CHARDON, Ohio—The expected demise of the former Chardon Rubber Co.'s custom mixing business and plant was a bit premature.
A group of private investors has stepped in to purchase the plant along with its compounding operation and launch a new custom mixing business, called Chardon Custom Polymers L.L.C., at the 200,000-sq.-ft. facility in Chardon.
The unnamed investors own several other companies; their largest holding had been a major custom mixing customer of Chardon Rubber, according to Marian Keener DeVoe, the former president of Chardon Rubber, who will serve in the same capacity at CCP.
“This is a sale of the business and plant with totally new ownership,” she said. “They asked me to join their company Ã and it's very exciting to have an opportunity to see something grow from the ground up.”
The compounder plans to have an initial work force of about 20 former employees with additions being made as the business grows.
It will utilize about 20 percent of the plant for the time being and the investors may use the remainder of the facility for other purposes, according to DeVoe.
CCP probably will be producing compound material by the first part of May.
The new owners are applying for a block grant, she said, which will be used to demolish the oldest part of the facility, relocate the shipping docks and realign the interior of the site.
The company has a state-of-the-art laboratory and two internal mixers capable of producing more than 20 million pounds of rubber compound annually, DeVoe said.
“(CCP) is a natural outgrowth of the Chardon Rubber Co.'s very solid custom mixing business component that was not sold last year,” she said. “We are encouraged that we have been able to assemble a first-rate team of former employees and staff to provide industry-leading custom mixing products and unsurpassed customer service.”
DeVoe said CCP will produce continuous strip, slab or sheet to customer-specified width and thickness.
She said the staff has more than 75 years of experience in compounding all types of polymers, including EPDM, SBR, natural rubber, butyl, Vamac, nitrile, neoprene and HNBR in black and in colors.
The materials can be used in injection, compression and transfer molding and salt, microwave and conventional extrusion applications.
The firm will offer full lab testing capabilities, including rheometer, viscometers, tensile and elongation, gravity, and durometer with multiple ovens and presses.
DeVoe said CCP has state-of-the-art computer controls on its two 450-500 pound mixers—one with four wing rotors and the other with intermeshing design rotors.
“We are delighted at our investors' commitment to our long-term stability and success,” DeVoe said. “There is a great upside for CCP at this location, and (the investors) are providing the resources and support to help us realize that potential.”
Chardon Rubber, formed by Jefferson W. Keener, DeVoe's father, and other investors in 1978, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2009 after poor economic conditions, high raw material costs and the loss of some key customers impacted the firm's sales and limited its available working capital.
The company sold its rubber compression and injection molding business and machinery, along with its Chardon Rubber name, to Wabtec Corp. in July 2009.
On Dec. 31, its plastics products business was acquired by an unnamed buyer, leaving only the rubber mixing segment and plant.