[Article from ScrapBook No 5, 2014]
In 2007 Eldan Recycling got in contact with two Serbian entrepreneurs who wanted to start the country’s first tyre recycling plant. Seven years later, the company, Eco-Recycling Ltd employ over 90 people, and have a very positive outlook on the future.
Interest in the future of Serbia
Environmental awareness is increasing steadily through global governmental summits and regional legislations. Discussions on the environment and a sustainable future often focus on how to get rid of the large piles of “problems” which has been collected during the years. Large business opportunities are however waiting for those who are ready to take the chance.
Eco-Recycling, with head office in Novi Sad, Serbia, is one of the companies that realized the business potential early on. In the beginning of 2000 they started to make plans to open the first tyre recycling plant in the region. The process was tough in many ways, since they needed license for storage, treatment and transportation of harmless waste from the Ministry of Environment and Mining and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Serbia. However, the dream of a fully equipped production facility, and well-proven recycling machines however kept them going. The journey towards a profitable tyre recycling plant had just begun.
Through internet research and speaking to people within the industry, Eco-Recycling found several potential suppliers of recycling equipment.
“We met several times in Serbia and discussed their needs in regards to production capacity, output-material etc. Since the company had recently been established we had a lot to go through helping them to build an efficient tyre recycling facility. We also arranged visits and field tests at our reference tyre recycling plants in Germany and at our test facilities in Denmark,” said Jan Kjær, Product Manager at Eldan Recycling.
The field test in Germany went well and in 2007 Eco-Recycling decided to choose Eldan Recycling as supplier of a complete turn-key tyre recycling plant (type E3000T).
“We chose Eldan since they provided the best quality price ratio, and we were sure that the equipment could complete our tasks. We could of invested in cheaper and more expensive equipment, but who would be willing to pay a higher price for a maybe 1% better end product? Choosing Eldan is a decision we have never regretted” says Nenad Ratkovic, Sales and Purchase Manager at Eco-Recycling.
Qualified support for the production facility
While acquiring the tyre recycling equipment Eco Recycling started to plan and erect the building which would house the equipment.
“Eldan Recycling provided us with invaluable support during this building project. They surely have the experience and know exactly how to plan for efficient logistics inside as well as outside the plant. We really got qualified help during the whole project,” says Ratkovic.
In 2008 the new building as well as the new complete turn-key tyre recycling plant was in place and Eco-Recycling could press the start button.
The Eldan tyre recycling plant (type E3000T) installed at Eco-Recycling handles all the recycling stages; pre-chopping/rasping, primary and final granulation, as well as separation. The system includes e.g. a Super Chopper (SC1412T), a Heavy Rasper (HR122T), two Fine Granulators (FG952), two Classifiers (PC10T/PC15V), an Aspirator (UP1500) and three magnets (two Overband Magnets and one Drum Magnet). It would be able to process car and truck tyres at up to 3 ton/production hour producing 1-4 mm granulate (99,9% free from liberated steel and textile).
The pre-chopping line basically consists of a powerful, low speed Super Chopper specially designed for processing tyre waste. By pre-chopping the tyres, the material is easier to process in the rest of the plant, thus achieving a greater processing capacity and higher quality output material. During this stage the tyres is reduced in size and most of the ferrous material is removed by a vibrating discharge conveyor. Next stage of the recycling process includes a Rasper and an Overband magnet that effectively removes the liberated steel from the rubber granulate.
During the primary and final granulation the rubber waste undergo further size reduction. First, the Fine Granulator liberate up to 50 % of the textile contained in the tyres and then the Classifier remove it. Second, another Fine Granulator and Classifier liberate and remove additional the textile from the rubber granulate. Third step, and final granulation, is completed by an Aspirator designed for final cleaning and classification of the rubber into three sizes of output rubber granulates with a purity of 99.9 % free of liberated steel and textile. This purity is obtained thanks to the central Jet Air Filter System provided by Eldan.
“We where very satisfied with the equipment, and how easy it was to run and maintain. We actually operated the factory without electric power for almost a year after the equipment had been installed” comments Ratkovic. “We used a electric power generator.”
Second investment - new profitable business: steel cleaning
In 2010, after three years of successful production, Eco-Recycling decided to upgrade their tyre recycling plant by adding an Eldan Steel Cleaning System. Within tyre recycling the main objective is to purify rubber granulate. There is, however, a notable amount of steel wire in tyres which can be a profitable business. Eco-Recycling wanted to take advantage of this opportunity.
“We noticed a demand for further steel cleaning with our long-term customer, who is also one of part-owners of our company, Scholz Srbija” says Ratkovic.
Eldan offers two different systems – an in-line solution and a “stand-alone” solution. The steel cleaning system installed at Eco-Recycling was integrated into the tyre recycling plant and dedicated to take care of the liberated steel. The Eldan Steel Cleaning System consists of the main machines; a Multi Purpose Rasper (MPR160), Special Magnet Systems, a Steel Cleaner (RFS3000), a Special Textile Cleaning unit and an Air Filter System. Minimal operator control is needed.
“The output material has a purity of approximately 98 - 99 % clean steel wire, which makes it an attractive product for the steel market,” says Kjær.
Flexibility to upgrade
The Eldan systems and machines are modular designed to be easily integrated to each other. Installation of additional equipment is easily done by the skilled installation team. Sometimes the factory’s layout has to be changed, a job which also can be handled by our installation team.
“It is very common that our customers start with a single machine or a smaller plant, and then upgrade to achieve higher capacity or granulate purity. During the years we have seen many customers grow step by step and achieve fantastic results,” says Kjær.
Third investment - solution for processing of huge mining tyres
In 2012 Eco-Recycling decided to try to recycle mining tyres. “We found out that there were around 30.000 ton dumper tyres available in Serbia, only 250km away from us. This was an opportunity too good to pass up on” says Ratkovic.
Mining tyres can have a diameter of up to 3-4 meters and weight as much as 4-6 ton per tyre. Due to the size of mining tyres and the logistic challenges involved, Eldan has developed a specialized solution for processing tough and voluminous tyres. First the tyres are handled and pre-cut by a heavy duty demolition shear into pieces which fit the infeed of the Eldan Super Chopper (2109T). This Super Chopper has a capacity of up to 20 ton/production hour. The following steps in the recycling process are the same as for a standard tyre recycling system.
“This was actually the first Super Chopper SC2109T that has been installed in this part of Europe. They where looking to increase the plant capacity, at the same time being able to process at higher capacity. The Super Chopper SC2109T solved that issue by a long way” says Bjørn Laursen, Product Manager for tyre recycling at Eldan.
“We are very satisfied with all aspects regarding for example the easy handling and maintenance. The Eldan equipment run by our dedicated staff, along with the combined Eco-Recycling and Eldan Recycling experience result in a great output product. All of our customers are very satisfied with quality of rubber granulates” says Ratkovic.
A tyre recycling success!
Since the first investment in 2007 Eco-Recycling has expanded their plant with Eldan equipment three times, thereby increasing the capacity for processing of scrap tyres, and added the possibility to also process mining tyres and cleaning the output steel. The facility has one production line for production of rubber granulate out of 46.000 tons of input scrap tyres per year and one production line for cleaning steel wire up to a purity of 98-99 %. Eco-Recycling offers five different sizes of rubber granulate ranging from 0,0-0,5 mm to 2,0-5,0 mm (i.e. from approx.. 4 to 200 MESH).
The rubber granulate can be used for example as supplement to asphalt in road construction, accessories to road industry (parking and signalling pillars, curbs, rail crossings, road barriers). It can also be used in surfaces for sport courts, playgrounds, paving walkways, gardens and areas around the swimming pools. Other fields of application are the construction industry and household, for example protective flooring, solid tyres for trollies and trash cans.
Today the total area of the facility measures about 54.500 square meters with special open boxes for storage and handling of used tyres at 3600 square meters.
“Eldan is the number one within the recycling world. There are only few on the global market which have a reputation close to the one Eldan has. After almost seven years of great relationship with Eldan, Eldan is still always the answer when somebody asks for recommendation in recycling world. They offer top quality at a reasonable price, and customize the plant according to customers needs” says Ratkovic. “It is more than a business relationship – we are key partners for long term successful business.”
Benefits of choosing original spare-parts
Eco-Recycling chose to sign a spare part agreement with Eldan. To ensure high quality in every step of the recycling process, Eldan always recommends original spare- and wear parts. Different service packages are available in order to guarantee the customer spare parts when needed. The frequency of purchase is based on historical data compiled by Eldan, and “booked” spare parts are not charged to the customer until they are going to use it.
“We chose to have a spare parts agreement with Eldan in order to ensure a continuous supply of what we need in the shortest possible time. Downtime is very, very expensive!“ says Ratkovic.
At the Eldan After Sales Department, four people are dedicated to serve all our customers worldwide seven days a week, all year around. This service is highly appreciated by many customers due to time differences. Today more than 80 % of the Eldan customers acquire original spare-and wear parts directly from Eldan.
“There has been a large increase in interest for our after sales services, and the volumes during the last years has increased due to delivery performance improvements, better pricing and the fact that we have installed more machines. We have spare- and wear part solutions for all our customers” says Kjær.
A bright future
Eco-Recycling acquires their tyres from within Serbia, on their own or via other collecting companies. Part-owner company, Scholz Srbija, is their biggest supplier (around 2/3 total quantity), with collecting points in 38 cities in the country. In 2012 they collected around 25.000 tones of end-of-life tyres of total collected 36.000 tones. Eco-Recycling is however looking to import tyres from neighbour countries. Out of the customers of rubber granulate, about 80% is sold to other countries.
Currently, Eco Recycling employ over 90 people, but in regard to their ambitious expanding plans, the number of employees will certainly increase. They have already a new recycling project in full progress.
“We are looking forward to a bright future for our company by optimizing our recycling equipment with good support from Eldan Recycling. The Multi Purpose Rasper (MPR160) belonging to the complete tyre plant will be replaced by a MPR200. This upgraded machine will increase capacity with up to 25 % due to its bigger size. The existing MPR160 will be installed in the Steel Cleaning System” says Ratkovic. “Also we see high market potential within tyre recycling. Beside rubber granulate for end-products like insulating material or sport surfaces, a big potential is usage as an additive to asphalt for road construction. There is always demand for rubber as TDF, and new solutions like pyrolysis.”