SEVILLE, Ohio—Blair Rubber Co. has launched an expansion at its Seville headquarters and manufacturing facility to accommodate its growth in the U.S. and support a major push to build its base abroad.
The producer of rubber liners and belt splicing kits broke ground for two additions at the plant June 16 with expectations to complete the project in February 2015.
Blair Rubber plans to expand the north side of the 50,000-sq.-ft. factory another 40,000 square feet to boost its production capabilities, according to Plant Superintendent Roy Eikelberry. The firm will extend the south side of the building 8,000 square feet that will be used for warehousing.
Together, the additions virtually double the size of the facility and give the company ample room to produce its products.
New machinery will be added to boost the site's capacity and the company's capabilities, Eikelberry said, adding that officials were still in the process of determining what equipment will be purchased.
He noted that the company hired about 20 employees pretty recently so it doesn't plan to add more personnel at this point. But that likely will change as business continues to grow, he said.
The company presently has a work force of about 77 at Blair Rubber and at its sister company, Hyload Inc., in Wadsworth, Ohio. The two businesses are part of IKO Industries Ltd., headquartered in Canada.
“We have a niche business,” according to Eikelberry, “and we've had great success because we have good lead times for our products, excellent quality, good service and good inventory. Those are some of the reasons we're growing.”
Both the manufacturing and warehousing ends of the operation needed the additional space they will gain once the expansion is complete, company officials said at a groundbreaking ceremony held June 16.
Eikelberry and President Dave Jentzsch had been working on the expansion project for more than a year because they saw the need to expand Blair Rubber's manufacturing capabilities “and accommodate our consistent and steady growth,” Jentzsch said.
That growth was spurred in part from an international marketing initiative Blair Rubber launched in the fall of 2011 to boost the firm's exports of rubber linings and belt splice kits.
“We set out to double our output and gain market share and we are very near our goal,” said Nalex Cordova, the director of sales and marketing. “We have grown both domestically and abroad,” where he believes the company has great potential for new growth. He headed up the international marketing initiative.
“I just returned from China where we started selling our products about a year and a half ago and we're doing well there,” he said.
There's great potential abroad for the company's corrosion resistant rubber liners—used to protect railroad tank cars, chemical processing and storage tanks, food processing tanks, sewage disposal units, water and wastewater treatment facilities, mining cars and other applications—and Blair Rubber is making steady progress in a number of other countries, Cordova said.