MONTREAL (May 18, 2000)—Tirex Corp. said it has made "additional adjustments and improvements" to its TCS-1 cryogenic tire recycling system in preparation for commercializing the process, and has won important approval from a scientific representative of the Canadian Government Customs and Revenue Agency.
The Montreal-based recycling firm also said it has entered into a cooperative agreement to develop new rubber and plastic molding materials from its Rutex-brand crumb rubber, and will seek legal counteraction against a former partner if it doesn´t withdraw its lawsuit against Tirex.
The improvements to the TCS-1 system are to its fracturing mill, said Louis V. Muro, Tirex vice president of engineering, in a press release. They allow the mill to process a wider variety of tire piece sizes and improve the separation of crumb, steel and fiber.
"The yield of clean, uncontaminated crumb rubber is the best result the TCS-1 has produced to date," Mr. Muro said.
Under the TCS-1 system, the specially programmed air plant uses air chilled to -170 degrees Fahrenheit, rather than costly liquid nitrogen, to freeze tire pieces to a glasslike state, Tirex said. The semi-automated, front-end tire preparation equipment also is undergoing modifications to improve efficiency, the company said, and it is testing equipment to grind crumb rubber to finer mesh sizes.
After witnessing a demonstration of Tirex´s patented TCS-1 cryogenic tire grinding system at company headquarters, the representative of the approved the firm´s final application for tax credits for fiscal year 1999. This means Tirex will receive the remaining $153,000 of the $843,000 in credits it applied for (all amounts converted to U.S. dollars).
The representative´s approval also means Tirex can apply for Canadian government subsidies for new recycling and scientific technologies, according to Tirex President John L. Threshie Jr.
"This is a big step for us," Mr. Threshie said. "They saw our program, and liked the way we´re progressing." Though the TCS-1 technology is "not 100 percent," Mr. Threshie said, it has undergone recent improvements and is "performing better than ever.
"We´ve been here four years, and we´ve been painstaking to get our process to where we can commercialize it," he said. "But this is a light at the end of the tunnel. We have a patented technology no one else has, and this shows we can bring it to the rest of the world."
Tirex has signed an agreement with Michel DeBlois Technologies of Quebec City and former Recyc-Quebec official Francois Lafortune to join Tirex at its Montreal facility to produce unique molding materials using Rutex, the company said.
M.D. Technologies is a consulting firm specializing in research and development in recycled rubber and plastics. Mr. Lafortune, a former chemistry professor at the University of Manitoba, was a key developer of the Quebec Used Tire Management Program unveiled in 1993. Earlier, Mr. Lafortune worked with Tirex and M.D. Technologies to develop RuCrTherm, Tirex´s proprietary thermoplastic/crumb rubber compound.
Mr. Threshie said Tirex has other "big news" pending, but cannot reveal it yet.
In March, Montreal-based IM2 Merchandising and Manufacturing and its president, David Sinclair, filed suit against Tirex and its former president, Terence C. Byrne, in U.S. federal district court in Wilmington, Del.
IM2 and Mr. Sinclair accused Tirex and Mr. Byrne of fraud and breach of contract arising from a now-defunct partnership agreement for the two companies to produce molded rubber mats together. They claimed Tirex and Mr. Byrne never had any intention of fulfilling their end of the deal, knew the TCS-1 system was "a total failure" and used their connection with IM2 to boost Tirex´s stock price.
Mr. Byrne has said he will file a countersuit, and current Tirex President John L. Threshie Jr. threatened to do the same in a press release.
"We will not tolerate these allegations and will retaliate to the full extent permitted by the law," said Mr. Threshie, who also said his attorneys had advised him that the Delaware court may lack jurisdiction in the case.