SOUTH CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill.-National Tire Services Inc., one of the nation's largest collectors, transporters and processors of waste tires, is no more. The publicly held Illinois company ran tire collection operations in a dozen states and operated seven plants that processed scrap tires into tire-derived fuel (TDF) chips and crumb rubber. But in January, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and more recently began liquidating its assets.
But out of its ashes, an investor and his partner have purchased the assets, including transfer stations, of the former NTS and on July 1 established a new company: Environmental Scrap Tire Recovery Systems Inc.
NTS no longer exists, and an off-shoot, NTSO of Ashtabula, Ohio, which operated a couple of former NTS transfer stations, also has folded, according to Glenn Kanaga Sr., president of Environmental, which assumed the accounts and clients of both operations.
He will set up headquarters in his hometown of Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ohio.
Environmental has assumed NTS' scrap tire collection routes and is operating transfer stations in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Arizona. TDF/crumb rubber plants, leased by NTS, have closed, he said.
The transfer stations cull reusable casings from the tires collected for resale to retreaders and used-tire dealers and exporters. The scrap tires either will be baled and sold to a processor or sent to Environmental's pyrolysis plant, which is being built on the site of a large scrap tire stockpile in Dresden, Ohio.
Mr. Kanaga expects the pyrolysis facility to be fully operational in about eight months. He plans eventually to establish pyrolysis systems at all the transfer sites and operate mobile pyrolysis units for clearing large tire dumps.
Pyrolysis is a process of heating tires in an oxygenless chamber to break them down into oil, gas, steel and carbon char. Various pyrolysis technologies have existed for more than 20 years but have had little commercial success.
But Mr. Kanaga said his system is different due to its simplicity and low cost, and he doubts there will be difficulty selling the by-products.
He hopes to not make the same mistakes that he believes led to NTS' demise-mainly, as it grew, it didn't keep close enough tabs on its costs and cash flow, and was losing money as it picked up more and more tires. He plans to turn things around by ``keeping controls, continually monitoring what's going on, being realistic with salespeople and customers.*.*.*.''
Also, the pyrolysis system will make Environmental its own end-user, thus affording it better margins, he said. The company also plans to remain open to other recycling processes.
While he said his partner, Manny Gooslin, is the expert in the tire recycling field, Mr. Kanaga has worked in the field of mechanical engineering and design, and also assesses distressed properties for possible acquisition.
Since acquiring the collection business and taking over NTS' routes, Mr. Kanaga said his firm has boosted its clientele by 18 percent.