SEATTLE—Blair Rubber Co. is poised for greater growth globally in 2015.
A producer of liners and belt splice kit products, the company is in the midst of a 50,000-sq.-ft. expansion of its plant in Seville, Ohio. The project, launched in mid-June, is expected to be completed in January and virtually doubles the facility's size.
It's also adding more equipment to produce liners and splice kits, Commercial Manager Mike Burkholder said at the NIBA—The Belting Association convention in Seattle.
The expansion was spurred in part by a 20 percent upsurge in splice kit sales, and part of it is in anticipation of increasing business overseas, he said, adding that the company is gaining a solid foothold overseas and wants to build upon that.
“Domestically, we're at the top in the U.S. and the only company that manufactures our liners in the U.S.,” Burkholder said. “There's a lot of mining going on in China and South America, and the need for our kits and liners is there.”
Blair Rubber manufactures primary containment, secondary containment and water treatment liners along with conveyor belt hot vulcanizing, splicing and repair materials. It offers strong technical support, he said, and its high-quality products are extremely reliable.
The expansion project had been planned for about a year.
Last winter the firm had a backlog, “which is against our policy,” Burkholder noted. “We like to ship in two weeks, not three or four weeks.”
Business is very good at the company, he said, and will get better. Railroads are busy, partly because of shipments of chemicals used in the fracking industry. The fertilizer industry is doing well, and the need for liners for storage tanks is growing, he said.
Blair Rubber recently hired about 20 new employees, so it's pretty well set with its work force of about 77 at the plant and at its sister company, Hyload Inc.
The company launched an international marketing initiative in the fall of 2011 aimed at boosting the firm's export business, said Nalex Cordova, director of sales and marketing, The program has been working and should help continue to expand the business, he said.