HANOVER, Germany (Sept. 19, 2012)—Continental A.G. plans to build a ContiLifeCycle truck/bus tire retreading plant in Hanover that will use recycled rubber in its production process from used tires processed at the same facility.
“In the face of limited raw materials, we see it as our obligation to come up with sustainable solutions in tire production and retreading,” said Andreas Esser, head of Conti's commercial vehicle tires business unit.
“We are now able to process used tread buffings and ground end-of-life tires in such a steered and controlled way that it can be reused in the production of new and retreaded tires,” he said, noting that Conti has developed a recycling process that allows high shares of recycled rubber in compounds for new and retreaded tires.
By implementing Continental's new approach, the amount of recycled rubber in a tire can be doubled, the firm said, without divulging specifics as to how much recycled rubber can be incorporated into new tires or retreads.
The $14 million facility will be the first of its kind worldwide and makes use of the synergies between the retreading and recycling production. Its projected annual capacity will be 180,000 retreaded tires at full capacity with a staff of about 100, Conti said.
“This marks the next step in optimizing the utilization of raw materials in tire production,” said Boris Mergell, vice president material and process development and industrialization.
The new plant should be capable of processing 4,000 metric tons of used tires annually, Conti said, resulting in a savings of about 2,400 tons of rubber and 1,600 tons of carbon black and silica.
About 41 percent of so-called end-of-life tires in the European Union are used for incineration in the cement industry, Conti said, while another 35 percent are “downcycled” and used in low stress technical rubber goods, such as molded rubber products.