OLDCASTLE, Ontario — Scrap tire devulcanizer Tyromer Inc. is outfitting a production plant in Oldcastle with $3.4 million in funding it received from Canada's Automotive Supplier Innovation Program (ASIP).
Operated by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, ASIP is designed to help Canadian auto parts manufacturers develop innovative products to meet the safety, emissions and fuel economy demands of auto makers, according to the ASIP website.
Tyromer received the money early in 2017, but the ASIP did not make the formal announcement until June, according to Tyromer CEO Sam Visaisouk.
Oldcastle is near Windsor, which places the new plant in an excellent area to supply Detroit auto makers, according to Mr. Visaisouk. The new site will allow Tyromer to pursue the devulcanization of EPDM, which currently it is doing on the pilot-plant level, he said.
The $3.4 million will buy some of the equipment for the facility, but does not cover construction or renovation at the plant site, he said.
"The major equipment will arrive in September," Mr. Visaisouk said. "With installation and optimization, we expect it to be in full operation by January 2018."
In full operation, the Oldcastle facility will employ 16 to 18 workers and have an annual production capacity of around 10 million pounds of devulcanized rubber annually, Mr. Visaisouk said.
"The funding allows us to scale up the devulcanization of EPDM to production scale, to optimize the process for the many different types of EPDM, and also to use the d-EPDM as a base polymer to make other automotive polymers," he said.
Tyromer has a collaborative agreement with a Tier 1 automotive component manufacturer to use scrap EPDM from one of its manufacturing operations, according to Mr. Visaisouk. It is also exploring collaboration with a global customer.
Tyromer uses the devulcanization technology invented by Costas Tzoganakis, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. It established a manufacturing facility in Kitchener, Ontario, in September 2015.
In June 2014, just before the announcement of the ASIP grant, Tyromer was named a winner of the 2017 Red Herring Top 100 North America awards in Los Angeles.
The Red Herring awards recognize North America's most innovative private technology companies.