When David Mohr founded Chip Tyre in 1998, he was processing 2000 tonnes of heavy vehicle-used tyres a year. He’s now churning through more than that every month.
As demand for rubber has increased over the years, Chip Tyre has evolved with the industry to produce a range of rubber crumbs and powder for noise reduction products, playground matting, sports field underlays, tile adhesive and spray-on bitumen.
David is now aiming to recover up to 80 per cent of the material sourced with the installation of a pyrolysis and distillation plant at Chip Tyre’s six-hectare site in New Chum, Queensland.
“Any over-supply of tyres will ultimately be fed through pyrolysis and turned into biofuel,” David says.
“We’re doing things a bit different by also adding a distillation plant. We can take dirty pyrolysis oil and refine it into a diesel-like product.
“I see it as being one of the solutions to our tyre recycling problem.”
About 140,000 tonnes of off-the-road tyres are sold into the Australian market each year to industries including mining, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and aviation, according to Tyre Stewardship Australia. Less than 15 per cent of end-of-life tyres within the sector are recovered as a resource.
David says while a portion of the biofuel created by Chip Tyre will be used in-house, several mining companies are showing interest in having their tyres turned into oil and supplied back for reuse.
He says Chip Tyre will start with three batch machines that can process solid forklift tyres and excavator tracks while maintaining the existing crumbing operations.
“The reactors that we start with will keep our landfill requirement down and then when we have continuous oil production there will be cost savings as well,” he says.
“We can really churn out some good numbers as far as oil recovery goes. By using smaller material with less steel, we expect to get a yield of about 46 per cent.”
Chip Tyre is assured of consistent material thanks to a long-standing relationship with TELFORD SMITH and the range of machinery and equipment they supply. David has multiple Zerma GSH-700/1000 heavy-duty granulators and Zerma ZTTS-2000 Hybrid tyre shredders among the machinery supplied by TELFORD SMITH.
He has worked closely with TELFORD SMITH and Zerma over the years to design the tyre shredder, making them what they are today.
“I wanted to use an original two-metre machine as a hybrid granulator with a redesigned motor and configuration,” David says. “I talked to TELFORD SMITH about the design, sent drawings back and forth and they had a machine made for me and one for a trade show in Guangzhou. At the trade show, some customers from Korea saw the new design and ordered two before I even had mine delivered.”
Because Chip Tyre has a varied market for its end-product, from 100 millimetres down to rubber crumbs as fine as 0.71 millimetres, the machinery needs to be accurate and tough. David says tyres can be “brutal” on steel, and the machines can be running up to 16 hours a day, four days a week.
He says such a large capital investment also needs quality service and spare parts, something TELFORD SMITH never falls short on.
“The granulators have been running now for 15-16 years, a few spare parts wouldn’t hurt them,” he jokes.
“We’ve built a good working relationship with TELFORD SMITH. They’ve been with us the whole journey. They’re the type of company that your success is their success.”
David Picone, General Manager TELFORD SMITH, says Chip Tyre has always bought good equipment and understood the importance of maintenance.
“If you don’t maintain your equipment in tyre recycling it simply falls apart,” he says. “Cost of maintenance and spares in tyre recycling is probably 10 times higher than plastics processing and Zerma has one of the most economical machines to run on the market.”
He says a lot of people inquire about and try to get into tyre recycling but fail because they buy cheap equipment. He says for a complete A-Z plant, customers need to spend more than $2.5 million just on the equipment.
“We often get the help call when a customer buys cheap machines and they don’t work,” he says. “Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to make this equipment process tyres, they just need to start again.
“It’s heartbreaking explaining that to someone. It really drives home why we are so strict about what we sell and being sure customers get what they need – not cheap solutions or what they think will do the job.”
For more information, visit: www.telfordsmith.com.au