History of Rubber – The Magic of Northeast Ohio

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Akron, Ohio is about 40 miles south of Cleveland, and seventy years ago it became the rubber capital of the world. You can think of the array of businesses that developed in Northeast Ohio as different branches on one big rubber tree, and the seeds of that tree were Harvey Firestone and Charles Goodyear, names you probably recognize from your tires. Harvey and Charles each started their businesses in Akron and the industry grew around them. Chemists in Akron made a number of rubber breakthroughs, and pretty soon every major tire company other than Michelin had business in Ohio.  …

Changing Business Trends – Adapting to 2013

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As the new year begins, business and manufacturing is strong in a number of markets. At the end of every year businesses typically reduce their inventories to prepare for the end of the fiscal year. In 2012 those reductions started back in November as anxiety grew in anticipation of the fiscal cliff. Then towards the end of December, as word trickled out that things might not be as bad as everyone thought, we actually saw business pick up. Recovery is still moving slow, but it's moving nonetheless and the market is beginning to react. Here at UP&R we serve businesses…

The Secret of Lean Manufacturing and Just-In-Time (JIT) Delivery

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One of the buzzwords in manufacturing these days is “lean.” Lean manufacturing entails, at its heart, cutting out waste and increasing efficiency. Businesses work to increase yields and throughput, and cut down on scrap and excess inventory. Many of the businesses we work with employ lean manufacturing principles, either formally or informally. At the same time, many of these same businesses offer just-in-time (JIT) delivery to their customers. JIT delivery is one of those principles that sounds wonderful on paper—parts delivered exactly when you need them so you're not sitting on excess inventory. Back in the heyday of the Toyota Production System (TPS), JIT was easier…

The Power of Momentum

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Here at UP&R we're growing. And not only are we growing, we have momentum. We're on pace to do almost twice as much business in 2012 as we did in 2006. And we're looking to do even more business in 2013. There's no better feeling than momentum. It means our success is more than just a flash in the pan, and that the strategies we're employing are working and working well. And what are those strategies? The first is acquisition. Much like our acquisition of Dybrook, Inc. a few months back, we seek out the best businesses in the industry to increase…

An Elastomer for Every Application

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What type of rubber should you use when you need a part that can withstand intense heat? How about constant outdoor exposure? What if you need chemical resistance? As the title says, there is an elastomer for every application. And while the possible chemical combinations that make up an elastomer are near limitless, elastomers can be broken up into general categories. Allow us to walk you through them. Neoprene – Neoprene is what we like to call an “all purpose” rubber. It's good for indoor and outdoor applications, and is resistant to most chemicals, oils, weather conditions, and just about…

Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts

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If you’ve been keeping up with us on Facebook and Twitter, you know that we recently acquired Dybrook Products, Inc. Dybrook is a leader in custom molded and extruded rubber products, so making them a part of Universal Polymer and Rubber was a no brainer. With their addition we’ve expanded our customer base and our production capabilities, all of which provides us with a better foundation for the future. But it was more than additional customers and production space that spurred our interest in Dybrook. Part of our goal here at Universal is to always be learning, and always be…

Chaos and Uncertainty

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Chaos and uncertainty aren't ideal conditions to operate in, but they're facts of life in our business. To that end, we do everything we can to see our customers through to the other side. This year has been an unpredictable one for us. Months that are typically busy have been slow, while historically slow months have been booming. In these tough economic times, everyone is cutting inventory. Many times companies aren't placing orders to manufacturers until they get orders from their customers—and they want to make sure their customers don't see any delay. It's always a challenging position to work…

Misconceptions About Tarp Straps and WLL

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We'd like to clear something up: our rubber tarp straps don't have a Working Load Limit (WLL) printed on them, and they're not supposed to. Lately we've been catching a lot of flack for this. Our tarp straps are used to tension covers and tarps over loads, typically loads carried by flat bed trucks. The straps keep the tarps from flapping around during transport, something that would limit both their effectiveness and their service life. A working load limit applies to the maximum cargo weight a strap can be used to restrain. The problem is that tarp straps are not…

We Do It All

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If you’re like us, you’re busy, and turning five stops into one is a dream that too rarely comes true. Well, in this case we can turn that dream into a reality. We already offer top-of-the-line rubber molding, rubber extruding and plastic extruding services. But we also offer secondary services that allow you to leave with a finished product. With our assembly, punching, cutting, splicing, trimming and PSA tape application services you can make sure that when you come to us, you’re done. For one of our clients, we manufacture diaphragms for air operated double diaphragm (AODD) pumps. After molding…