 0,2 mm, 200 degrees C for 10 minutes and pressure over 3,2 mPa) are materials that show good properties, these are both gradient structure materials produced at high pressure, 3.2 MPa. These materials should be investigated further, as their properties should be satisfactory for several applications.

The performed testing should be seen as a means of comparing material produced by direct moulding to material produced using polyurethane binder. Some of the tests are very harsh and may not be something that will ever occur in normal use, but it is a means of telling the differences in behaviour. For every application the need of hardness, tensile strength etcetera should be evaluated, as there is most likely many applications in which the material produced using direct moulding will be perfectly adequate for use. In regard to agriculture applications for example, a valuable follow up test would be filed tests where the material is placed in real environment and evaluated by the user and by mechanical testing. The direct moulded samples are less affected by UV radiation and may therefore work very well in playgrounds, although additional testing must be performed in regard to impact etc to make sure that the material complies with existing regulations. We can see that all materials are degraded by hydraulic oil and cutting liquid, which is therefore a cause for concern when it comes to use in applications where leakage of such chemicals can be a reality. Again, it must be stressed that the material must be evaluated up against the need fo a given application. Just because the material used had traditionally had a certain profile, does not mean that another material cannot work just as well. The SMART project has given many interesting results for direct moulded materials and has shown that these materials have a potential that should be further evaluated and that the materials should be tested for their performance in real environment.
Result of anti-vibration tests
Test of Anti Vibration Pads show that samples produced with an PU binder has the best isolation/anti-vibration properties compared to the samples produced without binder. However, the sample 48 (i.e. sample produced by Tebamix based on 0,8 – 2,0 mm granulate and 180 degrees temperature of 15 minutes) has properties that are close to the samples with the PU binder. The evaluation of results must however also take into account the frequency for which isolation is required and the load on each pad.
For a pad that is to be used under a foot of a large piece of machinery, an insulation plate with the lowest possible resonance frequency will be the best choice moving upwards in the frequency area. Therefore, the plates with the PU binder is the best choice for this aspect. When the machinery is in operation, it will generate vibration in a specific frequency range, the damping pad of choice should then give isolation in this frequency area (Q<1). The factor governing how soft the plate should be is if you would additionally have low frequencies as is the case during start and stop giving large displacements at low frequency. Frequencies that one wish to damp must be in the area where Q<1, frequencies that are not so important to damp can be in the frequency area Q>1.
Result of friction test
The results of friction testing shows that all samples comply with the requirements and classification as “Safe flooring” or better except G-4/C (product with PU binder). Sample T2 (i.e. sample produces by Adria based on granulate of 1-2 mm with a moulding temperature of 200 degrees C) has very good anti-slippery properties and comply with the requirement and classification of “Very Safe flooring”.

Products and Moulds design
The activities performed for the products and moulds design prescribed the definition (included CAD design) of all the three products from the list and, for each product, the consecutive design of the mould for the product according to the general objectives.
This principle, also keeping in due consideration the good results progressively coming from the testing activity, led to a reorganization and optimization in the mould design activities. In order to take advantage of the new knowledge acquired during testing, and having to cope with the much higher effort requested by the project targets in terms of time and cost, the following decisions were agreed by the consortium:
▪ use the same mould design to realize products n.1 and 2, due to their shape affinity
▪ realize the mould for product n.3 as “a part” of what could be a multi-cavity industrial mould specific for that product, limiting the design to a mobile single-cavity mould to be mounted into the same mould realized for product n.1-2.
This decision allowed an effective optimization of the use of the resources, making possible to hit the ambitious uprated target without affecting in any way the full scientific and practical understanding about the possibility to mould products of real industrial interest by direct moulding, and about the actual competitiveness of the SMART process in applications at industrial scale.
Product and mould no. 1 - 1 m2 tile
This product has a very high commercial value, due to its damping properties saving people from harming themselves in case of fall. The commercial product available in the market from GRP has a weight of 16.3 kg with a resultant density of 0.82 g/cm3.
The product shape is very simple, apart from a 5mm round on the four edges of the upper face.
Due to the critical need of investigating, optimizing and validating the process results first, without affecting the evaluation with introducing geometric features that would multiply the degrees of freedom, it was required from UNITV to keep any shape detail out of this first product, considering the product completely flat and squared. For this reason, the 5mm round was excluded from the final design of the first version of 1000x1000 tile realized within the time limit of the project: hence the product n.1 realized in the project is the simple version of 1000x1000 tile, with straight sides.
The main mould is the mould specifically designed to realize the product 1 (tile 1000x1000mm) and successfully used also to obtain the product n.2 (tile 500x500mm).
The main dimensions of the cavity had to be chosen according with the following considerations:
▪ the horizontal dimensions should include the extra size to compensate the shrinkage after moulding
▪ the depth had to be chosen in order to allow moulding the highest thickness that could be considered interesting in the testing activity of the project

Concerning the width, according with the indications given by UNITV from their lab testing:
▪ material shrinkage is a function of the powder size
▪ for each moulding condition transverse shrinkage is the same
▪ filling depth should be a percentage of the final desired thickness
As for the cavity shape, the first aspect to be defined was about the draft angles to be adopted in the cavity. In this case the high shrinkage typical of direct moulding turned into a strong advantage, because draft angles were considered not necessary at all, much simplifying the design and construction.
The second aspect that had to be defined concerning the cavity shape was the possibility to introduce in the mould design any kind of geometric detail, for both functional or aesthetic reasons. At this regard, the 1000x1000 tile required by the project partners and identified as Product n.1 had no geometric details apart from a 5mm round on its upper face edges. Besides, during the project many other possibilities have been evaluated about upgrading the geometry of the tiles with various details of different complexity: interlocking profiles on the side faces, enlightening cuts on the bottom face, aesthetic details like grooves, grid patterns, holes, protruding pins, carved text or logos, etc.

Nevertheless, the possibility to introduce details later was not abandoned: the design was conducted with the idea of allowing in the future some geometric details like edge profiles or rounds without redesigning the whole cavity. This principle was realized through the “partial modularity” of the mould.
Since the hot moulding was one of the key features of the SMART process, the mould had to be provided with a heating system, and should be designed in order to minimize the energy needed to heat the mould and keep it hot. The mould heating system is the most important additional group the machine had to be provided with: in fact one of the most important parameters of the SMART process is the temperature applied during moulding. In order to define the best configuration for the direct heating system in terms of number, position, dimensions and power of the heaters to be adopted, a full thermal design of the main mould has been performed, by means of an extensive thermal FEM simulation campaign.
Due to the original design of the pressing machine used in this project, the hammer can’t be completely closed against the working table: the minimum possible clearance between the hammer and the working table of the pressing machine is 600 mm. The complete height of the closed mould, especially in the worst case of the need to close the mould with empty cavity, couldn’t be enough to fill this clearance (about 200-300 mm could be expected): for this reason, additional spacers had to be designed in order to be able to close the mould in any configuration. Two spacers have been designed sharing the exceeding clearance in equal parts and realized with identical shape. The spacers installed with the complete mould are showed below.
As for the product extraction system, after many evaluations, one final choice appeared as the most simple and natural: since the industrial pressing machine adopted for the SMART project was provided with the so called “blank holder system” (an auxiliary hydraulic system actuating the raise of a series of rods from under the working table, it was extremely useful taking advantage of such a system, already present in our machine to realize a product extraction system (provided some adjustments and modifications were applied to adapt the system to a completely new function).
Even if not properly part of the mould, this section is also included since the tool to remove the product from the working area can be considered as a part of the product extraction feature of the main mould. The total weight of the complex “tile + mobile bottom” quite high, being about 52 kg in the former case and 46 kg in the latter. In order to assist the operator in removing the 1000x1000 tile from the working area, saving him from dangerous efforts, a specific tool was realized and provided to the user together with the machine. This tool is made of a mobile carriage in aluminium profiles, with long forks that can be introduced under the mobile bottom of the mould raised out of the cavity by the extraction system.
The main mould has been provided with a complete thermal insulation shield, made of specific composite materials especially suited for this kind of industrial application (hot moulds). The design of the thermal insulation was preformed through the simulations made for the heating system. A complete shell has been realized enclosing the mould, not only under the basement and over the top, but also all around the side faces of the male and the female. The effectiveness of the thermal insulation was later confirmed during the testing activity.
Due to the high temperature reached during moulding and considering the big dimensions of the mould, the thermal expansion had to be taken into account. In particular, a proper and controlled sliding of the hot areas with respect to the cold areas had to be made possible not to destroy the mould: in fact, about 5 mm overall thermal expansion were expected for the basement of the mould, later confirmed by direct measurements installing the heaters on the basement plate before assembling the mould. For this purpose, specific joint bushings have been designed to realize a mobile connection.
Product and mould no. 2 - interlocking tile
The product referred to as n.2 is a 500 x 550 mm tile 48 mm thick, also taken from the commercial production of GRP, characterized by an interlocking “puzzle” profile on two sides.
On industrial scale, the interlocking shape is typically realized by water-cutting straight plain tiles. Direct moulding the complex interlocking shape is also possible in principle, but the cost of the mould could be very high, part extraction could be very problematic (cracks could easily occur) and non-uniform shrinkage could affect the interlocking shape precision, making the correct mould design for a good interlock matching on the final product hardly predictable.
For the above reasons, also considering on the other side the simplicity and speed of industrial water-cutting process on mass production scale, the possibility to include the interlocking shape in the direct moulding phase has been soon excluded. Better, the efforts for this product have been concentrated on achieving a compact and uniform high thickness by direct moulding, and on obtaining a product that can be successfully water-cut ensuring good final properties (strength) of the cut edges for the interlocking application.
As mentioned in the previous sections, an independent mould could have been realized for the product n.2: in order to keep this into account, the cavity of the main mould for product n.1 was designed and realized with the concept of transforming it in the specific cavities for product n.2 with few minor modifications, instead of re-designing and re-building the whole female part of the mould.
Product and mould no. 3 – kerb
According to specifications from Adria, the designed kerb is 800mm long, 140mm wide and 70mm thick, with a trapezoidal section. There are two puzzle-shape profiles at its ends in order to make the kerbs linkable. On the upper face, there are two cavities made for fixing LED lamps. In these cavities, two holes are present for fixing the kerb to the road by screws. The holes are blind as it is not always necessary to fix the kerbs on the road. The lower part of the kerb is lightened and two ribs are added below the blind holes so that the thickness is constant as much as possible, as shown in the longitudinal section image. The total volume of the kerb is about 5600 cm3 and the expected weight is about 6.5kg.
The SMART process is a compression moulding process, so the needed equipment is a mould able to be allocated in a parallel-plate press. In order to use the already existing equipment in SMART project, it has been decided to avoid any system to clamp the mould to the press plates.

Moulding Machine development
At the beginning of the project up to the first year, the consortium was involved into extensive discussions which moved the make-or-buy analysis towards the purchasing on the market an existing machine to be customized for the necessities of the SMART project and the needs of the beneficiaries.
No doubts were raised about the convenience to obtain the pressing machine by purchasing a used model available on the market, to be later customized with the other groups. That for three main reasons:
• designing from scratch a complete pressing machine could be too complex, expensive and time-consuming to be feasible within the project budget and timeline;
• the SMART process testing activity performed by UNITV needs to rely on the complete moulding machine as soon as possible in order to proceed with more advanced and effective testing;
• provided the required clamping force and the necessary working area are guaranteed, any hydraulic pressing machine on the market can already serve the purpose of realizing the "pressing feature" of the SMART process.
Following this approach, it must be considered that SMART moulding machine has not been obtained by designing from scratch the complete mechanics and command electronics, but purchasing on the market a second-hand pressing machine to be later adapted and customized for the specific needs of the SMART process.
After thorough evaluations, including travels to the different plants to "touch by hand" the machines, the most interesting from the list resulted to be the Sandretto 450, for the following reasons:
1. the price was extremely inviting (was sold in a bankruptcy auction, which made the price extremely low but implied the risk of buying a machine that had not been working for a while );
2. the load was perfect for our project, the working area quite wide (the widest in the list), and the piston stroke quite long, even giving us the possibility to enlarge the panorama of the industrial application of the SMART moulding machine;
3. the machine, carefully examined in place before purchasing, appeared in good overall conditions, without major structural problems nor modifications to its original design;
4. during the first inspection, it was even possible to be shown the machine switched on and moving the piston up and down, confirming that the machine was still working.
Hence, after consulting with the partners, the decision was taken and the machine was purchased. The initial idea was indeed to have the machine ready in few months, but the extreme complexity of anything around this kind of machine (mainly due to its weight and dimensions) required a much longer time in order to be sure to install the machine in complete safety and to prepare it for the most reliable work with the SMART process.

Due to its size, the machine chosen for the SMART project was not the kind of machine that could simply be loaded on a truck, transported and placed on the ground of the destination plant. In our case, four engaging tasks had to be carried out:
1. Realize the appropriate basement, consisting of a wide trench in reinforced concrete
2. Organize the transport, considering that the machine represented an oversize load
3. Prepare the machine for the transport, disassembling some of the primary components
4. Perform the loading/unloading operations and finally place the machine on its new foundation
Once installed in its new location, the “live” phase of technical activities to prepare the machine for the work in the SMART project could start. Considering that the machine was an old one, with dozens years of heavy-duty service on its shoulders, and considering that it had not been working for at least one year in a plant that was closed down due to failure, the first thing to do was to proceed to an extensive overhauling process in order to identify any possible structural/functional issue, replace worn out components and restore the machine status to complete operative efficiency.
Besides the customization applied to the design of the existing machine, some external functional groups had to be added to achieve all the functional operations required by the SMART process. The customization of the SMART moulding machine was then considered completed by adding the following functions:
• mould heating
• mould extraction
The control system is provided together with the new electric panel. The old actuation panel has been completely removed and discarded because its components were too old and worn out, and because the panel itself was designed for the functionalities of the original plate drawing machine, so the commands available were not suitable for the different duty-cycle of the SMART moulding machine.
In order to perform the operations of overhauling and customization, occurred before the new control and actuation panel could be realized, a temporary command panel was first prepared, with the only purpose to have a direct control of the two main pumps, of the auxiliary hydraulic circuit and of the four hydraulic valves whose different combinations allow the different actuations of the machine (hammer descent, brake and ascent, blank holder activation, etc.).
The new control panel is designed to be all integrated in a new modern box, presenting the control interface on an industrial touch screen together with the main key button, the different actuation buttons and the safety stop.
The definition and implementation of a complete safety system has been considered extremely important for the following use of the SMART moulding machine: in fact, as the machine was aged, and probably not used by the preceding owner in compliance with the necessary modern safety standards, the machine was completely lacking of any safety device.
The safety system was hence defined according with the current state of the art for this kind of machines, and included the following interventions:
• installation of front and rear optical gates, realized as a barrier of photocells, in order to prevent the machine from being actuated if any operator is leaning over the working area, under the raised hammer, or is even standing too close to it;
• installation of grid doors on the two sides of the machine to close the empty space between the columns and prevent any person from entering the working area from aside;
• installation of security hooks grabbing the hammer when arriving at its upper end-stroke and the machine is put in stand-by: these hooks are supplied with safety switches that prevent any actuation of the machine as long as they are engaged under the hammer; the hooks are designed strong enough to be able to withstand the whole weight of the hammer: this is in case the whole system should fail and a sudden leak should occur in the hydraulic circuit, leaving the hammer free to its gravity;
• reimplementation of the final consensus for the machine actuation by using the two original pads, to be actuated by two different people at the same time, one at each side (front/rear) of the working table with two hands each. This to prevent that any operator can have any free hand while actuating the machine.
With these security devices installed, the use of the SMART moulding machine can be considered up-to-date with all the related standards, and any partner that should like to use the machine for the following test activity will be allowed to work in complete safety.

After the detailed layout realized, the procurement of the moulds took place. In particular, considering that the moulds had to be completely custom-designed due to the specific requirements of the SMART process, the procurement of the moulds was mainly divided in the following different activities:
1. procurement of the heating system and of the raw plates of insulation material, both defined through the thermal FEM simulations performed in WP4;
2. procurement of all the hardware (screws, nuts, tools) and accessories (electrical connections, spray supply for non-stick treatment);
3. manufacturing of all the structural components according with the CAD design performed in WP4;
4. transport of all the components to the installation site in ADRIA;
5. assembly of the mould;
6. installation of the mould onto the SMART moulding machine.
Due to the high weight of many of the main mould components (some of them exceeding 100 kg), the assembly phase required critical attention and had to be performed using both a forklift and ADRIA’s overhead crane, besides qualified personnel. Prior to the real assembly phase shown in the following pictures, a pre-assembly sequence was also performed in one of the workshops, just to check the correct matching of the components before they left the workshop to be shipped to the installation site in ADRIA.
The kerb mould has been manufactured in aluminium by machining.

Products prototyping, beta tests and final assessment
The main goal of the project is showing the feasibility of the SMART technology which is a compression moulding of rubber powders/granules from tyre recycling without any use of binders. In order to show this feasibility, at least three products had to be moulded, each one in a market segment which is considered fundamental for the recycled rubber sector (transport, sport, and industry).
Product no. 1 - 1 m2 tile
The 1 m2 tile has been the first product to be prototyped and it has been used to deepen the correlation between the production process and the final properties of rubber products.
In December 2014, first SMART tiles were moulded and results were immediately encouraging even if such changes were necessary in comparison with initial expectations. According to laboratory tests, it was immediately clear that the main problem to solve was water release during de-moulding. Differently from small laboratory presses, large presses (like SMART press) are difficult to control in de-moulding. However, finding the correct combination of rubber granulates and process parameters, 10 mm and 20 mm thick rubber tiles were successfully moulded at the presence of the PO and the Technical Reviewer with an optimal moulding time.
After December 2014, several experimental campaigns have been to optimize moulding of tiles and to provide samples to the Consortium. Rubber tiles were produced. Medium size granulate (1-2 mm) was preferred to reduce problems in de-moulding because of the excess in water release during fine powder moulding. Some tests were also made by using coarse particles.
Product no. 2 - interlocking tile
Thanks to the similarity between Product no.1 and Product no.2 a mould was not necessary for the latter. The mould of Product no.1 was used to produce thick plates which were subsequently machined by water-jet in GumiImpex. This solution is already used for interlocking tiles made by the conventional technology because of mould cost reduction.
Machinability has been evaluated by GumiImpex that stated that any delamination of the tile or failure during cutting was observed. Moreover tiles were solid and compact (before and after cutting). Puzzle shape as interlock method works. The cutting time was quite longer than conventional PU agglomerated rubber (probably due to high density), being over 5 min per tile.
Apart from the tile production, the absence of delamination in the tile thickness after cutting is the evidence of the ability of SMART process to correctly agglomerate rubber also with high thickness.
Product no. 3 – kerb
The kerb is surely the most complex article which has been prototyped by the SMART process. Good results were obtained for the kerb in terms of surface integrity and general agglomeration. A proper industrial process would need to increase the number of cavities in the SMART press, changing heating and extraction.
Other SMART products have been produced in a semi-industrial scale by Tebamix. That is a very important result of the project because of the evidence of the knowledge transfer from RTD performers to SMEs.
As expected, three products (one for each application field) have been produced by using the SMART press thanks to the technical support of the SME partners. Thanks to Tebamix, other two products (both for the Industry application) have been added to the list, arriving to a sum of 5. ADRIA has provided the technical support for all the experimental campaigns with the SMART press, being the press located in its site. GumiImpex has produced puzzle-shape tiles by water-jet cutting. The third product has been made by using a mould designed and prototyped by UNITV. Tiles have been produced also for tests of TI. Technical results have been discussed with the whole Consortium. In conclusion, UNITV has proposed a patentable innovation to provide optimal aesthetics and functional performances to SMART tiles.

Several tiles were made under different processing conditions and with different rubber granulates for testing. Moulding time was changed mainly as a function of the tile thickness.
Thickness of tiles ranged between 10 mm to 50 mm: thicker tiles were moulded to produce puzzle-shape tiles. The mould cavity was designed for a shrinkage which was measured in laboratory in the case of fine-powder moulding. By using the SMART press, shrinkage values were quite higher and almost independent from the granulate typology. The density of the tiles is almost independent on granulate typology too. As a general observation, the tile density is very high in comparison with laboratory data: SMART tile density is always higher than 1 g/cm3 (1.09 g/cm3) whereas values always lower than 0.9 g/cm3 were measured on lab-made tiles.
Mechanical tests were made by several SMEs and RTD performers. UNITV focused on deepening the problem of crack formation into the tiles. A test (“bottle test”) has been defined to analyse integrity of rubber tiles through their thickness. Cuts are made by shearing and cut surfaces are observed. An optimal agglomeration has been found in all the tiles for all the thicknesses. This fact has been confirmed also by mechanical tests. Dog-bone shaped specimens were cut from tiles along different orientations, and tested in tensile configuration. Mechanical properties from tensile tests confirm the good expectations about performances of SMART tiles also in terms of uniformity. Standard deviation is acceptable by considering the nature of the moulded rubber: it is about 26% for tensile strength, 18% and 12% for elongation at break and elastic modulus respectively.
UNITV has made its own evaluation about the energy consumption of the SMART process and, particularly, the SMART press. Initially, a rough estimation of energy costs for SMART process was made by means of instantaneous measurement of supplied current to the press during the moulding process. In the case of a reference tile (20 mm thick, about 20 kg), a power of 10 kW (in 5 min) for the press movements was assumed, as well as 40 kW (in 10 min) for pressing, and 20 kW (in 5 min) for de-moulding. A total consumption of 9.17 kWh was calculated for a cost of 1.38 € (by using a 0.15 €/kWh rate, typical for the Italian energy market). In the case of PU agglomerated tiles (8 wt%), a cost of 5.60 € is necessary only for moulding 20 kg of rubber (typical cost for PU binders is 3.50 €/kg). However PU agglomerated rubber is lighter than SMART rubber and, fixing the thickness to 20 mm, only 14.6 kg of rubber are necessary. In this case, the PU cost is 4.10 €, i.e. 2.2 times SMART rubber. On the other side, a small amount of energy is necessary also for PU agglomerated rubber because of mixing and, above all, heating during polymerization.
The advantage in terms of energy consumption was immediately clear but further investigation was necessary for a better evaluation. For this reason, an energy measurement system has been mounted on the press and used for measuring the energetic intensity of SMART processes. First tests were carried out by ADRIA which measured energy consumption on different days: it was found that energy spent for the mould warm-up was 61.6 kWh on average; subsequently energy/tile seemed to be constant in successive moulding operations (for 20 mm thick tiles). Energy consumption was 20.9 kWh on average for the first tile, 18.7 kWh for the second, and 20 kWh. Starting from these observations, UNITV asked for other tests where energy consumption would be measured during time. The impact of the mould heating phase is very high: this consumption has to be spread over the entire cycles per turn. During the moulding cycle, as expected, the highest consumption is made under the holding stage when temperature and pressure are applied together (i.e. the heating system and the press pump work both).
On average, moulding 20 mm thick tiles needs about 20 kWh with an energy cost about 3.2 €. In comparison with the first rough approximation (4.1 €) the difference is appreciable and many variables can influence this estimation (such as the filling time or the de-moulding stage). A conventional process requires a settled amount of polyurethane (PU) as a binder: typically about 8 wt% of the rubber. For a
20 mm thick tile the required amount of rubber is 16.3 kg, so the needed PU is 1.3kg. The energy consumption of the conventional process is estimated to be about 3.7 kWh/tile. By considering a cost
3.5 €/kg for PU, the total production cost is about 5.1 €, 4.5 € for PU and 0.6 € for the energy.
In conclusion, products made by SMART technology show optimal mechanical performances in comparison with conventional technology. Production of tiles has been used as case-study to show that SMART technology is better than conventional one also in terms of costs and energy consumption. Cycle time strongly depends on automation as in conventional technology whereas SMART process is easier in operative terms because of the absence of the PU-rubber mixing phase. Interlocking geometries can be obtained by water-jet cutting or directly by moulding.

Potential Impact:
The mission of the project is to bring to market a range of high-performance, sustainable and cost-effective products produced from recycled tyre materials, using an innovative compression moulding technology that does not require costly additives or resins. Although targeted to the sports and leisure infrastructure management sector, the products are equally applicable to other sectors without, or with nominal adaptations. The project offers an opportunity to develop, revise, field test and market the products and to receive feedback from current and potential commercial users.
The SMART process design is, in itself, innovative. It reflects the convergence of two independent but potentially interrelated growth markets within the context of one project. In a unique partnership, SMART brings together the tyre recycling industries and the sectors that concern sports and leisure infrastructure management and maintenance.
The tyre recycling industries include both the production of a range of materials as well as the use of those materials in an array of applications and, the manufacture of a broad spectrum of commercial and industrial products. The sports and leisure infrastructure management sector includes both the conceptualisation and implementation of new construction as well as the ongoing maintenance and long-term renovation activities for existing and ageing facilities.
Key to recent market development in both sectors is the existence of a body of international, national and local legislation and support documents that have spurred interest and stimulated research. Reports confirm that during the past approximately twenty years, each sector has grown exponentially within the European Union as well as in other world-regions. Data indicate that there is great potential for continued growth given the EU’s support for the sectors as evidenced by recent directives and activities.
In developing the exploitation strategy, it is important to recall that the products being developed for this Smart project were not in themselves innovative, as comparable products have been on the market for many years, during which time they have developed a reputation for durability, performance and sustainability.
The innovative aspect concerned the technology and equipment used, which would limit the ingredients required and the energy used for production, reducing the final cost. However, during the final project year a second innovative aspect emerged. The second innovation, unlike the first, has the capacity to change the characteristics and competition for the product, as well as the tendency to return the cost to the original level – or perhaps even a bit more.

Development of the Tyre recycling industries
From 1992 until today, the percentage of post-consumer tyres that have been directed towards material recycling has increased from +5% of +2,500,000 tonnes per year in twelve Member States, to +40% of over 3,250,000 tonnes per year in the twenty-seven Member States in 2013 . Some of the most dynamic and rapid growth was due to the discussions surrounding the ban on the landfilling of post-consumer tyres and the ultimate implementation of the 1999 Landfill Directive with the End-of-Life Vehicle Directive following in 2000.
The ban on landfilling of tyres and tyre wastes redirected vast quantities of arisings toward material recycling and energy recovery and continued to stimulate research and development to find new ways of using these valuable materials in substitution for virgin resources. These developments led to the creation of more than fifty markets for a range of materials, products and applications that successfully substitute recycled tyre materials that meet or exceed existing performance criteria. By the early 2000s, European tyre recyclers were treating over 1,000,000 tonnes of tyres per year.
EU policy-makers declared their intent for the Community to move from a disposable, fossil dependent society to a sustainable recycling society. The vision was incorporated into a ‘Thematic Strategy for the prevention and recycling of waste’ which emphasises the need to reduce reliance on natural resources by preventing and minimising waste at its source - beginning with the design and production cycles, through the use cycle, and then re-using and recycling the wastes that do occur so that they can re-enter the economic stream in new material cycles. Within this context, recycling is identified as a crucial driver for improved resource management because of its capacity to not only reduce reliance on virgin resources, but the energy input during all phases.
The thematic strategy in 2005 and the subsequent Revised Framework Directive on Waste in 2008 provided the impetus for continued growth and development in tyre recycling. New applications and products were developed and exploited – and new technologies investigated, perfected and used. The compression moulding technology utilised in SMART is an excellent example of the strategy in that the goal of the project is to expand the benefits accrued from the use of recycled materials by minimising the use of costly virgin materials as binders.
It is important to note that tyre recycling has remained viable even during the current bleak economic period. Although tyre sales have decreased 10% – 30% in EU Member States, it has not yet overwhelmingly affected the quantities of tyres available for treatment although that could be anticipated in future. At present, markets have remained strong – particularly for applications and products for specific markets, including the sports and leisure industries.
Evolution of the Sports and leisure infrastructure management sector
From the early 1990s until today, non-school sports and leisure activities have expanded exponentially as attention has focused on the importance of physical activities in daily life. Comprised of private, public and voluntary service providers catering to diverse populations, i.e. children, youth, adults, the elderly and/or disabled – sports and leisure activities serve the community to fulfil a range of societal needs. The facilities range from luxurious complexes that accommodate a wide variety of indoor / outdoor activities, to single sport seasonal-fields, enclosures, or waterways.
Over the years the number of sports and leisure facilities has increased geometrically so that today, virtually every country in the world offers some form of organised activities in designated areas. Research indicates that worldwide, sports and leisure activities have become increasingly important as a crucial tool to improve health and wellness, and create a means of social contact among the most isolated populations, improving opportunities for the development of peace, particularly for children in war-torn regions.
Data indicate that both public and private facilities worldwide have multiplied during recent decades, until the still evident economic downturn. However, the numbers have begun to stabilise with indications that many new facilities are on the drawing board and there is a growing potential for older complexes and facilities to be modernised and refurbished instead of razed.
Municipal authorities and NGOs have increased their investments in providing sports and leisure facilities and public spaces to serve broader population bases in urban as well as suburban communities. The diversity of sports and leisure activities has greatly expanded in recent years, to total 442 sports recognised by the International Olympics Committee.
According to the 2011 Annual Report of the UNOSDP, it is estimated that there are approximately 177,000 sports and/or leisure facilities worldwide primarily in the public sector that caters to an expanding audience. Further, the number of private, membership facilities has grown to more than 140,000 serving over 130,000,000 members – with more than 43,000,000 in the EU alone.
It has become apparent that although new facilities are being built, many older facilities are being ignored and in some instances, abandoned. Estimates are that a large percentage of facilities built during the 1960s and 1970s, and even some that were built during the 1980s fall into this category. Nonetheless, many of these complexes have the potential to be renovated and/or refurbished and offer an opportunity for the identification of appropriate products and applications that utilise recycled tyre materials, which could contribute a more cost-effective recovery of viable facilities, with a commensurate reduction in maintenance costs due in great part to the improved longevity of the materials used.
The point that is most relevant to SMART is that almost fifty-percent of the materials produced from post-consumer tyres are, or can be used in sports, construction and renovation related applications and products dedicated to recreation and leisure industries. In fact, as illustrated herein, today the largest market for recycled tyre granulate is its use in sports and recreation surfaces and children’s play areas. While the EU has become a world leader for the sustainable use of recycled materials, tyre recycling is also expanding into other world regions including some of the newest emerging economies which could benefit from learning about and using recycled tyre materials.
As the project has evolved, it has become apparent that additional opportunities for exploration are becoming available. Several opportunities fall within the context of sports and leisure – potentially adding tourism and marine/ boating activities to the mix. Others focus on sectors at first deemed too far afield, such as new agricultural or animal husbandry applications. A variety of proposals have been reviewed and discussed
After discussion among the Team members, it was agreed that the final range of products would be culled from the initial seven to three based upon their applicability across markets. The final three are :
1. Tiles (1000 x 1000 x 15) which can be used as anti-vibration mats and/or sport tile (Sport application)
2. Road kerbing in a standard size (Transport application)
3a. 500 x 500 x 50 interlocking shape (Industry application)
3b. A support plate with three holes, which is an adaptation of a tile, with ant-vibration performance
It was agreed that the remaining four products would be reviewed for later production, potentially during the two year post-project period. The addition of new products will depend upon the success of the exploitation component.
A variety of product requirements and specifications are avaiable for the various products that have been selected for the project. In order for project results to be replicable under regional and local conditions, it would be beneficial to have one set of product specifications that could be adaptable to material availability, equipment used, and climatic variations. The Team has begun to collect requirements from manufacturers so that variations can be noted. Manufacturer specifications are also being sought. The requirements and specifications will be analysed and compared to describe the conditions for use.
• The steps in the preparation process are being defined for each application of the three designated applications. The information is being organised into a format that could be used in the catalogue and for commercial and / or training purposes. The format will be determined at a later date and will be available to infrastructure management personnel for guided use. The work was intiated in October 2014, continuing through the end of March 2015.
• Each member of the production Team has completed several forms that describe the materials, ingredients and production process used to create the products for which the company is responsible. The information provided has allowed the preparation of a preliminary description of each product. These results were discussed at the Management Meeting that was held during the 22nd ETRA Conference in March 2015.
• A catalogue of products and applications will be prepared after the successful production of at least three examples of each of the three items. Each product is being described in terms of benefits, conditions and limitations for use as well as environmental impacts.. This component had a late start due to delays related to the installation of the press mould preparation. It was initiated in June 2014. Preliminary informatiion has been prepared from information provided by the production partners.
According to the design of the project, there are five critical elements that must be accomplished in order to attain project success. The elements have been adopted as the basis for determining the ownership rights for the entire team based upon the varying input among the partners :
1. Project Participation
2. Research
3. Production
4. Exploitation
5. Marketing and follow-up
Each element was assigned scaled points based on the level of activity / effort contributed by the partner, the points were valued at 1 – 5 with 5 being the highest value.
The allocation of the foreground was unanimously accepted by the signatories based upon the proposal offered as above by ETRA and by Norsk Dekkretur (ND). Each partner was asked if the defined percentages are acceptable to his/her company for its contributions to the SMART project. The terms were unanimously accepted by all parties.
On the base of the allocation, the beneficiaries signed a Joint Ownership Agreement. The scope of this agreement is to fix the conditions of exploitation as well as to protect the companies involved in the project for their direct use of the project outputs in their own countries.

The exploitation agreements were done on the basis of a unanimous agreement of the four AGs under the coordination of ETRA. The AGs are free to fix the level of royalties, the duration and other conditions that it will applicable in consideration of the situation of the market. The royalties will be shared according the ratio of the synoptic tables hereinafter, after having deducted the cost of managing the exploitation, done by the coordinator. The members of the Associations should benefit of 50% reduction of the royalty, respect to other users.
As it is not possible at the moment to determine which product(s) developed under the project will be more successful, it is more realistic that the project results be jointly exploited. The three companies have an exclusive right of exploitation for direct use in their country for the production of articles of the same kind as those developed under the project. They have an option to obtain a licence for other kinds of products during the next 3 years after the end of project. Out of these countries there are no limits. The only condition is that the AGs decide unanimously.
The results of this project will be patented (where possible). One of the result that seems representing an opportunity is the use a coloured elastomer directly in the process in order to get a more pleasant finishing of the product. The Coo has already contacted a specialized patent office in order to commission a prior-art analysis on the covered products obtained with the SMART process.
The background will be provided in this project under fair and reasonable conditions, such as:
• it will be verified and evaluated how this knowledge could be protected and for how long;
• a royalty will be established in favour of the present owner equal to X% of the royalties received by the Consortium under Foreground 1 (Granulation process and characterisation and optimisation of the moulding process and the equipment);
• a royalty will be paid for the same duration during which the consortium will get royalties from third parties;
• the background will be forgiven and kept in full exclusivity in favour of the consortium for future developments.
The introduction on the market will begin with the strategies initiated by the three SMEs for the product they will be manufacturing. The companies are interested in expanding their market as well. As they will also benefit from the exploitation of the result of the projects they will support the consortium in the technological aspects related to the exploitation of the results. They will contribute in the preparation of a market analysis of the potential markets outside their countries, and make a product definition, either for the granulation process and optimisation (raw materials) or for the product and application for the main sectors.

The exploitation plan that is being implemented for the SMART project will continue to evolve during the two year post-project interim period. Each of the activities described in the plan will be initiated and evaluated during a trial period of up to two years to determine its appropriateness and viability for the identified audiences and defined purposes. It is expected that the activities will begin in September 2015. Concurrently, the products will continue to be evaluated and, where possible, upgraded to meet evolving market needs.
1. The products
Four basic products have been selected for production and exploitation during the two year post-project period, with the possibility of the addition of a fifth product, a portable ramp. All of the products described herein are manufactured from 100% recycled tyre materials without additives or binders. The raw materials are truck and passenger car tyres sourced within the EU that have been processed to comply with industry criteria. The granulate and powders selected for use contain less than 1% of impurities (steel / textile / foreign substances). The quality of the raw materials is crucial to the success of the technology used.
The products are very competitive in terms of cost and performance and compare positively with comparable products currently on the market for the same purposes. The cost of each standard product is well within current market quotations for comparable items. In fact, the cost per unit for the SMART products is a minimum of 10% less, on average.
Each product has at least one variation that will be demonstrated during the exploitation period. The principal variation available for all of the products, i.e tiles and kerbs, is an EPDM ‘coating’ which is moulded directly onto the product during the compression process. EPDM coated products are more costly than comparable uncoated products of similar design. However, the EPDM product is new and innovative. It should be noted that the EPDM coated products will not be marketed until the second year of the post-project period in order the have the opportunity to assess the market acceptance of the pro-ducts – and to evaluate the competition as well.
Figure 8 of the D8.2 reports the price list for the selected products, while the table below (figure 9 of the D8.2) reports the estimated production by month and year, illustrates the current market prospects based upon these projections. The income estimated in column six is a gross annualized calculation and does not reflect any of the costs related to production, i.e. overhead, materials, labour, insurance, transport, among others.
2. The target audiences
The sectors agreed upon by all of the SME and AG partners are :
1. Sports and leisure infrastructure management and maintenance: currently accounts for 39% of current markets for recycled tyre materials, including but not limited to sports surfaces, etc. These markets can be expanded to include traffic control products for parking facilities, tile for paths and matting and ramps for storage areas among others, that are part of a majority of facilities ;
2. Construction and civil engineering which will include surface transport tram and light rail systems ; comprise + 17% of current markets for recycled tyre materials, plus an undesignated share of the 27% used in manufactured products such as road furniture, bollards, kerbing, etc., and another share of the 16% used for surface transport, excluding road surfacing but including products designed for use in constructing tram and light rail systems. A key focus will be on traffic control and sound dampening products i.e. both mats and kerbs, with a potential for ramps ;
3. Industry : consumes a growing percentage of the 27% of recycled tyre materials used in manufactured pro-ducts including those designed to dampen noise and vibrations in such applications as anti-vibration mats and containment pads as well as others. There are numerous opportunities available in these markets for expansion as the Commission increases its concerns for reduced noise pollution ;
4. Agriculture which will focus on livestock : very limited quantities of recycled tyre materials are currently used in the agriculture sector although there are indications that it could become a significant market due to recent legislation concerning livestock protections. It should be noted that chips, i.e. materials larger than granulate, are often used.
3. The plan of work
SMART PRODUCT is being presented as the ‘brand’ name that will cover the four products introduced and marketed by the partners during the post-project period. The name SMART Products refers to the qualities of the products, manufactured from 100% recycled EU tyre materials that are 99% free of impurities and which do not contain any additives or binders.
The products will be exploited under the brand name, logo and tag line of:
SMART PRODUCTS are made from 100% recycled EU tyre materials, 99% free of impurities, and produced without additives or binders
The partners, both AG and SME, will work together to implement the exploitation activities. Six types of activities are planned including:
1. Events : Sector events include trade shows and expos, demonstrations, seminars, conferences, on-site visits and study tours among many others. The partner responsible for each sector will participate in at least three events per year in their State and / or neighbouring States.
2. Print media : Print media includes newspapers, magazines, journals and other printed documents for the public. SMART Products will not pursue paid advertising. The responsible partner will contribute one sector focused article to a journal or magazine, twice per year. Each article will discuss the use of the product or public interest information about its use. To support the SMART Products launch each partner will be provided with a press-release which can be adapted to the local market which will be issued to targeted local media. Additionally, each partner will be responsible for securing an interview with local media at the time of the launch.
3. Brochures : Three brochures have already been printed about SMART, the project and the products. New brochures are being prepared that will describe each product, the sector(s) for which it is manufactured and other potential target audiences. Three brochures will be prepared and disseminated to target audiences at events and other activities.
4. Direct contact : Direct contacts include fact-to-face meetings, personal letters, phone-calls, among others which will be used to make introductions, follow-up and clarify other means of communication.
5. On-line : The Team will use on-line or digital marketing, i.e. uses of web and internet-connected services, to exploit the SMART product line and its website. Social media, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing will be built into the web-site. Each partner will include a SMART access point in his/her web-site, and existing sites will be expanded to host the new information. The web-developer has suggested the option of using pay-pal and other e-payment schemes.
6. Institutional contacts : Each of the project partners maintains contacts with universities, research and development bodies and professional organisations in addition to those directly involved in the project, i.e. TI, UNITV, and Labor. Throughout the project, those relationships evolved as contributors such as the Italian Professional Engineers Organisation, the IASLIM member, among others. Other bodies that have become involved provide excellent contacts for presentations to professionals in the field, e.g. the UK mechanical engineering organisation, CUT the Cyprus University, and others. It is anticipated that these bodies will provide direct access to the next generation of engineers who will be responsible for selecting and using SMART products. Awareness, familiarisation and training activities may be arranged in cooperation with other organisations.
The relevance and success of the activities and contacts will be reviewed annually. It is anticipated that these relationships will grow over time and provide new opportunities for SMART.
In support of these activities, an events kit will be provided to each SMART partner, both SMEs and AGs, for use during the above described activities. Each kit will contain the following:
• A SMART banner : Utilising the logo and tag line
• Brochures : Three per product will be prepared in cooperation with the responsible partners, i.e. the product producer and the designated AG partner.
• Posters : Three Generic posters will be prepared on the project, the technology and the product line being marketed. Additional posters may be prepared for specific events or activities.
• Reprints of recent articles about the products and the project : Reprints will be emailed to the partners and uploaded on the web-site
• A product sample kit : Appropriate samples will be supplied to each partner for use at events and / or in the product partner’s office, etc.
• A video / cd : Two CDs have been prepared and three additional ones will illustrate the products in-situ in their applications
• Project business cards : Each partner will receive a stock of personal, professional business cards appropriate to the project and the product(s) being supported.
The materials contained in the kits will be reviewed at the kick-off meeting in June 2015. Proposals from providers will be circulated and agreed.
Preparation of a SMART product web-site will be developed by the Team and the ETRA provider
Preparation of at least one article per year for each of the target sectors – providing updates and contact information for the users. Information used in the articles may be used in presentations with these groups during events.
4. Continuation activities
All of the partners, both AG and SME, have confirmed their ongoing commitment to and support of the commercialization phase of the programme. The commercialization phase will include final agreement on the name of the endeavour – SMART Products, and the use of the project logo.
During this phase, the AG partners will provide support in terms of marketing and public relations activities. Their marketing commitment includes activities that communicate the value of the SMART products to the sector for which they assume responsibility, for the purpose of promoting or selling that products.
The SME partners’ roles are two-fold. They will provide support by producing the products and improving efficiency, and working to automate at least parts of the production processes. It should be noted that GRP will also test production on different equipment to determine the feasibility of a second means of compression moulding for the tiles – which could expand capacity – allow production to grow.
Dissemination activities
One of the point of strength of the SMART project is the dissemination strategy and program followed all along the project lifetime. The presence of four Associations of the sector – ETRA, IASLIM, ND and BPF – permitted to give the project, since the very beginning, an international audience, principally composed by the associates- who will be the end users of the SMART products. In addition, the constant presence of the SMART project in events, fairs, conference of worldwide interest, permitted to extend the awareness of the project in the most important area of growth of the markets of interest.
The strong effort that the beneficiaries have put in place since the very beginning of the project (the Kick off meeting itself was organized during the ETRA conference for the launch of the project) reflects the real interest of the consortium and the commitment that all partners.
In occasion of the second phase of dissemination (from M16 on), the consortium worked for updating and improving the materials used for events/conferences/fairs, since the project would have been in a most mature phase and materials of higher quality and appeal were necessary.
In conclusion, with more than fifty dissemination events among conferences, fairs, seminars and other, all focused on the theme of the rubber, rubber recycling, tyre recycling, sport, leisure, industry among others, and thousands of professional, clients, end users of the products reached, the beneficiaries can state that the project has achieved the following results:
▪ The knowledge of the project has been deeply disseminated to the target audience, therefore a huge part of the representatives of the stakeholders (included potential clients) have been aware of the activities undertaken by SMART since the beginning of the 2012.
▪ Fortunately, the message identified and disseminated since the beginning of the project (when the uncertainty of the results was the higher) has been confirmed by the progress of the activities and the results achieved by the technical work. Therefore, no modifications have been necessary to the message, which has reached thousands of people identifying the core of the project in few lines (maximizing the impact).
▪ The level of importance and prestige of the project has been always underlined by the possibility to include the EU flag and the FP7 logo in the dissemination materials produced. At the same time, the audience (worldwide) has been aware that SMART has been a funded project by the REA. This double advantage permitted to improve and increase the attention on the project by the institutions, central and local government wherever the project has been disseminated. Therefore, we can conclude that also the society has been reached with the message, not only potential clients.
▪ The high level of attention that the AGs maintained on the project, by including the project and its progress in all their events during the period 2012-2015, and by showing the interim results progressively achieved, made of the SMART project one of the pillar projects in the field, since 2012. Therefore, high expectations have been created into the community and potential clients.
▪ With the dissemination actions, high curiosity has been created in the community. Therefore, in the coming months, the consortium is expecting reaction from the market as soon as the SMART product are included into catalogues. In this framework, the dissemination has been used by the partners as the first step for the exploitation of the results.
▪ The time spent at the beginning of the project in order to choose the most suitable logo for the project has been a precious investment. The logo has had success and appeal, and it is now a fundamental asset of the project. It has been included into the IPRs management. It is appropriate not to modify the logo for the following years and, only when the process will be strong enough to identify specific products in the market, an update of the logo should be approached.
▪ A dedicated video clip has been developed and already uploaded on the web, on the official website and on the Youtube platform ( ). Digital supports are going to be created for the future dissemination activities with marketing purposes.
As for the future, the results and the net of relationships created with the commitment of the beneficiaries and engagement of stakeholders will be increased, enriched and strengthened. Further events are going to be scheduled but new objectives for the dissemination will have to be set up. In fact, as post-project phase, one of the goal is the market. Therefore the material produced will have to be customized with a marketing and commercial appeal. Work is already in progress, since some beneficiaries has started developing marketing materials, marketing websites and including products made with the SMART process into their catalogues.

List of Websites:
One of the most important asset of the dissemination of the project has been the website -
It is online since the beginning of the project and uploaded with general information about the context, the partners and the expected results. Through the years and the reviews with the REA and the experts, several suggestions and critics have been collected about the site. Also, it was becoming obsolete while new appealing templates and tools on the web were available. For those reasons, the partner responsible for the site, ETRA, decided to approve a complete restyle of the website, in order to make it more appealing and user friendly. The restyling started right after the intermediate review meeting (Dec 2014).
The “analytics” function has been activated on the site, therefore the results in terms of visits, visitors, countries, traffic and others have been extracted from the server of the provider. In summary, from January 2015, more than 3 thousand visitors visited the project website, which has been reached through two main channels:
▪ the first channel through which the SMART website has been reached is represented by a beneficiary's official website;
▪ the other important channel is represented by the search engines.