1 August 2019
During the month of August, industry leading roads body, the Australian Asphalt Pavement Association held their 18th International Flexible Pavements Conference and Exhibition in Sydney.
The main theme of the event was Our Everlasting Roads – Enabling Future Mobility, focusing on how the changing demands of society and transport technology will play on long-term investment in road infrastructure and the industry’s technical ability for perpetual pavements.
Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) sponsored a workshop session at the conference which was facilitated by Joe Grobler from the Australian Roads Research Board and included presentations by TSA’s Liam O’Keefe, Puma Bitumen’s Erik Denneman, Tyrecycle’s Clinton Habner and Fulton Hogan’s Darryl Byrne.
The group of presenters collectively represented the ‘whole supply-chain’ of an Australian tyre-derived product in the roads sector.
All presenters outlined the challenges and opportunities for the whole supply chain. The recycling industry focused on the challenges facing remanufacturers of end-of-life materials and the benefits that ongoing support via procurement of recycled product can provide to the sector.
It was identified by the bitumen manufacturing sector that crumb rubber binders are already a more stable offering in the product range, rather than a new product for trial. Meaning the market is moving to accommodate production of crumb rubber (CR) in their operations for polymer modified binders.
Finally, the roads industry contractors spoke of the benefits being realised from CR binders in creating longer lasting pavements. It was highlighted that contractors are ready to provide the product; however, better infrastructure and more cost competitive feedstock material is required to service end users.
An interactive conversation then followed that provided some great insight into the state of the industry.
Feedback from more than 60 participants voted that performance, followed by initial costs, whole-of-life costs and sustainability drove their product selection. Additionally, around 80 per cent of participants also identified they currently use crumb rubber, but up to 70 per cent said there were not adequate specifications/guidelines in place.
Overall the session provided great insight into factors that influence the Australian market for CR binders. Feedback post the workshop indicates the discussion made a positive impact and will no doubt add further impetus to the headway TSA and supporting partners have made in the industry to date.