Friedrichshafen (Germany). On the path towards establishing a sustainable circular economy in the tire manufacturing sector, Zeppelin Systems entered into another important partnership in the mechanical recycling sector on February 7, 2023. The Italian Technology group formed by RubberJet and Vertech specialized in recycling particularly large scrap tires, for example from trucks and construction and mining machinery. High-quality rubber recyclates are made from scrap tires measuring up to four meters in size, which can later be used to manufacture new tires. Best of all, the patented and proprietary method is 100 percent environmentally friendly!
According to current figures from the AZuR network (innovation forum for scrap tire recycling, of which Zeppelin Systems is a member), around 3.5 million tons of scrap tires are generated in Europe each year. In Germany alone, around 550,000 tons of scrap tires were accrued in 2021. If every scrap tire in Europe was recycled, around 2.45 million tons of CO2 emissions would be saved. "This potential must be tapped not only in terms of a sustainable circular economy. As an industrial company, we have a responsibility to make value chains more sustainable overall on a large scale in order to conserve the resources of our planet," says Markus Vöge, CEO of Zeppelin Systems GmbH. In line with this, the Friedrichshafen-based plant engineering company developed a revolutionary, sustainable process for the mechanical recycling of scrap tires in cooperation with international project partners from a wide range of industries. Recycled rubber granulate or "rubber flour" are thus given a second life.
In the patented and proprietary process developed by RubberJet Group and Vertech, primarily off-the-road or giant tires – for example, from construction vehicles in diamond mines with diameters of up to four meters – are broken down into individual parts by a high-pressure water jet process using a patented and proprietary 100 percent environmentally friendly method. Rubber and steel are separated by the water jet technology, and the rubber flour and granulate obtained can be marketed directly as recycled material. By their very nature, the high natural rubber content of rubber used in large tire compounds ensures that the recyclates obtained are of particularly high quality. In addition, the recycling process gives the recycled materials an especially large surface structure. This is essential for renewed interlacing, such that the recycled material can be vulcanized again within the new tire compounds or generally the new rubber compounds.
RubberJet Group has been on the market since 2016, and the Italian company invested over six years developing the patented and proprietary waterjet technology. "With High Pressure Water Jet Technology, large tires can be economically and resource-efficiently recycled into a high-purity and surface-activated rubber flour that can be directly reused in a rubber compound," explains Guido Veit, Vice President Sales for Polyolefins, Rubber and Silos at Zeppelin Systems GmbH. By giving tires a second life, we are making more sustainable use of resources and thus significantly contributing to a sustainable circular economy. This is what the strategic cooperation and partnership between Zeppelin Systems, RubberJet Group and Vertech achieves.
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