Rubber manufacturers respond to questions about what they need from rCB producers
What Do Manufacturers Want from rCB?
The question was asked at the Smithers Recovered Carbon Black conference: “What do manufacturers want from rCB?”
Michelin’s Sander Vermeulen responded to the question; “Manufacturers need raw materials that have properties that meet our requirements. Those raw materials need to be consistent. This is important to understand. The quality and specification of the products must be the same every day, it must be good all of the time, and it must be available in huge quantities.
“A lot of the constraints on rCB are known. The biggest issue is, how do we overcome them? How do we find the characteristics that are useful to us? We need to address the characteristics issue.”
Bridgestone’s Marco Musaio agreed; “All of the actors in the field need to be involved. We must cooperate to join the dots to create a market for rCB.
Richard Chiari from Semperit AG, agreed but had a slightly different take; “Quality, consistency and delivery are important. However, in the discussions we all seem to fall short of one element, the economic element. When there is consumer pull, say in the tyre industry, the consumer may well pay a premium, but in the B2B sector for belting, seals and such, no-one is particularly interested in circularity [at this time].
“We have been using rCB for some time, but it has to make economic sense. There needs to be an economic place in the market.”
Musaio concurred that the economic argument could not be ignored.
Chiari continued; “Let us not forget that rCB works. There have been a lot of good instances – we have been using it for five years and it clearly works.”
The panel was asked what makes rCB attractive, what would make it better? Ad van Oorschot from Black Bear Carbon added, “Price is the easy element, but what else? What do tyre manufacturers want from rCB? What would be the prime parameters the industry is looking for? How can we work together?
Vermeulen answered; “There is not one answer, rCB is not a direct alternative to vCB, it is an alternative product that needs to be as close to vCB as is possible.
“RCB is in the market, it is to substitute for vCB. So, it needs to be close. We need to look at the trade-offs. Our technical people work with trade-offs all the time.
“Upstream and downstream players need to talk to each other.
“There is currently no market for rCB. Manufacturers need to talk to the producers. We need to create a framework for rCB in terms of what the manufacturers need. The market is currently not framed today.”
Musaio added; “We need to have a clear understanding of the output. We cannot use materials that do not comply with our marketed product quality. Quality is the reputation of Bridgestone and Michelin.”
To read more on this discussion subscribe to Tyre and Rubber Recycling for the full coverage of this discussion in issue 2022/1.