When tires can no longer abide by the safety standards they were built to follow, they can no longer be used and must be disposed of. However, when tires are not properly disposed of, they may pose extreme public health and environmental risks. One major global source of pollution, especially in developing nations, is illegal and improper tire disposal. Even if tires are legally disposed of in a landfill, they pose a major inconvenience due to how much space they take up. Fortunately, tire shredders are a solution to this problem.
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Advantages of Tire Shredders
Despite environmental concerns, the reuse of scrap tires has environmental benefits. For instance, tire derived fuel, or TDF, is a fuel that is derived from all kinds of scrap tires. Tire derived fuel is one of the oldest and most developed markets that utilizes shredded and reused tires, and provides an efficient alternative fuel source for machines such as pulp and paper mills, electric utilities, and cement kilns. Each tire has a high heat value, a consistent chemical composition, and low moisture concentration. All of these characteristics give them a high potential for energy and make them an excellent fuel source.
Tire derived fuel comes with an assortment of benefits, including the decrease of greenhouse gas emissions and the increase of boiler efficiency. The process of converting tires into fuel can be summarized into two steps: shredding the tires and removing the metal. The tires are either fed whole into a single shredder or put through a series of shredders until they are reduced into chips that are just a few inches in size. Shredders that are typically used are high-shear and low-torque. A sizing screen in the shredder ensures that all of the pieces are of a uniform size. A magnetic separator is utilized to remove the metal from the tires. Once the tires are shredded, they are put through a combustion machine to be converted into a fuel source.
Purpose of Tire Shredders
Tire shredders are a type of industrial shredder that are specialized for the purposes of reprocessing and disposing used and worn tires. They grind up tires into tiny shreds, reducing them to a size that is more manageable. After processing the tires, the shreds can either be disposed of in a landfill, or reused for other applications. Most scrap yards feature a tire shredder so they can be disposed of properly. People have been discovering more ways to reuse tires, and it has become more of a preference to recycle and reuse simply disposing of them in a landfill. Tire shreds can undergo additional processes and be used for asphalt, basketball court and playground surfaces, or even new tires. Shredded tires can also be used as a liner for landfills that keep decomposing waste material in one area in order to prevent groundwater contamination.
Design of Tire Shredders
In addition to the assortment of configurations, tire shredders are also available in different sizes. For example, a shredding system for large tires can fulfill the requirements of a large-scale tire shredding operation. Other tire shredders can fit on trailers to be transported between stockpiles of tires. As beneficial as the use of reprocessed tires is, it comes with some concerns. When reprocessed tires are reused in other applications such as surfaces, it can pose a risk for contamination of groundwater. Shredded tire rubber contains chemicals that are used in the vulcanization of rubber, and it is believed that they are more prone to seep out of processed tire rubber than unprocessed tire rubber. Therefore, when disposing of tires, it is important to consider negative environmental consequences.
Types of Tire Shredders
Tire shredders can be fabricated in a variety of configurations, each designed for certain purposes.
- Chipper Shredder
- Capable of making the shreds of a material uniform to make processing easier. Many tire shredders have these capabilities, because the use of tire shredders to recycle and reuse tires is so common. Tire rubber is a heavily processed material in itself, and it is possible to harvest most of the materials that were used and re-sell them after reprocessing the tire.
- Single Pass Shredder
- Commonly used in landfills to break down tires and densify them in preparation for transportation to a processing facility. Off-the-road (OTR) recycling systems are built to reduce OTR tires and reduce them to chunks that are inches in size that can be reused for marketable products. Mulch production systems accept pre-shredded tires and reduce them to an even smaller size. They feature a magnetic system that is capable of stripping the tire material of any steel or metal.