LONG BEACH, Calif.—For a company that's been around 113 years, there are plenty of new things about Rubbercraft Corp. of California.
The company still is growing into a new factory it moved into just four years ago; it's in the early stages of a three-year plan to replace most of the equipment in that plant; and it's been just a year since private equity firm Industrial Growth Partners bought its parent firm, Sanders Holdings Inc., from former owner Eric Sanders.
Long Beach-based Rubbercraft touts itself as a “high technology company that designs, develops and manufactures precision engineered custom elastomer and rubber parts.” It has capabilities in both molded and extruded rubber goods, with expertise in surface bonding of elastomers to metal, fabric, composites and Teflon. Silicone is the most used elastomer, followed by neoprene, nitrile, Viton and other high-end materials.
About 75 percent of its business is in aerospace and defense, followed by medical, energy and a variety of other industries.
While it does have some higher volume business—such as its CMI line of eye guards for optoelectronic devices—it doesn't shy away from business that may be for only a single piece or for an item that won't bring in a replacement order for years, said David Lee, vice president of engineering.
“We process 700 unique orders a month,” he said. “We just had a request for quote for canister seals for a sea sparrow missile launcher that we made 15 years ago. It's a unique launch. We built 60 units and have had no activity for 15 years, but now they're looking for replacements. We still have the tooling and the engineering. We'll resurrect it and build new canister seals.”
Lee said that Rubbercraft has its own laboratory and does all of its own mixing and compound development. It has both a white mill room and black mill room to control contamination, along with providing complete traceability to meet aerospace industry requirements. The firm's business also is requiring on average 50 new tools a month, which Rubbercraft designs but then has made by six area tool makers.