HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – Kumho Tire’s recent scramble to find thousands of recalled tires that were resold to used tire dealers, instead of being scrapped, underscores the need for a total destruction system for unsafe tires, says the inventor of CompacTire.
Last week, the Korean tire company and Liberty Tire Recycling, one of the nation’s largest scrap tire processors, were working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to locate nearly 8,000 recalled tires sold to wholesalers in Texas, New York, North Carolina and Puerto Rico. Kumho had originally recalled some SOLUS KH25 passenger car tires in 2012 due to sidewall cracking that could lead to a loss of air.
Most of the tires were in inventory but nearly 12,000 were sent to Liberty with three holes drilled in the tread for disposal. Instead, Liberty returned 7,875 recalled tires to the marketplace. In late April, Kumho launched a second recall to capture the resold tires.
Liberty, based in Pittsburgh, PA, said in news reports that its actions were appropriate. Liberty said Kumho never informed it that the tires had been recalled until recently and had not properly incapacitated them.
Fred Devlin , president of PHD LLC, located in Hillsborough, NJ and the inventor of CompacTire, says that the inadvertent release of defective tires back into consumers’ hands could have been avoided and the tire manufacturer could have saved money on labor and transportation costs had it submitted the tires to total destruction at its own warehouses.
Called the CompacTire system, the machine significantly flattens a tire and holds it in position with common steel nails acting as staples. Devlin invented this technology in 2004 after observing tire service staff at a local retailer spending more than an hour loading discarded tires on a truck bound for disposal. Devlin, who holds patents in 33 countries that generate 2 billion waste tires each year, licenses the technology to tire disposal companies in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, France and Australia.
“CompacTire permanently destroys the tire, reduces its size by more than 50 percent and cuts labor and freight expenses in half,” Devlin says. “It allows a manufacturer, recycler, or tire dealer to pack and transport discarded tires more efficiently putting this commodity into a form that allows the waste industry to collect it using its current assets.”
Without total tire destruction, manufacturers are liable when a tire that has reached the end of its useful life is recycled back onto vehicles via used tire dealers. In 2007, the RMA issued a Tire Information Service Bulletin listing many negative factors affecting the condition of used tires, and advising caution to consumers considering them for purchase.