Continental uses recovered carbon black in solid tyres

Off-road tyre manufacturer Continental has added recovered carbon black (rCB) to its newly-produced Super Elastic solid tyres at its plant in Korbach, Germany.
Ancillary Equipment / September 15, 2023
By Liam McLoughlin
Continental says the use of recovered carbon black from end-of-life-tyres helps enable more circular business practices in its tyre production
Continental says the use of recovered carbon black from end-of-life-tyres helps enable more circular business practices in its tyre production

The company says this reduces the use of fossil raw materials and CO2 emissions, and that the move steps up its efforts in the circular economy.

Solid tyres such as Continental’s SC20+ already contain around 60% renewable and recycled materials thanks to their high natural rubber content. By 2050 at the latest, Continental says it aims to use 100% sustainable materials in its tyre products.

The recovered carbon black is supplied by Pyrum Innovations, one of Continental’s partner companies. Pyrum breaks down end-of-life-tyres into their individual components in industrial furnaces using a special pyrolysis process. This allows valuable raw materials contained in end-of-life tyres to be extracted and recycled. Solid tyres have a high load capacity and are extremely stable, puncture-proof, maintenance-free and highly economical. They are mainly used in material handling by forklift trucks, airport vehicles, heavy transport vehicles, sideloaders, platform trucks and other industrial vehicles.

“Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the specialty tyre segment,” says Matthias-Stephan Müller, product manager for material handling tyres in Continental’s specialty tyres business area. "Our Super Elastic solid tyres combine low rolling resistance, long service life and a comparatively high proportion of sustainable materials."

The rubber compound is crucial for high energy efficiency and therefore low rolling resistance, as valuable natural resources can be saved and the energy consumption of special vehicles reduced.

Industrial carbon black is an important resource used as a filler in tyre production and in the manufacture of other industrial rubber products. The targeted use of carbon black in rubber compounds increases the stability, strength and durability of tyres.

“In Pyrum, we have found a partner that has developed a particularly efficient pyrolysis process. Together, we want to further develop the process for the pyrolysis of end-of-life tires,” explains Matthias Haufe, head of material development and industrialisation at Continental Tires. In the future, the recovered carbon black will also be used in other Continental compounds. Jointly with Pyrum, the tyre manufacturer is currently working on further optimising and expanding the recycling of end-of-life tyres using pyrolysis.

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