Lehigh Technologies Inc., the Georgia, USA-based producer of micronised rubber powders (MRP) from end-of-life tyres and post-industrial rubber, has completed its new MRP production facility in Murillo el Fruto, Spain.
The plant, located in a village in the province of Navarra, has an annual production capacity of 10,000 metric tons of MRPs, according to Lehigh.
The first Lehigh production facility outside of the U.S., the Murillo el Fruto plant was commissioned in late June, and it incorporates Lehigh's proprietary cryogenic turbo mill technology to manufacture MRPs.
Jex Engineering Co. Ltd., a Grimsby, England-based engineering firm, executed construction of the Murillo el Fruto plant with support from the Dennis Group and Air Products and Chemicals Inc..
The Lehigh production line is located next to the operations of Indugarbi NFU, a leading Spanish tyre recycler operated by Lehigh's Spanish partner, Barcelona-based HERA Holding.
"Before the completion of the Navarra plant, HERA sold us granulate from end-of-life tyres sourced in Spain, and shipped it to the U.S.," said CEO of LeHigh, Alan Barton said. "We made the MRPs in Tucker and shipped them back to Spain, to meet the European Union's content regulations."
Lehigh became a wholly owned subsidiary of Michelin in October 2017 and now is part of the tyre manufacturer’s High Technology Materials Business Unit. Lehigh, which has supplied MRPs to Michelin for the past 10 years, is an integral part of Michelin’s Sustainable Mobility Plan, in which it plans to have 80per cent recycled content in its tyres and recycle 100 per cent of its tyres by 2048.
While nothing definitive yet, Lehigh plans at some point to have production facilities in other parts of the world. Asia and South America are next on the company's list, he said.
"But we were focused on Europe, because we had a significant amount of customers we had to supply," he said.