Tag Archives: automotive industry

A Tarp Strap for Every Application

Every application that requires a tarp strap has specific demands and requirements to fulfill. At Universal Polymer & Rubber, we offer three levels of tarp straps to correspond with your specifications: GOLDLINE ®, standard mid-range line, and retail line.

Each of our tarp strap levels varies in strength and characteristics for trucking, boating, recreational outdoor pursuits, and more. A note that all tarp straps are intended for use as tension devices for tarpaulins; they are not made to bear or support weight, or be used as cargo control.

Here is a brief guide to UP&R’s three levels of tarp straps to help you understand their capabilities:

GOLDLINE® 

GOLDLINE ® represents our top-of-the-line, premier tarp strap, particularly when it comes to strength and durability. Our GOLDLINE ® straps have been continually developing and improving since the early 1970s, and they are now a staple within the U.S. transportation industry.

UP&R’s proprietary rubber compound and manufacturing process that produce GOLDLINE® straps make for a high-strength, dependable tarp strap with excellent waterproofing capabilities. These inherent qualities make it ideal for the trucking industry, where reliability and unparalleled service are a must for heavy, long-term use.

Trucking

Standard Mid-Range Line

Transportation, marine and boating, and other applications with less stringent requirements tarp strap will find a great fit in UP&R’s mid-range line of straps.

The mid-range level of tarp straps is available in a variety of lower price points, and includes our trademarked SILVERLINE ELITE® to AMERIPRIDE® straps. They are ideally suited for moderate usage with the durability to hold tarps down without issue. UP&R mid-range straps are our more cost-effective solutions and offer great performance.

Boating/marine

Retail Line

Our retail line of tarp straps is ideal for recreational tarpaulin users. These straps are our slimmest straps and are better suited for applications that do not require heavy duty use, such as covering campfire pits or shielding boats from the elements at the dock or on open waters.

Our retail line also works well for recreational weekend expeditions or hobbies that call for a tarp, and are available at affordable price points.

Recreational/camping

The Strap for Your Application

For almost half a century, Universal Polymer & Rubber has helped customers find the right tarp strap for their application’s requirements. Whether it’s a heavy-duty tarp strap for constant use or an affordable option for less stringent demands, the UP&R team is committed to providing you with first-rate service, timeliness, and quality every single time.

To learn more about our tarp solutions and find a tarp strap that works best for your needs, contact us today.

Mixed Signals in US Manufacturing

Since the recession years of the late 2000s, the manufacturing industry in the US has been working to rebound.  In 2016, there are mixed signals and confusion over how the manufacturing industry is doing.  Articles and reports are coming out on a regular basis, talking about how this specific market is up, while another is down and even others that are staying flat.  Many of the stories seem to be written with a positive spin to show only positive numbers, looking for anyway to portray that manufacturing is as strong as it’s been in years.  At Universal Polymer we work with customers in a number of markets, and have seen firsthand the differences in the health of these markets.

Economic Uncertainty

A recent report from the Federal Reserve said that factory production dropped 0.4 percent in August, after an increase of 0.4 percent in July.  From a year ago factory output is also down 0.4 percent.  This after multiple reports showing strong gains in June and July this year that seemed to signal that the manufacturing industry was beginning to turn a corner.  Industrial output which includes areas like mines and utilities also dropped 0.4 percent.  U.S utility output fell 1.4 percent in August after 2 consecutive months of strong gains that reflected the seasonal use of air conditioning during the hot summer weather.  Mining production actually rose 1 percent, and is on a trend of increases after a long period of declines, but yet is still 9.3 percent lower than a year ago.

All of the numbers that come out in these reports seem to show that overall the industry is staying flat.  Headlines saying that manufacturing output stumbled or is slumping are using the most minimal changes in output to determine that.  Reporting every month does not give a truly accurate picture of the trends that are occurring in manufacturing if the difference is only 0.4 percent.  In a previous blog this year we explored how auto sales have been reported to be growing at the fastest pace since 2000 this year, while production numbers have been low and manufacturers have been facing scandals.  This is just another example of the mixed signals over the overall health of the auto industry, which may be considered strong or weak depending on the report you read that week.

At Universal Polymer we work with many different markets and industries and see the challenges that each is facing in today’s economy.  We work with our customers to find solutions to their rubber and plastic extrusions and rubber molding needs and are the only manufacturer of the world famous Gold Line Tarp Straps.  In an industry where the health and outlook seems to change every month, we are consistent in our desire to tackle new challenges and provide answers to our customer’s questions.

American Automobile Sales are Up in 2016 – What That Really Means

The automotive industry in America is huge, with more people traveling by car than any other mode of transport.  In 2016, automotive sales are growing at the fastest pace since 2000.  Most companies are beating their sales expectations and automakers posted a 6.9% sales increase in February, compared with a year earlier.   While these numbers are positive, they are not sharing the full story on the state of the American automotive industry.

While sales numbers are up, North American production is only up 4% on the year.  Production is being supplemented by imports coming in from Europe and Japan.  This hurts the idea that an increase in sales means an increase in the production of vehicles by American automotive companies.   Also contributing to the high sales numbers are the large number of SUVs that are being purchased as opposed to smaller sedans.  SUVs are hugely profitable for automotive companies compared to smaller sedans.  Sales numbers are also up in 2016 due to lower price of gas.  As gas prices keep dropping across the nation, automobiles become more affordable for the average American, but this could change if gas prices begin to rise again.

Though the numbers for automobile sales have been positive in 2016, there have also been a few news stories that have the potential to tarnish this good news.  Volkswagen is still dealing with the fallout of its diesel emissions scandal, and other diesel car companies are having their emissions numbers scrutinized as well.  Testing is becoming stricter as the European Commission works to make sure small diesel car models are not producing more pollution than allowed.  Also, Fiat Chrysler is facing a lawsuit from auto dealerships alleging that its U.S. unit was offering money to falsify sales.  These stories are contributing to the idea that those American automobile sales may not be as healthy as they look.

As a manufacturer of rubber molded parts, rubber extruded parts and plastic extruded parts, UP&R works with many different industries including the automotive industry.  Take a look at our website for all our products and services.

SEMA and AAPEX Automotive Industry Shows 2015

Industry shows are a great way to interact with potential clients and business partners.  In November, Universal Polymer & Rubber attended both the AAPEX and SEMA 2015 automotive industry shows in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Both of these shows were well attended by almost the entire automotive industry.

The AAPEX 2015 show at the Sands Expo featured over 2,200 automotive aftermarket manufacturers and suppliers, who set up booths and displays to showcase their products and services to over 39,000 targeted buyers.  The SEMA show at the Las Vegas Convention Center drew more than 60,000 domestic and international buyers who were there to see over 2,000 exhibitors.

People at a Trade Show Exhibition

The shows brought together a wide variety of companies from OEMs, to single car garages, to tire manufacturers, parts manufacturers and up fitters.  The scope of the shows was daunting, with multiple indoor halls as well as outside display areas and demo areas.  One of the largest areas was the new products showcase, where new and featured products were on display.  Even between the buildings there were areas set up for car displays, car testing, and engine testing areas.  All size companies were represented, with small companies setting up their booths right next to the largest companies in the automotive industry.

Both shows were very productive events, and allowed us to learn about the latest technology available, and the new trends that are growing in the automotive industry.  As sales and production numbers are going up in North America, it was great to be at events that show where the future of the automotive industry is heading.

In 2016, we will be attending more industry and trade shows.  First up in the beginning of March, we will be at The Precast Show 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee at Booth # 374.  At the end of the month we will be attending the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.  For the most up-to date information on shows we will be at in 2016 be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Returnable Packaging in the Auto Industry: Is it Practical?

If you work in the automotive industry, you may have heard about the possibility of returnable packaging—sending packing containers back to the supplier in order to be more sustainable and eco-friendly. It was a growing trend in the 1990’s, when more and more people in the industry were pushing for it. So where does returnable packaging stand now, and why isn’t there more of it?

While it seemed like a great idea at the time—who doesn’t want to do better things for the environment?—many soon realized that the cost of returning packaging simply didn’t make smart business sense. While it’s a fantastic idea if the supplier is located a short distance away, it’s not uncommon in today’s logistical environment for a supplier to be located hundreds of miles away. In the case of returnable packaging, someone has to bear the extreme cost associated with its return, and the cost was simply too much.

Personally, we have seen that returnable packaging is not attractive to most of our automotive clients. While we supply 20-25 tier 1 suppliers, only one of those suppliers practices this policy. For the rest, the financial burden is too much. And when it comes to the auto industry, costs are a huge driver, and the supply chain must do what’s most cost effective in order to remain competitive and keep a healthy bottom line.

Furthermore, many companies who once partook in the practice found that returning packaging proved to not always be as positively green as people had hoped. As an example, when Toyota first began implementing waste reduction programs, one of their measures included a returnable packaging system. However, shortly after its implementation, they found that while trying to be more sustainable, the opposite was happening. According to a Toyota executive, they soon realized “we were reducing a waste that was formerly recycled, and our recycling rate got worse. So our strategic indicator was telling us to not implement more returnable packaging programs.”

While we’re all mindful of sustainable, efficient business, it’s a competitive landscape, and, as in any industry, ideas that are not practical are not going to be able to become universally adopted.