SRI’s CEO, Gopi Sekhar was recently interviewed by Karamjit Singh of The Edge, a financial and investment weekly publication here in Malaysia. The following is an excerpt.
One of the biggest environmental problems plaguing the world is the estimated one billion tyres lying in dumps around the world. The tyres cannot be easily disposed of or recycled and lie in massive dumps — some up to six football fields deep — leaking chemicals into the ground. Some catch fire spectacularly. These fires do not burn out easily. YouTube has videos showing tyre dumps on fire, spewing out thick black smoke and flames. The fires will last for days, the smoke for years. One tyre dumpsite was simmering deep in its bowels, releasing smoke for five incredible years.
“It is a common occurrence,” says Gopi Sekhar, CEO of SRI, who nonetheless believes he has found the solution to the rising mountains of discarded tyres around the world. He and his research team have created a compound which goes into making retread tires. More importantly, a light tyre for trucks, which was made with more than 14% recycled rubber, has been independently validated and tested by the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) of the Malaysian Rubber Board. The RRI noted that the performance of the tyre made by SRI was even better than that of a tyre made of virgin rubber.
An ecstatic Gopi welcomes the RRI validation. “What we have here is nothing less than the solution to the global tyre and rubber scrap problem. It will address not only the annual accumulation [of tyres] but also the backlog in the landfills. The introduction of SRI Compound Masterbatch as an industrial raw material effectively means cost-effective value-added consumption, which will make it irresistible as a green raw material. We believe that this is the future of global rubber recycling,” he says.
Summary of the Rubber Research Institute independent test results.
This chart involves a full battery of tests where control sample production tire and SRI Compound production tire were independently subjected to the full ASTM standard tests (Standard Test reference is on the chart) for Light Truck tires. All the information on the chart is important. The SRI Compound Tire is a composite compound using the manufacturers Light Truck compound with a substitution of 20% with our SRI Compound.
In this case it means that tread compound has 14% of recycled content and the sidewall of the tire has a little more than 14% recycled content. Virgin compound modified to allow for customization added to the activated compound will make the final custom compound proportion 20%. Here the tensile, elongation at break and Abrasion resistance (the lower the value the better) of the all the samples are tested following the protocols of the prescribed standard by the Rubber Research Institute’s (http://www.lgm.gov.my/) Tire Lab of the Malaysian Rubber Board.
On review of the results it will show that in spite of the inclusion or substitution of 20% (in this case 14% recycled material content) without custom compound that we were able to ensure no loss in properties, in fact we were able to prove that we could even exceed the original specifications in certain cases. Also the fact that we have done it in the sidewall and tread compounds makes it all the more impressive.
This (above) chart is a comparison of the manufacturers Light Truck Tire Compound and a composite compound which is the same compound with 20% substituted with the SRI Custom Compound (14% recycled rubber content). These compounds, the control and the composite were then tested for tensile and elongation at break to show that there is no appreciable loss or change in properties.
In the case of Batches 6 & 7 we increased the recycled content a little but please note that the variance is considered near test error difference. Regardless we feel that all the results are impressive and make our point without exception.
The plunger test effectively measures the amount of force required to make the tire that has been normally inflated to fail or burst when it is applied to a specified area of the side wall using a regulation test plunger. The minimum specification to pass the test is that the point of failure or bursting must be achieved due to force in excess of 6,759kg.cm or 5,700 in.lb.
The control or manufacturers original OEM compound tire was measured to require a force of 7,029kg.cm to make the plunger break through.
The SRI custom compound tires not only passed the minimum specification but it managed to comfortably exceed the control at 7,798kg.cm and 8,800 kg.cm.
This test is of specific significance as the SRI activated compound was not only incorporated into the tread compound but it was also introduced into the sidewall compound. This test is not only measuring the overall resistance of the tire to measured trauma but it is a test that points clearly to the performance level of the side wall compound. The SRI compound in the current format was intended to be equal to the control specification; this was achieved and exceeded which leaves additional room for further cost reduction based on the sidewall formulation.
All these test results were the result of independent testing and evaluation by the Rubber Research Institute of the Malaysian Rubber Board.
Based on these test results, what has been achieved here is historic, there has never been a case of scrap rubber/tire dust or powder, regardless of the technology employed that has ever exceeded a couple of percentile. Before this innovation exceeding 2 plus % recycled content in a tire compound always meant what is referred to in the industry as “catastrophic failure”. History has been rewritten, the SRI custom compound has been able to incorporate more than 14% recycled content in both the tread and sidewall compounds of a light truck tire and actually had it provide performance parameters equal to and higher than the original compound. Obviously the content levels would be substantially higher in lower to medium level applications. SRI is currently unmatched having broken new technological ground in recycling whose impact and significance will be effect the entire rubber industry.
SRI’s revolutionary compound’s, technical reach and ability to perform in premium volume applications will not only ensure substantially improved viability for rubber product manufacturers but will make environmentally friendly “green” production the norm rather than the exception. Finally there is a real solution to the “Tire Mountains” and the environmental pollution from them. SRI activated custom compounds allow for substantial recycled content to be applied in nearly all volume applications cost effectively without appreciable loss of properties.