With the export ban on waste tyres fast approaching, Eldan Recycling’s Carsten Nielsen speaks with Waste Management Review about a tyre processing system that can produce 99.9 per cent output purity.
When China announced restrictions to the import of certain waste-derived products in 2017, waste exports came into public prominence. Global flows of these materials were displaced to other south-east Asian countries, many of which have now implemented their own restrictions.
According to the Federal Government’s latest National Waste Report, the disruption and uncertainty of end-markets drove prices lower and led to a slump in markets, stockpiling by Australian recyclers and diversion of some recyclables to landfill.
In response, the Council of Australian Governments announced that bans would be established on the export of some waste-derived products in 2019.
The export ban on tyres will take effect from 1 December this year, meaning operators will only be able to export bus, truck and aviation tyres for re-treading, tyres that have been processed into crumbs, buffings, granules or shreds, and tyres that have been processed into tyre-derived fuel.
According to Carsten Nielsen, Eldan Recycling Area Sales Manager, the export ban on tyres that have not been processed into value-added products suggests significant growth opportunity is on the horizon for Australia’s tyre recycling market.
Nielsen, who has been working in the recycling industry for over 20 years, has been travelling the globe since 1984.
As such, he has developed a sound understanding of international markets and the varying needs of waste and resource recovery operators.
Nielsen adds that while the recycling industry as a whole is expanding, tyres are a stand-out material that highlight how one type of waste can be recycled in many ways.
“Used tyres are among the largest and most problematic sources of waste today, due to the large volume produced and their durability. However, the same characteristics which make waste tyres a problem also make them one of the most re-used waste materials.”
Recycled tyre chips can be used for tyre derived fuel, Nielsen says, which is used for heat plants and cement ovens.
Rubber granulate is reused in sports fields, artificial turfs, rubber mats and moulded products, while rubber powder can be reused in rubber paved asphalt.
Asphalt will become a significant market opportunity, Nielsen adds, given government procurement drives to incorporate higher levels of recycled content in infrastructure projects.
Recovered steel, which accounts for approximately a quarter of a tyre’s weight, can also be smelted and reused just like non-recovered steel – facilitating a profitable side business.
“Finally, liberated textile has a very high effective burning value and can therefore be mixed with other materials to increase that material’s effective burning value,” Nielsen says.
With over 30 years’ experience in the tyre recycling sector and more than 1000 installations world-wide, Eldan offer solutions for the processing of all types of tyres including whole car and truck tyres, mining tyres, super singles, earth mover tyres and OTR.
To achieve required end-products, different standard tyre recycling plants are available with capacities ranging from 500 to 10,000 kilograms each production hour. All systems are tailor fit solutions, including engineering, training of operators and plant management.
“Using a modular approach, a large number of combinations can be supplied to produce shreds, chips, granulate and powder,” Nielsen says.
He adds that Eldan’s systems are multi-size, meaning the size of rubber granulate can be changed easily by merely altering the screen combination.
“During production of rubber granulate, flexibility is a very important factor since the market demand of various fraction sizes will vary.”
Eldan’s system incorporates a range of products and process steps, starting with a powerful, low-speed, single shaft primary shredder capable of processing complete car and truck tyres down to shreds.
A tumble back feeder then ensures continuous flow into a multi-purpose rasper, which reduces material size down to approximately 12-millimetre chips and liberates up to 98 per cent of the steel content.
From there, a high-speed, fine granulator liberates 50 per cent of the textiles, before a single shaft fine granulator performs the second and final granulation stage. Final size distribution of granulate is performed by an aspirator, which removes all the remaining, liberated textiles.
Ensuring output purity is one of Eldan’s main focuses, which can be challenging when recycling tyres, especially passenger car tyres that contain more textiles. However, with Eldan’s tyre recycling systems, operators are guaranteed an output purity of up to 99.9 per cent.
Eldan can also provide a number of optional modules for specific customer requirements, Nielsen explains, such as a steel quality upgrading system which reduces the rubber and textile content in the steel fraction to produce up to 99 per cent clean steel wire.
Additionally, Eldan recently developed a new sensor-based system to detect foreign objects in tyre shreds, reducing the risk of breakdowns and yearly downtime.
The Eldan Foreign Object Detection system consists of a sensor system monitoring the vibrating discharge conveyor following the Eldan Super Chopper.
Changes in acceleration from dense objects hitting the surface are picked up by the system, which will stop the material flow of the plant and give off a warning signal.
“It is then easy for the operator to search through the material on the vibrating discharge conveyor, find and remove the foreign object, and continue production without further problems,” Nielsen says.
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Pictured: Eldan Recycling’s Carsten Nielsen and Flemming Hansen in front of a Super Chopper 2118 being built.