Of the 290 million scrap tires generated in the United States annually, more than 80 percent are reused or recycled for sale into various markets. That’s up from just 17 percent in 1990. The biggest markets for scrap tires generally require shredding as part of the process and that’s turned into a good business for tire shredder manufacturers.
At Artech Reduction Technologies in Oakville, Ontario, the most popular machine for shredding tires is the MD 250, says Gary Klowak, business development manager. The MD250 consistently processes 10 tons of tires per hour, generating 1.5 to 2” chips. Customers like the MD250’s throughput and low energy costs, which are made possible by the use of a variable-speed electric drive, Klowak says. “You only use that power when you need it, so your average energy consumption is a lot lower, but overall you have a lot more usable torque in the shredder,” he says.
A growing market for Artech shredders are companies processing old tires into crumb rubber. “In the last couple of years, there seems to be a real improvement in the markets for crumb rubber, which is very expensive to generate,” Klowak says. “Now these markets are picking up, which is really good because the business is becoming financially viable.”
Barclay Roto-Shred in Stockton, California, makes a variety of tire shredding products, including a 4.9” primary shredder and 2” secondary shredder. “The shredders are high volume and the blades can be re-sharpened and interchanged between the shredders,” says Barclay president Mark Diemunsch. “The high volume systems rely on multiple shredders that reduce the whole tires to pieces anywhere from 6” chips to as small as 1.5” chips.”
“Most of my customers are producing TDF (tire derived fuel) or chips for feed stock for machines that process the chips into crumb rubber,” Diemunsch adds. The primary shredder processes 16 tons per hour, and the secondary shredder processes 10 tons per hour.
“Tire shredding is a rough application, so you have to have a pretty rugged machine to hold up,” says Richard Pyle, manager of sales and operations at Jordan Reduction Solutions in Birmingham, Alabama. Jordan, which previously sold machines under the Mitts and Merrill nameplate, has machines that have been shredding tires for more than 30 years, Pyle says. He attributes their long lives to the company’s decision not to choose lighter-weight designs. “We’ve kept our designs as heavy as when we started back in the early 1950s,” he says. “That’s what gives it durability and longevity.”
Jordan’s most popular machines for tire shredding are its MS5028 and MS5040 models, weighing 22,000 lbs. and 37,000 lbs., respectively. These heavy-duty models are designed to produce rough shreds down to 1 or 2” chip sizes. Pyle says they have many customers who then process the shredded tires into crumb rubber to manufacture products ranging from sidewalk paving materials to building blocks. “You see an increase in people shredding it down to create landscape mulch,” Pyle adds.
SSI Shredding Systems in Wilsonville, Oregon, builds tires shredders that can handle any type of tire, from passenger and light truck tires to heavy equipment and aircraft tires. Tire-derived fuel processors can expect throughput of 5 to 15 tons per hour, producing shred from 1 to 2” in size.
Shredder designs don’t tend to change much, but SSI does have something new, according to industrial sales specialist Dave Fleming. “We have recently resurrected our wrap-around trammel design and spent considerable energy re-engineering it to come up with a system that is very easy to service, is very reliable, takes up little floor space, is efficient and configurable, and provides customers with a comparatively low entry cost solution that can process whole car and truck tires,” he says.
Vista International of Orange Park, Florida, is a recent entry to the ranks of shredder manufacturers. Wally Franczyk, vice president of sales and marketing, says a year ago the company began selling its TS12-HD model for processing car and light truck tires. The machine is manufactured in China according to United States designs, producing an offering that is especially competitive on price, Franczyk says.
The TS12-HD is electrically driven, but Vista is developing another model, the TS15-HDN, which will be hydraulically driven. They hydraulically-powered model will weigh approximately 5,000 lbs., compared to 8,000 lbs. for the electric unit, which will make it easier to transport, Franczyk says. “The larger unit can do about 150 tires per hour,” he says. “The hydraulic unit will be capable of doing about 200 units an hour.” The Vista shredders produce 2” by 6” chips, and most customers are tire recyclers and tire shops, Franczyk says.
Overall, the future remains bright for shredder manufacturers and the customers they serve. As SSI’s Fleming says, “Scrap tires will continue to be a disposal problem, populations will continue to grow and consume more raw and recycled materials, and used tires will increasingly be needed in order to make longer-lasting new products as well as synthetic fuels and other valuable materials.”