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  • Writer's pictureRubber Conversion

HOW CONTINENTAL TYRES IS REDUCING MATERIAL WASTE WITH CONTIRE-TEX TECHNOLOGY

The ContiRe-Tex technology, developed by Continental Tyres, represents a major step forward in the tyre industry, allowing it to reduce material waste and limit the environmental impact of production.

According to the company, around 1.5 billion tyres are disposed of each year worldwide, generating a huge amount of waste.



The goal is to arrive at tyres made from 100 per cent recycled or sustainable materials. This is why tyre research involves all the materials of which tyres are made, from rubber to metal to textiles.

The ContiRe.Tex technology, developed by Continental Tyres, represents an important step towards sustainability, making it possible to reduce the waste of materials and limit the environmental impact of the more than 1.5 billion tyres that are disposed of worldwide every year.


Recycling PET bottles to make new tyres

Continental Tyres has developed, and is currently experimenting with, ContiRe.Tex technology, which uses high-quality polyester yarn produced from recovered PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. The process starts with the manual separation of caps and bottles, followed by mechanical cleaning and shredding to transform the plastic into granulate. From here, the yarns used as reinforcing material in the tyres of new tyres are produced, reducing the amount of virgin material required for their production. For each tyre, 9 to 15 PET bottles are thus recycled, depending on the size of the tyre.


Respect for the environment and performance

The use of fabrics from old tyres reduces the amount of virgin material by 60%. In addition, this technology reduces CO2 emissions by 26%, compared to traditional production. A step towards making tyre production, use and recycling more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Tests developed by Continental found that tyres with recycled polyester are as durable as conventionally manufactured tyres. The embedded textile fibres are designed to absorb and distribute internal pressure and remain dimensionally stable even under heavy loads and at high temperatures. The performance therefore remains similar to that of conventional tyres.


Sustainability tested in racing

Continental CrossContact Extreme racing tyres, made with ContiRe.Tex technology, were successfully tested in extreme conditions on race cars during the second season of Extreme E Racing. The season started in February 2022 and will continue throughout the year.

The support vehicles for the Tour de France 2023 will also, for the first time, be equipped with tyres with ContiRe.Tex technology.

ContiRe.Tex tyres bear a special logo printed on the sidewall that says: 'Contains recycled material'.


Collaboration with Kordsa

The ContiRe-Tex technology was developed in cooperation with the recycling company Kordsa, which specialises in the production of textiles for the tyre industry. According to Kordsa, the ContiRe.Tex technology makes it possible to obtain a high-quality material that can be used as an alternative to the traditionally used synthetic fibre.

The ContiRe.Tex technology was first presented in 2017 at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, where it was a great success. Currently, Continental Tyres is working to extend the use of ContiRe.Tex technology to all its tyres in order to reduce the environmental impact of production and promote sustainability in the transport sector.


The growing role of recycled materials: devulcanised rubber

In addition to textile fibres, experiments are also advancing to validate the use of recycled devulcanised rubber in new tyre compounds. Rubber Conversion is collaborating with Bridgestone, within the Life Green Vulcan programme promoted by the European Union, to test the behaviour and durability of tyres with a high percentage (up to 20%) of regenerated compound.

In fact, the mechano-chemical devulcanisation methodology developed by Rubber Conversion makes it possible to maintain the mechanical and chemical properties of the original compounds, allowing the use of higher percentages of recycled rubber without losing performance.



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