NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A Malaysian rubber reprocessor is investing more than $4 million to build a U.S. plant to produce compounds from scrap tire rubber using a proprietary ``rejuvenation'' process. Quantum Polymers USA Inc. is in the process of securing a site in the Cleveland area for its facility, which will be equipped to mix 250 metric tons a month initially, said Hari Chandra, technical/commercial manager.
Quantum Polymers USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Quantum Polymers (M) Sdn. Bhd. of Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.
The company hopes the facility will be operating by the end of 1999, Mr. Chandra said. The plant will be set up so it can expand in stages, up to 1,000 tons per month, as demand dictates.
Quantum Polymers, formerly known as B.G. Polymers Sdn. Bhd., has developed a process for rejuvenating tire crumb rubber into a material it claims can be used in concentrations of up to 30 parts per hundred in tread rubber for tire retreading.
For other molded parts, the concentration can be even higher, Mr. Chandra said.
Quantum's process involves adding unspecified ``re-agents'' and additives to tire crumb, which is then allowed to react at controlled temperatures for a specified time, the company's literature states.
The properties of the resultant product, MR-TC—or Malaysian Rubber Tire Crumb—can be varied by changing the amounts and types of additives and re-agents, the company said.
Quantum Polymers will be involved directly in the crumbing of rubber, Mr. Chandra said, and looking for reliable sources of 1-inch tire chips, free of steel and fiber.
Once the chips are ground to the appropriate mesh size, they will be processed into MR-TC and mixed into standard compound or masterbatch.
Quantum Polymers exhibited at the International Tire and Rubber Association's Tire Expo in Nashville under the banner, ``Compound Technology for the Next Millennium.'' Much of the company's research work into MR-TC was with retreaded truck tires in Malaysia.
While B.G. Polymers developed the process in Malaysia, the principals decided to set up a compounding operation in the U.S., because Malaysia doesn't have the incentives or the inclination to recycle, Mr. Chandra said.