The future of [ resources ] The key to resource recycling. Kubota surface melting furnace (KSMF).
Resource depletion. Waste increases. Waste disposal site shortages. Environmental pollution. Kubota’s technologies tackle these issues for a better future.
Resources are increasingly being consumed as the global economy grows. Most of these come from underground reserves, which are threatened to be depleted if we continue to rely on them. Therefore, we must urgently work towards becoming a recycling-based society that reuses resources. Kubota’s waste management solution aims for 100% waste recyclability by recovering valuable resources from waste. At the core of our solution is the surface melting furnace, which recycles mere waste into valuable resources. For instance, waste can be turned into reusable resources – such as metal resources, construction materials, and agricultural fertilizers – for sustainable lives and livelihoods.
Kubota’s waste management technology will create a recycling-based society for the future.
Surface melting furnace TECHNOLOGY #01 Kubota’s challenges towards a recycling-based society.
With Japan’s economic growth after WWII came increased amounts of waste. Back then, waste was burned, dumped, and piled up in open areas irresponsibly, which deteriorated public health. As an answer to this rising problem, Kubota entered the municipal waste incineration plant business in 1964. Japan's economy accelerated in the years that followed, and with it came pollution and environmental problems caused by growing mass production and mass consumption. With the need to create a recycling-based society through waste management and various types of recycling with low environmental impact, Kubota segmented the waste management process and developed technologies for crushing, sorting, incinerating, and melting.
Kubota, aiming to build a recycling-based society, promoted efficient waste management and resource recycling.
Surface melting furnace TECHNOLOGY #02 Turning incineration residues into resources. Kubota’s melting technology redefines the concept of waste disposal.
The keys to promoting resource recycling are the residues produced after incineration, such as incinerator ashes and fly ashes. These have been disposed of as landfills at final disposal sites; however, the ever-increasing amount of waste fueled by Japan’s rapidly growing economy resulted in the saturation of final disposal sites, which led to a nationwide problem. As a solution, Kubota’s melting technology – developed through proprietary municipal waste incineration residue treatment and sewage sludge treatment – was applied, creating a system that mixes and melts not only incinerator ashes and fly ashes, but landfill materials as well. It melts down the piles of miscellaneous waste, such as unincinerated waste, ceramics, waste plastics, and gravel, from the final disposal sites at high temperatures. In addition, it thermally decomposes the dioxins that pollute the global environment, and separates and recovers low boiling point heavy metals such as lead, zinc, and cadmium. The remaining slag is also detoxified and turned into construction material.
Kubota’s melting technology turned miscellaneous waste into reusable resources.
Surface melting furnace TECHNOLOGY #03 Exploring new domains in total resource recovery by homogenizing various types of waste.
Located in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea in Kagawa Prefecture is Teshima Island with a coastline of 20 kilometers. The island was once covered with illegally dumped industrial waste, causing a major social problem. Because the waste was illegally dumped, it was unknown what kinds of waste could be processed. Despite having no previous experience in this field, Kubota was the first company in the waste management industry to disclose melting furnace operation data in real-time, 24 hours a day. To meet the demand for more stable operation of the melting furnace, the furnace’s high durability and control technology achieved 340 days of stable operation per year. The key to this success is the homogenization of waste. Homogenizing waste is difficult when you don’t know the outcome, so constant trial and error was required to achieve this. Over a period of 14 years, Kubota successfully recovered all the waste buried on the island and converted them into resources. A total of 910,000 tons of waste was recovered. They include a wide range of valuable materials, such as about 470,000 tons of molten slag containing copper worth 650 million yen in market value.
Kubota has successfully proven the long-term stability and reliability of our surface melting furnace through the Teshima project.
Surface melting furnace TECHNOLOGY #04 Making all types of recycling possible. Aiming for technology that doesn’t waste precious resources.
In addition to environmental problems, the depletion of natural resources is threatening the fate of the Earth. Therefore, there is an urgent need to build a recycling-based society. Kubota’s waste management technology not only separates and recovers valuable metals in the surface melting furnace after crushing, sorting and incineration, but also recycles materials, turning them into construction materials such as concrete aggregate and agricultural fertilizer.
Furthermore, we have successfully proven that waste plastic – an ever-increasing global problem – can be chemically recycled and used as an auxiliary fuel in the melting furnace to serve as a reductant for the recovery of heavy metals. Leveraging waste plastic in this way reduces the use of fossil fuels for melting and processing, thereby contributing to environmentally responsible thermal recycling with low CO2 emissions. Kubota will further focus on developing operating systems and AI-based monitoring systems to promote smooth, stable, and efficient resource recycling.
Kubota will continue to promote the recycling of limited and precious resources for the future.
Aiming for a recycling-based society that’s friendlier to the Earth. Kubota’s deep recycling technologies open up the future of resources.