HOUSTON—U.S. Zinc Corp. formalized its alliance with HB Chemical Corp. as its preferred rubber distributor in North America.
According to U.S. Zinc, HB Chemical has 10 warehouses throughout the U.S. and has distributed rubber accelerators, activators, plasticizers, takifiers, antioxidants, polymers, phenolics, rubber to metal bonding agents, additives, chemicals and process aids for the rubber, plastics and coatings industries for nearly three decades.
“We've been working with HB Chemical for 20-plus years,” said Tracy Baugh, U.S. Zinc vice president of commercial. “As we've consolidated distributors, HB has been a beneficiary from some of that consolidation as well as us giving them accounts that we called on directly. We've actually increased the amount of scope that they have with U.S. Zinc.”
HB Chemical recently opened a distribution warehouse between Cleveland and Akron, which President Jeff Rand said is 130,000 square feet, 80,000 square feet larger than the previous facility, and represents an investment of more than $4 million.
Rand said the new facility allows HB to be better situated to support its entire customer base. The warehouse provides more streamlined shipping and receiving areas, has a state of the art bulk unloading area and bulk storage capability, and a high hazard storage area.
Baugh said that as U.S. Zinc has strengthened its alliance with HB Chemical, HB Chemical has received more accounts—including ones U.S. Zinc had called on directly. Baugh praised HB Chemical for securing accounts on its own, accounts that U.S. Zinc said it wouldn't have been able to get in the past.
HB Chemical's primary focus for U.S. Zinc is selling zinc oxide for the rubber industry in the Midwest, but the firm has the ability to sell U.S. Zinc material in whatever region it deems appropriate.
“If you look at where the rubber industry is primarily located, it's in the same region where they primarily operate,” Baugh said. “Not only have they done a good job for us, but they're located in the right region and calling on the right customers. We expect, and have seen, our sales in the rubber industry improve and expect it to continue to because of the alliance that we have with HB Chemical.”
U.S. Zinc is a worldwide manufacturer, recycler and supplier of zinc oxide, zinc dust, zinc metal and zinc fines. Headquartered in Houston, the firm operates plants in North America, South America and Asia.
The firm is in the process of adding 17,000 metric tons per year to its total volume through two expansions to its Tennessee facilities. Baugh said the expansion in Clarksville was complete in 2013, while Millington is in progress and will be complete in the fourth quarter of 2014. Each expansion will add about 8,500 tons per facility and create seven jobs at each site.
Millington will add additional warehouse storage as part of the expansion.
“Over the last couple of years, we've seen some growth in the market and some consolidation from our competitors,” Baugh said. “We see the future being pretty bright as far as capacity being added in the tire industry, so we're trying to stay ahead of the new growth in the North American tire market.”