Industry News

New International Eco-mineral Plant set to Boost Manufacturing Profits

Published on 2009-11-30. Author : SpecialChem

RockTron is a world leader in innovative recycling technology, beneficiating coal-fired power station waste, (PFA - pulverised fuel ash) into valuable eco-mineral fillers / extenders on an industrial scale with no waste stream. Its new UK plant (equivalent in size to a football pitch) is located at Fiddler's Ferry, near Widnes in Cheshire and will produce 800,000 tonnes of ecominerals p.a.

RockTron's proprietary process offers manufacturers new economic, environmental and application opportunities via its new 100% recycled, Advanced Products Range, which include hollow and solid alumino-silicate microspheres (< 1="" to="" 300="" micron)="" and="" solid="" paramagnetic="" microspheres,="" designed="" to="" replace="" imported="" conventional="" and="" man-made="" inorganic="" fillers="" extenders="" such="" as="" talc,="" gcc,="" glass="" fibres,="" glass="" microspheres,="" barytes,="" dolomite,="" clay="" et="" al.="" rocktron="" advanced="" products="" offer="" a="" wealth="" of="" exciting="" new="" industrial="" applications,="" serving="" as="" functional="" fillers="" in="" rubbers="" and="" plastics,="" giving="" improved="" physical="" properties="" including="" sound="" absorption,="" electrical="" conductivity,="" emi="" (electro="" magnetic="" interference)="" rfi="" (radio="" frequency="" interference)="" shielding,="" improved="" wear="" resistance="" for="" components="" and="" coatings,="" intumescent="" coatings="" and="" micro-biocides.="" they="" can="" also="" be="" coated="" to="" change="" their="" surface="" chemistry="" for="" use="" in="" paints="" &="" coatings,="" flooring,="" plastics,="" elastomers,="" thermoplastics,="" thermosets,="" tyre="" manufacturing="" and="" electronics.="">

RockTron's fundamental advantage is that its products are naturally spherical. Beneficiation removes surface alkali salts to enhance product performance. Other attractive product attributes include no VOCs, a lower melt viscosity and lower density. The hardness of RockTron's glass microspheres; Mohs hardness scale = 5-6, ensures low oil absorption, thereby reducing the amount of expensive resin required. Equally, RockTron's spherical magnetite (available in a range of micron sizes) can be used as a highly loaded polymer to form a seal or shield for sensitive electronic equipment: e.g. aviation, medical and telecoms. RockTron products come in a dry powder form.

"RockTron's revolutionary recycling technology gives materials and coating manufacturers, compounders and end users what they have been looking for; namely a new range of 100% recycled, high performance eco-minerals, with an impressive commercial rationale for their widespread use."

Simon Smith, Chief Executive, RockTron Limited RockTron's timing could not be better, given the current recession. With "RockTron Inside", manufacturers can cut their production costs, even increase their margins and protect their bottom line, in spite of the recession. The scale of savings will depend on the polymer; whether flexible or rigid, thermoplastic or thermosetting. How? Money will be saved through lower energy usage or higher loadings than used currently or as a result of replacement of the very expensive minerals currently in use. This will be of particular interest to the Automotive industry, who are under increasing pressure from their environmental performance goals to cut vehicle weight (and therefore CO2 emissions) and increase the percentage of recycled material they use in car manufacturing (e.g. under bonnet, interior / exterior components). Other industries include aviation, cabling, piping, medical and domestic appliances.

RockTron has none of the usual mining, excavation, crushing, processing or energy costs associated with ordinary inorganic fillers / extenders. They have also resolved many of the issues traditionally associated with PFA recycling and the use of non-beneficiated material, especially variable quality and seasonal disruptions. Furthermore, there are no safety concerns regarding using RockTron's Advanced Products as fillers / extenders in polymers and rubbers.

Independent Research by Artis (Avon rubber), Queens University Belfast (polymers) and Bespoke Mould Solutions over the past 6 months has yielded promising results, with a substitution capability as high as 80%. In a silica passenger tyre compound, RockTron Advanced Products demonstrated increased tan at 0°C (predicts improves tyre wet grip) and reduced tan at 70°C (predicts reduced tyre rolling resistance).

Source: RockTron

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