Armex Inc. has been rebuilding and selling tire cracker mills since its founding in 1948, but by 2000, Armex President Mark Hausman saw the need for a smaller, more productive, more economical grinder.
``We decided to come up with a brand-new product,'' Mr. Hausman said. The result was the patent-pending technology for the recently trademarked Krumbuster reduction mill, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) was so impressed that it awarded Akron-based Armex a $34,000 grant for continued research and development.
Armex received the provisional patent on the Krumbuster about a year and a half ago, after two or three years of development, according to Mr. Hausman. The company has a Web site, www.krumbuster.com, devoted to the new equipment.
According to the Web site, the Krumbuster produces the full range of crumb rubber sizes for any application, including rubberized asphalt, artificial turf, coatings, mats, roofing and new tires. Its increased torque and friction ratios give it increased production capacity over conventional cracker mills, while its lower energy requirements and fewer moving parts make it more cost-effective than traditional grinding equipment.
Above all, the Krumbuster is designed for easy replacement of key parts, reducing downtime sharply, according to Mr. Hausman. ``With a cracker mill, it can take you two days to replace a roller,'' he said. ``With the Krumbuster, it takes 20 minutes.''
The ODNR grant money will allow Armex to hire two full-time employees, for a total of 10, Mr. Hausman said. Armex will contribute at least $34,000 in matching funds for the R&D project.
In April, the ODNR's Division of Recycling & Litter Prevention issued 11 grants worth a total of $1.45 million to promote scrap tire recycling in Ohio. The largest single grant was $350,000 to the CEMEX S.A. de C.V. cement plant in Fairborn, Ohio, for the purchase of equipment that blends tire-derived fuel with petroleum coke in the plant's cement kiln.