Oklahoma Tire Recycler Gets New Vulcanization Technology Rights

Ardmore, OK - Softstone Inc., an Ardmore, Oklahoma based company whose primary business has been the recycling of rubber, announced its purchase of the exclusive rights for a unique devulcanization technology.

Invented and patented by Levgum, Ltd. of Israel, the Levgum process breaks down sulfur links across polymer chains in vulcanized rubber allowing the rubber to be used again. Softstone purchased the Western Hemisphere rights to the product.

"This technology can enable tire companies and other producers of rubber products to recapture a large part of their excess rubber," said Keith Boyd, Softstone president.

"In fact, this process maintains 80 percent of the rubber's original properties, costs less than any known competitor's process and could result in millions of dollars of savings annually to large producers of rubber products while helping them become environmentally friendly," Mr. Boyd said.

Softstone first heard about Levgum through Art Beroff, a consultant in New York who is a member of Florida and New York's chamber of commerce to Israel.

"This is one of the top technologies Israel has right at the moment," Mr. Boyd said.

After extensive and successful testing of Levgum's devulcanization process by Akron Rubber Development Laboratory, Inc., Softstone purchased the exclusive Western Hemisphere rights to the Levgum process, including the right to sub-license the technology.

"The process breaks down sulfur links across polymer chains," Mr. Boyd said. "Sulfur is what Charles Goodyear added to rubber back in 1839 to make it hard and formable."

The new technology makes it easier to take the sulfur out.

"They've always known they could break the sulfur back out," Mr. Boyd said. "That's something they've been able to do for 100-something years. What they haven't been able to do is break it out without damaging all the other molecules in the makeup of a cured rubber product."

Heat is what damages rubber and this process uses no heat. His company plans to market the technology throughout the Western Hemisphere but primarily the focus will be on the U.S. for now.

"This is a global effort," Mr. Boyd said. "We happen to be the contact for the Americas. Also India and Israel are involved, which by consequence will bring about other countries which we can't mention right now."

Softstone is already negotiating with several major rubber-product manufacturers that have asked to be involved in blending the Levgum devulcanized rubber with virgin and synthetic rubber material to form existing products.

This technology would give these manufacturers the ability to recycle up to 100 percent of their waste, thereby saving significant costs on disposal fees and raw material replacement.