VICKSBURG — Michael Rouse, owner and CEO of Rouse Rubber Industries, likens what his company does to making cookies. After the cookies are cut out from cookie dough, there’s a lot of dough left over that can be thrown back in the mix, rolled out and used to make more cookies.
Rouse Rubber Industries does something similar for manufacturers of rubber products. The company takes materials leftover from manufacturing and reprocesses them so they can be used to make more product instead of becoming a disposal problem. Some customers have 10% to 40% of their material left over after manufacturing.
Rouse Rubber Industries Inc. (www.rouserubber.com) is one of the countries largest producers of recycled elastomeric materials. The company doesn’t manufacture products itself, but instead processes materials for re-use.
“Our core business is custom grinding of industrial rubber scrap whereby Rouse works with tire and rubber manufacturers to recycle their own in-plant scrap,” Rouse said. “When a company recycles their own scrap, they already know what’s in the compound and their comfort level with recycling is much greater.”
INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP ROLE RECOGNIZED
Rouse was recently recognized by the International Tire and Rubber Association (ITRA) with its 2000 Industry Leadership Award.
In 1988, Rouse purchased the specialty grind, fine grind, reclaiming and laboratory divisions from U.S. Rubber Reclaiming and established Rouse Rubber Industries as a leading producer of high-quality ground rubber products.
RUBBER PRODUCTS IN WIDE RANGE OF APPLICATIONS
There are many uses for materials processed at Rouse Rubber Industries including making gaskets used in cell phones and many different types of automotive products.
“We do is a lot of specialty work for the tire and automotive industry,” Rouse said. “The whole secret is getting it back into a form so it can be used like virgin material.”
Recycling is becoming more and more important to today’s manufacturers. Rouse said that is being driven a lot by the European community where industries are under pressure to reuse materials.
Rouse Rubber Industries employs about 100 people, including Ph.D. scientists. Rouse estimates his workforce probably has 2,000 years of experience in rubber recycling. The company recently purchased a polymer laboratory from the University of Detroit that will enhance its already existing polymer lab.
“It will complement our operation and allow more service to customers and more quality control and quality assurance,” Rouse said. “Another reason we got all that equipment was that we have developed a new thermoplastic rubber, a recycled plastic and rubber material that performs like high-quality rubber plastic. It looks like it will get a great deal of attention in the automotive industry.”
In addition to recycling ground rubber from scrap tires and other primary and secondary elastomeric materials, Rouse Rubber custom grinds cured “virgin waste” polymers into an UltraFine power form for reincorporation back into parent and “virgin” compounds. UltraFine can be used in a wide variety of applications ranging from new tire manufacturing, sealants, compression or injected molded goods, belts, hose compounds to modifying asphalt cements for improved road life. They are flowable, high surface area powders with uniform chemistry and gradations designed to meet the compounders and modifiers needs.
For asphalt, Rouse Rubber has developed its Builder Series. The Builder Series takes advantage of the inherent properties of the UltraFinetire powders.
ROUSE PRODUCTS HITTING THE ROAD
Rouse has been involved in test projects of roads in Mississippi in which the University of Southern Mississippi compared virgin compounds to recycle roads. The road made with recycled tire rubber was judged superior.
The company is currently in an expansion mode, and is working with Jimmy Heidel, executive director, Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation, to enlarge the plant’s operations and increase production capacity.
“Rouse is a unique company,” Heidel said.
Rouse believes there is a lot of potential for future growth in his industry.
“Rouse Rubber looks to innovating research, databases, and strong client relationships as its connection for future development,” Rouse said.
Contact MBJ staff writer Becky Gillette at firstname.lastname@example.org or (228) 872-3457.