SIOUX CITY, S.D.Maintaining honkin'-big off-the-road tires demands a lot of attention, and probably just as much consideration when they've reached the end of their life cycle.
These brutes put up with a lot of abuse, but when it's time to (not) meet their maker, the options are somewhat limited to disposal or some type of re-use.
Eagle International L.L.C. has for a number of years been promoting its system of de-beading OTR tires. While its equipment and process are catching on in the U.S., the company has gone off-shore to where the big tires roam, seeking contracts, for example, with mining operationswhich have a voracious appetite for these tires.
Eagle recently completed the delivery of the company's OTR tire debeaders in Chile, parlaying that with onsite training. The OTR tire downsizing equipment was purchased by privately owned PGA/Peide International in Chile, delivered to the Antofagasta Port and moved to Peide's tire recycling facility, which it operates at the Codelco Chuquimata copper mine near Calama, Chile.
Eagle International President Julie Prochello told Tire Business the company experienced the opportunity to work directly with the individuals of an OTR tire recycling facility and also individuals of Codelco mine, which proved to be of great advantage to all. Eagle shared many ideas with the tire processor and, because of the experience of both sides involved, they are well on their way to great successes.
When our customers are successful, everyone is a winner.
She said Eagle completed multiple presentations that have included the firm's entire OTR downsizing system. We have had many people visit for presentations from all over the world. They will specifically watch the equipment work, pulling the steel from the tiresusing the Eagle OTR Debeader.
We split the tires like a bagel with the Eagle Punch Cutter. This is done because of the thickness of the rubber in the shoulder of the tires.
The split OTR tires are then cut, via the Eagle Titan II, into rubber sections that can be processed in tire shredders.
When Eagle clients have purchased the OTR downsizing system, Ms. Pro-chello said, the training goes with the acquisition. We spend one week with the clients and machines at their recycling facility.
In Chile, for example, onsite training consisted of four Eagle representativestwo from the company's sales office and two from its manufacturing plantwho spent five days with the new owners and operators of the Eagle equipment.
We cover not only how to run the machines effectively, we teach about all of the operating componentshow and why they work, teaching the machines from the ground up, Ms. Prochello explained. We cover any and all troubleshooting, as the giant OTR tires come in many different forms and sizes, from blow-outs to tires that are separated and also the tires that are worn down to the steel radial wires.
After five days of using the company's system, the response from the Codelco mine personnel was extremely positive and the management team of the mine was impressed with the results..., Ms. Prochello said.
Eagle equipment in use at the Codelco mine's recycling site has been processing tires in sizes 33.00R51, 40.00R57, 55/80R63 and 69/80R63. Ms. Prochello said that with the Eagle OTR downsizing system, we will process OTR tire sizes with a rim opening of 23 inches all of the way up to the biggest tires on a mine site.
The rubber and steel recovered from the OTR tires is of much higher quality, she added, noting any of the downstream products such as crumb rubber or powder mesh using this material (find it) much more desirable.
The company's equipment reduces the giant tires further so the rubber sections can then be processed through shredders, which will produce much higher-quality end products, she said.
Eagle's machinery also is being used at a large site in South Africa, where Ms. Prochello said a companywhich she could not name at this timemines nickel, copper, iron ore, platinum, coal, phosphates and other minerals. That mining firm also has ordered another set of Eagle machines that are in production at this time.
In the U.S., there are three companies using Eagle OTR downsizing equipment, Ms. Prochello said, though she would not name them. Many of the mining companies we have spoken to and have been working with (in the U.S.) have indicated that there have been indicators that the regulations have been in the process of changing, she said. Most of the mines are very environmentally friendly and are gearing up to be proactive with regards to taking care of the scrap tires, but because the regulations have not been implemented as of yet here in the states, we have not seen a lot of action.
However, in many countries around the world, (new) regulations are much closer to being implemented and the mining companies are actively seeking ways to dispose of these giant tires in a manner that will be of most benefit to them.
Mine operators don't want to have to process the giant OTR tires themselves, she added, and are seeking processors that can process the tires for them.
In 2013 Eagle introduced an OTR tire debeader that pulls steel bead bundles cleanly from giant mining, earthmover and other large OTR road tires in less than 10 minutes, according to the South Dakota-based equipment marketer.
The large steel beads and three dimensional material within OTR tires represent a distinct problem for tire recyclers, Eagle said. While some tire shredding machines are capable of cutting through some large beads, the company noted that the process significantly increases the wear and maintenance costs of the equipment. By removing bead bundles prior to shredding, Eagle said tire recyclers can reduce costs, increase the life of their equipment, simplify downstream shredding and recover hundreds of pounds of recyclable steel, subsequently adding to their revenue stream.
Ms. Prochello said the Eagle OTR downsizing system is keeping us very busy, however, we are working on different concepts for new equipment that will benefit the tire recycling industry.
While she would not provide a ballpark figure for Eagle's annual sales, Ms. Prochello said its international sales have been on the upswing and our company is growing.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6130. Twitter: @SigMikolajczyk