Yesterday evening a Brimfield, Ohio cryogenic grinding toll processing plant caught fire, several hours after the employees clocked out. According to the facility website, crumb rubber is ground up in from discarded tires, assisting in the nation's recycling efforts. In the cryogenic milling operation particles are micronized in a range from 595-105 microns.
The cryogenic process is more efficient than ambient temperature milling where heat generation is not an issue, which minimizes potential ignition sources for combustible dust. Additionally, non-friable inputs like rubber and elastomer's (SBR, EDPM, Viton) do not grind efficiently in an ambient temperature environment. Adding liquid nitrogen to the feedstock transforms scrap rubber into a brittle property that is easily milled at the reduced temperatures (cryogenic grinding).
News accounts stated that nearly one-hundred residents were ordered to evacuate while ten fire departments responded from surrounding towns. A manager from a adjacent commercial building, recollected that he witnessed five to seven fires at the plant over the last eight months. Hopefully fire officials will be able to find the root cause of the incident in addition to determining the fuel load that propagated the fire so rapidly. It seems after nearly a half a dozen fires earlier in the year that warning signals preempting the current event would of been sufficient in lessening the likelihood and reducing the severity of the Saturday evening plant fire in Ohio.
NAICS: 326299/All Other Rubber Product Manufacturing OSHA NEP D-2
Video Credit: hollieolesky