Turning Discarded Tires into a Variety of Durable End Products
As a custom manufacturer of nonmetallic industrial products, All-State Industries is well-known for its precision die-cut, cast polyurethane, plastic and insulation components. But you can’t lose sight of the company’s molded masticated rubber products business, a fast-growing segment that continues to penetrate new markets with new solutions for more applications.
Masticated rubber is a rubber compound made from recycled rubber. In All-State’s case, the rubber comes primarily from tire waste. Tire scrap is sourced from tire manufacturers across North America. Additionally, discarded tires are sourced by the truckload. All-State’s mastication process transforms that tire waste into strong, durable and cost-effective solutions for a variety of applications.
“Used tires are a great raw material because the synthetic fabric reinforcement adds strength,” says Chris Stern, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at All-State Industries. That reinforced strength persists after the rubber goes through the mastication process. The result is a durable end product that features excellent tensile strength and bolt retention, as well as abrasion, UV and weather resistance. Masticated rubber is also environmentally friendly because it helps keep tire waste out of landfills.
Even though a tremendous amount of tire waste is generated across North America every day, All-State’s biggest challenge is sourcing enough material to keep up with skyrocketing demand for its masticated rubber products. “There is only so much of this rubber to go around,” Stern points out. That’s because tire waste is also used to make products like mulch and gravel substitutes, road-paving material, and even tire-derived fuel.
How the mastication process works
The tire waste All-State does get its hands on is shipped to its masticated rubber manufacturing plant in Mexico. There it goes through the mastication process. First, the tire scraps are put through several stages of processing to chop them into little pellets. The pellets are then heated up in a pressure oven where they cook down into a gum-like substance.
“Once it dries, it’s a very hard rubber,” Stern says. Then it gets shaped and cut into the final product.
All-State’s standard product line includes:
- mud flaps
- wheel chocks
- bumpers for trucks, trailers and docks
- agricultural matting
- livestock mineral feeder lids
Customized solutions that are ripe for rubber
All-State Industries specializes in customized components. If a customer has a need that could be satisfied by masticated rubber, All-State design engineers come up with a solution.
For example, a popular golf course driving range needed a better way to set up their tee boxes. All-State designed and created a thick, two-piece rubberized mat to serve as a durable foundation for the artificial turf. The edges are raised a couple of inches so the piece of artificial turf fits snugly inside. To enhance the mat’s appearance, a texture is applied to that outer lip. “This is one of those outside-the-box ideas that really showcases the potential of masticated rubber,” Stern says.
Painting and branding are often part of the customization process. As a matter of fact, branding can also come into play with All-State’s standard rubber products.
Mud flaps are a good example. Truck manufacturers typically have All-State paint their logo on their mud flaps. With mud flaps and other products, some OEMs like to have their name or logo embossed into the rubber. All-State can handle that, too.
All-State Industries continues to handle more and more customer requests for masticated rubber-based solutions in general. All-State’s factory in Mexico, which they have owned for two years, has evolved and grown to keep up with growing demand. A recent build-out has brought the facility to roughly 100,000 sq. ft. That’s more than enough room to continue transforming millions of pounds of tire waste into strong, durable and cost-effective products for a variety of applications—from the highway to the farm, and even to the golf course.