Tag Archives: Manufacturing

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.

WEFTEC 2018: The 91st Annual Technical Exhibition & Conference

What is WEFTEC?

WEFTEC, The Water Environment Federation (WEF), brings together water quality control experts from around the world to provide the best water quality education and training in the field today. It stands apart from the rest, as the largest conference of its class in North America.

Taking place at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, the exhibition is recognized as the greatest annual water quality exposition in the world. Their showcase delivers unique access to the most cutting-edge technologies on the market and creates networking opportunities for domestic and international business relations. You never know who you will have the chance to meet at the forum, as a large number of experts from many fields tend to appear.

A Leading Source in Water Quality:

WEFTEC lends insight as a leading source of water quality, as the following contemporary water and wastewater issues and solutions will be addressed:

  • Collection Systems
  • Energy Conservation and Management
  • Membrane Technologies
  • Plant Operation and Treatment
  • Regulations
  • Research
  • Residuals & Biosolids
  • Stormwater
  • Utility Management
  • Water Reuse/Recycling
  • Water Quality & Watershed Management

This Year’s Conference Dates:

  • Conference: September 29 – October 3, 2018
  • Exhibition: October 1 – 3, 2018
  • Hours: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm, daily

Featured at the Conference: What UP&R Does/Who We Serve

  • Chemicals/Chemical Handling Equipment -> Polymers
  • Coatings, Sealants, and Corrosion -> Gaskets, Grouts, Sealants
  • Pipe/Collection Systems -> Manholes, Pipes – Plastic PVC/CPVC
  • Process Equipment/Treatment Systems –> Chemical/Polymer Feed Equipment, Industrial Doors
  • Services -> Condition Assessment, Manhole Rehabilitation, Pipelines
  • Tanks -> Doors/Hatches, Covers/Domes, Plastics

Trade Show Takeaways We Apply to Our Business

As a producer of polymer solutions towards concrete pipe gaskets, manhole gaskets, pipe specifications, and sealing solutions, our enthusiastic and bright staff attends WEFTEC to learn about the latest industry trends and developments to apply to our current and future in-house manufacturing. Our industry focuses include construction, drainage piping, sewer piping, concrete piping, and marine.

Each year, we look forward to networking prospects with water quality control experts, as our aim is to solve problems and create solutions for the sealing of gaskets, pipes, and more. Our ultimate effort is to make your joint systems run smoothly, with the highest level of quality and efficiency. From customer’s joint details to extrusion die development, splice mold manufacturing, and finally finished spliced gaskets, all aspects of the process are contained within UP&R to ensure proper process and strict quality control. Our flexibility also extends to other water and sewer piping markets.

As a polymer business in operation since 1971, we continue to reinvent ourselves in an endlessly changing market. Remaining true to our roots, we continue to build upon our ever-growing foundation. Through our diversity and versatility, we reliably service customer needs across a wide variety of polymer compounds, designs, and specifications, all at competitive pricing.

Although we produce domestically, we maintain international partnerships. This flexibility enables us to learn from a variety of markets and to apply best practices from market to market. All of our UP&R concrete pipes and manhole gaskets meet ASTM C-443 and ASTM C-361 standards depending on your project specification.

UP&R is also a proud member of the American Concrete Pipe Association (ACPA), as well as the National Precast Association (NPCA). Today, we remain one of the largest pipe gasket suppliers in the U.S.

Contact Our Friendly Staff at UP&R!

Find more information on the water industries that we serve by reading our blog, and visiting both our Twitter and LinkedIn pages!

Interested in discussing our water quality control capabilities? We’re happy to do so when you contact us today. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Universal Polymer & Rubber: Examining our Acquisition Strategy

Who Did We Recently Acquire?

UP&R is proud to announce that we have just completed our fifth overall acquisition, and third in the last four years. Our continuous acquisition strategy has cemented our position as one of the largest non-mixing polymer fabricators in the United States. At UPR, we are always actively looking for additional polymer parts manufacturers that fit our perpetual approach.

Who did we acquire this time? Gasko Fabricated Products of Medina, OH! Gasko is a high-volume, die-cutting converter of polymer and hybrid materials for gaskets, seals, and diaphragms. Such modules are used for power take-off and transmission, and engine management/fuel delivery system applications in the automotive, marine, and outdoor power equipment markets.

Over time, the Medina facility will transition to our Tallmadge, OH facility, attaining synergies, economies, and shared die-cut expertise.

John Zielinski, our Executive Vice President, commented, “Customers and prospects have been asking for a wider variety in our converting, and through this acquisition, we will now be able to provide for the market’s need.”

What Sets Us Apart from the Competition

 With about two handfuls of competitors within a 50-mile radius, we unremittingly set our self apart from the many other polymer companies in Northeast Ohio. Acquisition numbers from our wide-range of capabilities allow us to achieve a high-level stature. Our competitors include other rubber molders who tackle tarp straps, but similar manufacturers have limited capabilities that lead to our success as a business. At UPR, we have four different types of tarp straps including our own brands, and multiple layers to each brand.

Through our assortment of brands comes a fluctuation in price point too. Businesses, both small and large, will be able to find an answer that fits their needs.

Additional competitors include extrusion and molding, but the competition only supports one focal point – either, or – not both. Here, at Universal Polymer, we have the support to focus on rubber molding, rubber extrusions, plastic extrusions, tarp straps and gaskets, because of the diversity of our qualified, in-house, team experts. We are a one-stop-shop for all of your polymer solutions for the transportation and cargo control market, construction and pipe manufacturers market, automotive OE supply chain as a Tier II and Tier III, and the general industrial market that comprises several well-known global manufacturers.

Our one-stop-shop doesn’t only serve the end product of a tarp strap, a pipe gasket, window gasket, tire or more. When we say everything is done in-house, we mean it. From die-cutting to fabrication, both your polymers and rubbers start and end with us. UPR beats out the multiple stops that you would have to take to buy extrusions from one manufacturer and your required molded parts from another.

As a robust and elite manufacturer, there’s no worry, no wasted downtime, no hassle. All of our different parts are preplanned, engineered, designed, and already taken care of with you in mind. Every piece you need already fits perfectly together. With UP&R, you get all of the aspects of a small business manufacturer with the quality of a big manufacturer, meaning all of your bases–quality AND quantity, are covered “under one roof.”

With the Gasko acquisition, we continue to supply and have increased supplies for the automotive, marine, and outdoor power equipment industries, plus further industrial markets too.

Immediate customer-facing benefits include:

  • Both locations, Medina and Tallmadge, have historically specialized in fast turn-around, high-mix, high volume production, making them highly complementary. Plans include the move of Medina’s manufacturing into our Tallmadge location, an IATF-16949 and ISO-9001 certified production facility.
  • A Stronger Product Line for Customers – The Gasko product line, when added to our already broad product line, will enhance the total basket of goods that UP&R offers to our current customer base, and further, to market.
  • Enhanced Capabilities – While UP&R and Gasko have shared similar historical focus’, each excels in specific, but complementary areas. We look to offer Gasko customers a more full range of offerings – molded and extruded rubber parts, and die-cut parts, from IATF16949 certified facilities – that will provide vendor consolidation opportunities in a lean manufacturing world.

Our Ideology at UP&R

Because we put continuous improvement into our day-to-day, we get better each day. Started in 1970, we have continuously operated since inception. In 2018, our staff is proud to say that we are wiser today then we were just yesterday. And with additional resources now onboard, we’ll be able to continue forward with our successful business model.

Today, UPR stands ready to help your company compete and grow. At UP&R, we are committed to providing you first-rate service, timely service, and quality – every single time!

How We’ve Grown Since the Beginning

 Universal Polymer & Rubber started out as a tarp strap and pipe gasket manufacturer. We have remained true to our roots by building upon that initial foundation. Starting off as a smaller size business, we leveraged our expertise in pipe gasket development and manufacturing, to gain business in other interwoven product applications including window gaskets, tote gaskets, and tires. Currently, we have branched out into other markets, and through our market diversity and versatility, we have been able to learn from all markets to apply best practices from each market application to the next.

To this day, we remain one of the largest suppliers of pipe gaskets in North America.

Look for more information on the many industries that we cover by following our blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. We update them almost daily!

For any questions on our wide array of gaskets, moldings, extrusions, or company in general, simply contact us today. We look forward to connecting with you soon!

What’s Holding US Manufacturing Back?

In the United States, the manufacturing industry is very important as it creates jobs for millions of people, as well as provides the products and goods the country needs.  Our previous blogs have looked at how the economy has fared since President Trump took office and the importance of the American Manufacturing industry and Manufacturing Day.  While there have been positive signs that the manufacturing industry is growing, it is still not at the peak levels of the past.

Manufacturing

3 Obstacles Holding US Manufacturing Back

  • Securing Talent: The majority of American Manufacturing is based in mid-western states, and in areas that are more rural than city.   Many manufacturing companies in these areas have jobs available for qualified candidates but have trouble convincing people to relocate to these areas.  By being based far away from high population cities, long commutes could keep candidates from accepting offers.  To grow a business, quality employees are needed, and this can be difficult for Midwestern manufacturing companies.
  • Lack of Modernization: While technology has advanced significantly over the last decade, not all manufacturing companies have taken advantage of this.  Many are still running their operations on old computer systems and software, and are still doing business by fax.  Reasons for this range from the potentially high cost of updating these systems, to not wanting to change a system that has been in place for years due to a high level of comfort.   By not updating this technology companies are missing out on opportunities to be more efficient which could lead to additional profit and revenue.  It also could prevent talented employees from joining the team who would not want to work with outdated systems.
  • The “Old School Culture”: Many Midwestern manufacturing companies are family owned and operated, and are made up of employees who have been with the company for decades.  While their loyalty and experience is necessary and important, many times this can create a culture that is resistant to change, and unwelcoming to new employees and ideas.  By not staying up with the latest industry innovations, and welcoming new viewpoints and ideas from new employees, it will be hard for these companies to be competitive and successful long term.

By embracing new ideas and technology, manufacturing companies across the United States will be able to improve their efficiency and production and set themselves up for long-term success.  At Universal Polymer & Rubber we are proud to be a Midwestern manufacturing company and are always looking for the best way we can serve our customers.  For more information on our products and capabilities, please contact us.

How Is the Economy Doing Since President Trump Took Office?

Historically when there is a change in presidential administrations, there is a sense of hesitancy in the business and manufacturing world as people wait to see what changes will be made.  This year with the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency, that hesitancy does not seem to exist.  A key part of President Trump’s campaign platform, and his first months in office has been the goal of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States and increasing the amount of American made products and goods.  This has led to a positive feeling in the manufacturing industry as companies look to take advantage of this new presidential direction.

Economy and Manufacturing in USA

Job Creation and the Economy:

One of the best ways to track how the economy is doing is with job creation numbers.  In February, reports from ADP and Moody’s Analytics reported that jobs were added at an impressive pace, much more than was predicted. Employment in the private sector increased by 298,000 in February, and goods producers added another 106,000 jobs on top of that.  Construction and the manufacturing industries also added 66,000 and 32,000 jobs respectively as well.  These are enormous numbers and show that businesses believe the economy is going to continue to grow under President Trump.

Manufacturing Growth:

Manufacturing growth has also been up significantly since President Trump has been in office.  According to the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) monthly Manufacturing Report on Business, the February PMI came in at 57.7.  The PMI is the index used by ISM to measure growth, and this February reading is the highest monthly PMI reading since August 2014.  Many manufacturing sectors contributed to the growth including transportation equipment, computer & electronic products, fabricated metal products, and wood products among many others.  New orders, which are a huge factor when calculating the health of the manufacturing industry was up 4.7% to 65.1, matching the previous record high that was last seen in December 2013.  Overall almost every reading was up in the latest report, showing that the platform of the new administration is enhancing the economy and manufacturing industry.

At Universal Polymer & Rubber we are proud to be an American manufacturing company.  Our GOLDLINE, SILVERLINE, and AMERIPRIDE tarp straps are American made and used throughout the trucking industry.  This positive trend for the economy and manufacturing industry has been great to see after years of stagnation, and we look forward to seeing it continue.  For more information on products and services, please contact us.

UP&R is ISO/TS 16949 Certified

There are many reasons a company would want to be ISO/TS 16949 certified. ISO is the acronym for the International Standards Organization, which is a non-governmental, independent organization. The ISO publishes standards which lets consumers know they are getting the best products, services, and systems. The ISO also facilitates international trade, with consumers in all countries understanding they will get the best in quality and efficiently produced products, all while being made within specific safety standards. ISO certification is completely voluntary but has gained widely in popularity.

ISO certification

To date, the ISO has published over 21,000 standards in a variety of industries: from food safety to technology to agriculture and everything in between. ISO/TS 16949 is a technical specification which was developed to help aid with quality management systems. It allows for continuing improvement, while addressing defect prevention with the reduction of waste along the automotive industry supply chain. It is based on the ISO 9001 standard, and is a valuable certification to obtain if a company is looking to work with automobile manufacturers.

ISO/TS 16949 was drafted by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) along with a technical committee made up of ISO members. This technical specification was designed to bring about regulations that are country specific when dealing with quality management systems. The ISO/TS 16949 certification is valid for three years.

As a custom manufacturer of rubber extrusions, plastic extrusions, and rubber moldings, Universal Polymer and Rubber understands the importance of being ISO/TS 16949 certified. Not only does being certified streamline the manufacturing process, but it ensures any risks or problems are addressed during the process. A benefit of this is that customers are able to have a higher rate of satisfaction by knowing they are getting a quality produced piece that was manufactured using the best methods of safety and efficiency. By using more efficient processes, which translates into a lower cost for production, which in the end saves our customer’s money. For more information on the services we can offer you contact us.

The American Manufacturing Industry and Manufacturing Day

The manufacturing industry is very important to the American economy.  It is a provider of jobs and goods that the country needs.  In recent years there has been a push to promote the importance of manufacturing and make sure that the youth of America know that it is a viable career option.  This first led to the creation of Manufacturing Day, which is held on the first Friday of October, which has then grown to celebrating the manufacturing industry all throughout the month of October!

Made in AMERICA

The goal of Manufacturing Day is to celebrate the modern manufacturing industry, and inspire the next generation of manufacturers.  Throughout the country events are held at manufacturing facilities where student groups and the public can come in and tour the facility.  On these tours they will get to see first-hand the manufacturing process in action, and learn more about what it takes to make a career in the manufacturing industry.  With there being a high demand for skilled workers in the manufacturing industry, these events help to show students the future jobs that are available to them.  With the population getting older, and more people retiring, it is important that these manufacturing jobs are filled with qualified candidates.  Manufacturing Day is one way to bring exposure to the availability of these jobs.

At Universal Polymer we are strong supporters of the manufacturing industry in the United States.  Based out of Middlefield, Ohio we manufacture rubber molded parts, rubber extruded parts, and plastic extruded parts.  Our products such as the GOLDLINE and SILVERLINE tarp straps are American made and used throughout the trucking industry.   Since our beginning in 1970, we have been committed to providing first-rate service, timely service, and quality every time.  For more information about our products and services, please contact us.

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.

National Concrete Pipe Week

National Concrete Pipe Week is observed this year from August 14-20 to celebrate the concrete pipe and precast products industry. An initiative of American Concrete Pipe Association, the sole purpose of this week is to make people aware of how concrete pipes, precast units and the ancillary industries related to them positively impact the quality of life of US citizens.  During this week long celebration, the contributions of workers, manufacturing plants, and other industries that support concrete pipe producers will be acknowledged.

Concrete pipe

To understand why this week occurs it is important to list out some ways in which concrete pipes are unique and useful.
  • Concrete pipes are intrinsically strong. They derive their strength and their robustness from the concrete mix and the production process. They do not rely much on soil traction and thus are used to reinforce structures even in areas where the top soil is loose.
  • Concrete pipes are capable of handling large volumes of fluids and all types of liquid waste and sewage. Without the arteries of concrete pipes, suitably bolstered with steel, crisscrossing the country the drainage in many of the nation’s most congested areas would be compromised and could result in unseasonal flooding.

With the latest advancements in technology and breakthroughs, there is increased precision of the fabrication process. Computer controlled designs and batch production facilities have eliminated instances of waste and expedited delivery timeline resulting in a more profitable industry.

The National Concrete Pipe Week will showcase these developments and will also put the spotlight on the transporters, the sand and stone providers and the concrete suppliers who make manufacturing and distribution possible.

Universal Polymer is Proud to Support the Concrete Pipe Industry:

At Universal Polymer we are excited to celebrate National Concrete Pipe Week. We support the concrete pipe industry and produce concrete pipe and manhole gaskets from a variety of polymers. All of the concrete pipe and manhole gaskets we manufacture meet ASTM C-443 and/or ASTM C-361 depending on the particular pipe specification.  For more information on our capabilities please contact us.

Universal Polymer to Make the Most of the Six Sigma Methodology

Six Sigma is the information driven methodology through which business stakeholders and employees can work together to optimize all possible processes and activities related to manufacturing. It works by using quick and accurate identification of inefficiencies, and by improvement of domains that are not utilizing raw materials and resources to the best of their capabilities.  Carefully developed by great thinkers like Bill Smith, Mikel Harry, Shingo and Taguchi it is a popular manufacturing concept.

Six Sigma

The Core Concept of Six Sigma:

The basic goal of Six Sigma is to ensure cooperation and collaboration between the pillars of a business. Employees are trained in the art of using known statistical tools to eliminate waste and redundancy. The leaders ensure that these employees (who hold belts) have access to the data they need to reach their conclusions. The subject matter experts stand by to provide the employees with context assistance to help them understand the results of applying Six Sigma’s statistical framework to the company’s data.

The Advantages of Using Six Sigma:

  1. The first thing that Six Sigma does is it identifies the activities which directly impact production and the indirect processes that can be optimized later. Thus employees and workers find themselves focusing on tasks that automatically contribute to increased output of the manufacturing unit and improved productivity.
  2. Six Sigma is the basis of lean manufacturing. It uncovers resources – both people and raw material which can be diverted from indirect processes and allocated to high priority tasks that have a positive impact on the bottom-line of the company. Through Six Sigma’s ability to spot trends and patterns and manage inventory, instances of over ordering, over production and just in time orders are reduced.
  3. Six Sigma has two frameworks – The Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control which takes existing processes to ‘entitlement’ or perfection and Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify which ensures that processes that have been optimized are executed without glitches. This two pronged approach increases both market share and ultimate profitability.

Universal Polymer is all set to adopt the Six Sigma methodology in April. With its new task force of yellow belt Six Sigma experts it will follow international players like GE, DuPont, Bank of America and LG on the path of process and quality control to provide better service and pricing to its loyal clients.  For more information on our capabilities and Six Sigma process please contact us here.