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With VESTENAMER®, Evonik helps close the materials cycle for rubber—sustainably. This unique process additive allows scrap rubber to be efficiently processed into a tough material used to produce, for example, comfort mats for livestock.
Editorial office / Essen

Comfort mats simulate lying conditions in the cowshed, which are similar to those on pasture. The animal’s well-being results in higher productivity. ‘Under natural conditions a cow spends about 60 percent of its time reclining. In this position the blood flow to the mammary gland increases by up to 30 percent, allowing increased milk synthesis’, explains dr. Winfried Heimbeck, expert for ruminant nutrition at Evonik. ‘So the greater the comfort the cow can enjoy in the shed, and the more time it spends reclining, the more productive it will be. If you expand the reclining time of a cow by one hour, it can produce up to 1.5 kilograms more milk a day.”

For a cow mattress to offer sufficient comfort over a lifetime of many years it must be made from an enormously tough material that can withstand the considerable weight of the animal and the humidity in the cowshed. On the other hand, the cow mattress must not shift under the huge weight and must be easy to clean yet have a springy feel. Cow mattresses from recycled scrap rubber satisfy all these requirements. Evonik’s VESTENAMER® process additive ensures the right balance of properties in the recycled material.

Improving flowability

‘As a process additive VESTENAMER® improves the flowability of the rubber compound, as a result of which the material can be processed much more efficiently. The reactivity and polymer structure of VESTENAMER® are also important here: Both lead to a good network density between the rubber particles. This in turn positively impacts the mechanical properties,” says Dr. Peter Hannen, market development manager for VESTENAMER®. “In short, Evonik’s process additive improves both the cost effectiveness of processing and the quality of the rubber parts when rubber is recycled.’

The use of rubber granulate is becoming increasingly important in a variety of applications such as road construction, sports grounds and playgrounds, and new rubber products. The use of scrap tire granulate in new products also contributes significantly toward reducing the carbon footprint by up to one third as compared with products that do not use a recycled material. Every year, about 19.3 million metric tonnes of scrap tires are generated worldwide, more than 3.6 million metric tonnes of them in Europe alone.