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Innovative and compact process for recycling rubber suitable to improve the environmental footprint of the tyre industry over the life-cycle

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - REW-TYRES (Innovative and compact process for recycling rubber suitable to improve the environmental footprint of the tyre industry over the life-cycle)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2018-10-01 al 2019-09-30

The project aims at developing and bringing to the market an innovative process for recycling rubber in the tyre industry. The process is a sequence of mechanical operations implemented by a compact dedicated line to be implemented in two versions that apply to different phases of the tyres lifecycle as follows:
REWORK: the main version that applies to tyre production to rework all scraps and non-compliant components and produce rubber 100% reusable in the main production;
RECYCLE: a variant of process that applies to recovering rubber from end-of-life tyres (ELT) to produce rubber compounds usable for moulded applications. The variants include the phases where rubber is recovered from ELT and de-vulcanised.
The two versions are conceived to serve different customer segments, specifically the REWORK for tyre manufacturers to improve eco-efficiency and reduce costs of production, the RECYCLE for recyclers of ELT to produce cleaner, more usable forms of recycled rubber suitable to open new high-value application opportunities and increase profitability of that recycling business.
In both segments the business models and the value chains are consolidated and the needs to be served are explicit, thus creating a very favourable context for the commercial exploitation.
The project builds on a solid technological and business background. ELSY is the global leader of specialised machines and control systems for the tyre and plastic industries. The innovative process was conceived to respond to needs that came out from the day-by-day relationship with all the main manufacturers worldwide.
The REW-TYRES project aims at 1) developing the enabling subsystems for the REWORK and RECYCLE lines, 2) building prototype versions of the two lines, 3) carrying out validation tests, 4) carrying out industrialisation including design and suppliers engagement, 5) organising exploitation including engagement of key partners and definition of common business cases.
For ELSY the project is crucial in the strategy to expand vertically the offer in markets we already lead and enter in new market segments with excellent potential.
In the third period we have successfully completed the testing and validation activities related to the prototype RECYCLE line. The process has been demonstrated using industrial equipment and the recycled rubber has been assessed to be suitable for re-use in one industrial application of great interest.
We have continued the technical and commercial activities related to the REWORK line. We have executed further test sessions in collaboration with a leading tyre manufacturer and presented the technology to the main tyre manufacturers worldwide.
We have issued three applications for patent at the EPO to protect the inventions generated in the project.

The main results achieved are the completion of the development related to the RECYCLE line, the demonstration of the suitability of the recycled rubber for re-use in at least one industrial segment of great potential, the progress in the engagement of tyre manufacturers related to the REWORK line and the three application for patents issued at the EPO.
The REWORK and RECYCLE technologies are innovative and represent potential breakthrough in the market where there are no competitors offering similar value propositions.
Both technologies have been demonstrated during the project making reference to the standards applicable in the target industries. In particular, the RECYCLE line represents the first industrial implementation of a process that recovers rubber from post-consumer tyres and produces clean and de-vulcanised compounds.
During the project we have verified the freedom-to-operate and protected the inventions created by filing three applications for patent, one related to the REWORK, the others to the RECYCLE.
The potential impacts expected from the exploitation of the REWORK line are related to savings of costs, lead-time and raw materials within tyre production.
The potential impacts expected from the exploitation of the RECYCLE line derive from enabling the re-use of rubber recycled from ELT in the production of tyres and of other technical components.
The societal impacts expected from the exploitation of the project are related to the increase of the eco-efficiency of tyre production (less raw materials and energy for the same output) and to the enhancement of ELT recycling enabled by a new and more valuable circular economy route.