WARWICK, N.Y.—Despite uncertain market conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 has been a year of expansion for Mechanical Rubber, which recently made its second big move of the year.
At the start of the year, the supplier of custom rubber and plastic products for the aerospace, defense, health care, transit and commercial industries established a presence in Richmond, Calif., complementing its East Coast headquarters and manufacturing facilities and bringing West Coast customers closer to their supplier. It plans to have manufacturing set up in the region at some point.
Now, the company has established a midway point for itself in the heartland of the U.S., acquiring Durox in Strongsville, Ohio. The acquisition gives Mechanical Rubber a stronger share in the locomotive industry, as Durox, formerly owned by Pittsburgh-based Wabtec Corp., produces gaskets, rubber seals, extrusions and other components for diesel engines.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
"The acquisition was completed shortly before the COVID-19 virus started to spread in the United States," said Cedric Glasper, CEO of Mechanical Rubber. "While we've been working on transitioning the company from its corporate parent to the Mechanical Rubber family, we've been unsure whether to share our good news.
"But there has been so much bad news and economic uncertainty, we decided to look to the future and share our exciting new opportunity."
Mechanical Rubber Ohio, as the former Durox now is known, brings 11 employees to the Mechanical Rubber team, and all were retained from Durox. Glasper said the 80,000-sq.-ft. plant (75,000 square feet for manufacturing and 5,000 square feet in unused office space) is capable of running three shifts, though Mechanical Rubber plans to change the plant's workflow to run 1.5 shifts.
"This has been very efficient," Glasper said. "Naturally, a change of ownership is challenging, but we feel that we are the perfect fit for these types of customers."
The 11 employees from the former Durox bring Mechanical Rubber's work force to 30, between the California, New York and Ohio locations. The company plans to add another five employees this year, some of whom will be added at the Ohio facility, according to Mechanical Rubber.
While corporate offices will be located at the central California location and its headquarters in Warwick (where all orders will be processed), manufacturing will take place in New York and Ohio, Glasper said.
Mechanical Rubber plans to build a manufacturing plant at or near the corporate offices established earlier this year in Richmond, Calif., however, those plans may be pushed back with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We'll see how the economy rebounds for California to take on a facility in 2020, but most likely 2021-22 now with the COVID-19," Glasper said.