As many companies go global, Monmouth Rubber & Plastics Corp. keeps it simple.
Think local, act local.
Headquartered in Long Branch, N.J., the firm strongly believes in buying U.S.-made products. That philosophy drove the company to develop Durafoam N231 in 2012. The neoprene closed-cell material serves as a market replacement for Rubatex Corp.'s G231N, which was taken off the market when Rubatex closed its site in Bedford, Va. in 2010.
G231N was one of the main materials used to make wetsuits in the U.S. John Bonforte Sr., Monmouth's founder and general manager, said companies had to go overseas to find equivalent materials when the material was taken off the market.
“Customers that were using G231N for unique applications couldn't find it anywhere on the planet,” Bonforte said at the Gasketing/Converting Expo in Orlando, Fla. “We developed an equal for G231N. We were able to take the chemical process and give it the physicals of the gas blowing process.”
Bonforte started in the rubber industry working for Rubatex in 1961, which he said was the largest closed-cell manufacturer in the world at the time. He said he helped develop a bonded closed cell material for the construction industry in 1963. A year later, he founded Monmouth. The firm has been located in Long Branch for the last 40 years.
In the years since Rubatex closed, Monmouth has developed equivalent products to address the hole in the market for manufacturers. However, Bonforte stressed his firm simply was not piggybacking off of Rubatex.
“The fact that Rubatex went out of business wasn't a free ride for us to grow,” Bonforte said. “We had to have credible products.”