French rubber injection moulding machinery maker REP International has acquired Watson Brown HSM-Berlin, its patented HSM devulcanisation technology as well as its devulcanisation centre. This centre is equipped with an operational devulcanisation line and a test laboratory operated by a team of six persons.
REP says it will carry on with the development of the HSM technology and promote devulcanisation machines and service on the international market to compounders and processors. Watson Brown HSM Berlin is the seventh subsidiary of the REP group, the others being involved in the sales and after-sales of REP presses throughout the world.
REP also developed a technical and commercial partnership with Watson Brown HSM to devulcanise rubber production scraps and reintroduce them into the production chain. After a series of validation tests conducted in REP’s customer plants it was established that the process is technically performing and economically efficient and that is when REP decided after many years of collaboration to integrate Watson Brown HSM into the group.
The patented HSM process applies to any kind of uncontaminated rubber production waste. Once the compound is devulcanised, it is reintegrated into the basic compound. This results in significant savings on both compound and waste disposal costs. Watson Brown has developed a patent for devulcanising cured rubber. Controlling the strain applied to the compound by the HSM machine causes the rubber to be devulcanised by preserving properties which are very close to the initial compound. This is a 100% thermo-mechanical process without adding any further substances or chemical agents and is performed at low temperature, in order to prevent the characteristics of the devulcanised rubber from being altered.
Berlin’s devulcanisation centre is equipped with a laboratory to run tests on samples intended for customers who are willing to test the process based on their own compound, so as to validate the properties before running industrial HSM tests. The existing capacities grant the centre the ability to service all customers who want to devulcanise and reintegrate their scraps back into production, in order to substitute them for one part of the basic compound, resulting in a drop in operating cost.
REP says that for companies interested in implementing the tests, a few kg of scraps will be sufficient to conduct the lab tests resulting in data on the elongation, tensile strength and rheology of the samples. After the test, the customer receives back the processed compound for assessment. It is then possible to conduct production tests to test the final parts on an industrial scale.
With the acquisition of the intellectual property and the plant of Watson Brown in Berlin, REP is developing a devulcanisation machine for compounders and rubber processors in addition to the existing devulcanisation service.