February 20, 2024

How to Make Rubber Granules With a Rubber Granulator

By
Jane Cooper

Why toss out perfectly good rubber into landfills and junkyards when it can get a second life in playgrounds, flooring, and roadways.

That second chance starts by taking rubber bales and turning them into rubber granules that can combine with virgin rubber, asphalt, or resins to make new useful materials. As more uses are found for those materials, the increased demand for properly processed granules make it worth considering adding a rubber granulator to any business along the waste stream.

Let’s ‌look at the process of making rubber granules and how a rubber granulator machine fits into the mix.

Get Your Material

Rubber granules find their way into a lot of places these days, but they start their life in a much bulkier form. Virgin rubber usually shows up as bales. You can work with the rubber you have on hand or source other forms depending on what your customers require.

EPDM rubber is one of the more common forms of synthetic rubber used in home applications and is mixed with other rubber granules on site.

Part of its value — and what can allow you to bring up your rubber granules price — is that it comes in a lot of fade-proof colors. This makes it more appealing for use in swimming pools or garden mulch than black. Colors can be bright orange and yellow or subtle gray and beige.

While most recycled rubber comes from car tires, which produce black granules at a lower cost than the synthetic version, rubber window seals and linings can find their way into a granulator since they start life as synthetic rubber. All produce a durable product that can be stronger than natural rubber.

Used rubber can be covered in filth, so removing dust and other contaminants along the way is important for getting a high-quality finished granulate.

Grind It Down

Turning your rubber bales to rubber granules involves pulverizing and cutting the source rubber down, which is where the granulator comes into play. These machines take the bulk material and output different sizes and consistencies for particular uses. Mulch for gardens works well as bigger strips, while flooring material needs finer granules.

After the rubber material is fed into the unit via conveyor or manually, the machine motor turns the rotation knives, which cut the rubber until it’s small enough to fall through the screen net. The machine keeps recirculating the material until it is cut and cleaned to your specs.

Our VULCANATOR® has the unique ability to reduce whole 75 lb. bales of synthetic or natural rubber into small particles. These low friction machine designs also keep the heat levels down and avoid having to add a cooling step to the process.

Once the granules are small enough, they fall through the screen and collect in an outlet hopper. The final product has a rough texture and consistent cut look. In addition to rubber, the VULCANATOR® can handle vinyl and plastic, new and recycled parts and more.

Granule quality is graded by contamination and size consistency, which ‌determines pricing. High-quality granules have the least amount of fiber and metal contamination and the greatest consistency in size.

Sizing the Granules

Granulators use screen nets to size the granules, and these are changed out depending on what you need for each batch. Size is often listed in millimeters, the most common being 1mm-6mm.

In the US, size requirements are usually listed by mesh net size, where the higher the number, the finer the granules. Finer size crumb falls in the 40 to 200 mesh range. The number refers to the number of holes per inch in the screen net.

Cutting your rubber down to finer sizes creates a premium product used where a more solid look is needed. Larger granules provide good safety protection in playgrounds, but might be less aesthetically pleasing around a pool as the surface is obviously made of rubber chunks.

Looking to Make Rubber Granules?

Rubber bales can take up a lot of space in landfills and junkyards, providing little value after their initial purpose. Equipment to turn them into rubber granules opened up additional revenue streams while reducing the amount of waste piling up. The market for rubber granules for sale continues to grow as new uses are found for them in everything from your kitchen floor to stadium turf.

Interested in turning your rubber or heavy plastics into money and joining the ranks of rubber granule suppliers? Contact us to discuss our VULCANATOR® rubber granulator now.

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