FINDLAY, Ohio (Feb. 29, 2012)—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Yulex Corp. have entered into a partnership to jointly evaluate and develop guayule polymers and resins for tire applications, the two companies have announced.
Under the agreement, Cooper will bring its expertise in advanced polymer and materials science to the research, as well as providing its design, development and testing capabilities. Yulex will contribute its experience in developing and producing advanced engineered guayule polymers to the project.
In the publicity announcing the project, Cooper and Yulex said the development of a sustainable, high-quality alternative to traditional Hevea natural rubber and petroleum-based synthetic rubbers has become vital.
“The agreement between Cooper Tire and Yulex will facilitate development of a domestic supplemental source of natural rubber by leveraging resources and capabilities of both companies,” said Chuck Yurkovich, Cooper vice president of global technology, in a press release. “Our goal is to develop a reliable source of natural rubber, thus decreasing our reliance on offshore raw materials sources.”
“This agreement represents an outstanding commercial opportunity and a significant validation of our technology,” said Yulex CEO Jeff Martin in the same release.
Chandler, Ariz.-based Yulex is best known for producing hypoallergenic latex for medical applications from guayule, a desert shrub native to Mexico and the southwestern U.S. It holds the exclusive license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for USDA's patented guayule latex production technology.
Yulex has won two Green Innovator of the Year awards from the Arizona Technology Council. In November 2011, medical product giant Ansell Ltd. bought a minority interest in Yulex and also signed an exclusive agreement with Yulex for the global development, manufacturing and distribution of guayule latex medical gloves, personal protective gloves and condoms.