INDIANAPOLIS-The State of Indiana has granted STI-K Polymers America Inc. a subsidized loan of $500,000 to complete its joint venture with Baker Rubber Co. of South Bend, Ind. Baker Rubber, the nation's largest producer of crumb rubber, is installing equipment in South Bend to make STI-K's patented ``DeVulc'' recycled rubber, which according to STI-K has 75 percent of the properties of virgin rubber.
The joint venture will divert 1.6 million tires annually from landfills to useful end-products, said Julie Rhodes of the Indiana Department of Commerce.
Indiana has an ongoing program to offer subsidized loans to recycling industries in an effort to attract their business. Another six to eight weeks of consideration by state authorities is necessary before the loan agreement becomes final, she added.
``It's an important indication that the State of Indiana recognizes the value of our project,'' said Frederic W. Siesseger, president of STI-K Polymers America.
Commercial production of DeVulc in South Bend is scheduled to begin Sept. 1, Mr. Siesseger said.
STI-K Polymers America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of STI Corp. Sdn. Bhd., which was founded by B.C. Sekhar, former chairman of the Malaysian Rubber Research and Development Board. Mr. Sekhar and a Russian scientist, Vitaly Kormer, invented the ``De-Link'' chemical process which creates DeVulc rubber.
Another STI Corp. subsidiary, STI-K Polymers Sdn. Bhd., recently introduced the process in England at a launch seminar and received mixed reviews from delegates. Those asked agreed the idea had considerable potential, and described the technology as ``interesting.'' Few, however, were prepared to commit themselves to anything more decisive until the material is tested more thoroughly.