FAIRLAWN, Ohio—EnPro Industries Inc.'s Stemco Division is moving quickly to shore up and expand the capabilities of its recently acquired air springs operation.
After signing a trademark licensing deal earlier this year that will allow it to keep the Goodyear brand name for its products, the business is moving forward with the addition of a research and development center in Fairlawn.
Stemco Air Springs' R&D operation will be housed in a 20,200-sq.-ft. facility being built specifically for the unit, according to David Brinkman, segment business leader of the business. The state-of-the-art complex, which sits on a 3.15 acre parcel, will house a variety of new test and other equipment along with office space, he said.
It will handle the bulk of Stemco Air Springs' research and product development along with testing. The center will have a work force of about 35, Brinkman said.
He said the new center was needed to replace one the company temporarily was using at the former Veyance Technologies Inc. technical center, also located in Fairlawn.
Veyance was purchased by ContiTech A.G.'s parent Continental A.G. in January 2015 on the condition—mandated by U.S., Mexican and Brazilian antitrust authorities—that it sell its North American air springs business.
EnPro purchased the operation—along with the Super Cushion and Spring Ride lines of truck, trailer and truck cab suspension products and cap seat springs—in July. At that time, Stemco contracted to continue using the ContiTech R&D center for about a year.
“Our goal is be operating out of the new center in July,” Brinkman said.
He said the company selected Fairlawn for its center because that is where virtually everything connected with the operation is located. The business manufactures air springs at its plant, also acquired from ContiTech, in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
Overall, he said, the air springs business is doing well, and the transition to EnPro thus far has been flawless.
Brinkman said growth prospects are viable for the business in both the original equipment and aftermarket sectors. “And we are excited about non-NAFTA regions like Central and South America, Europe and Asia,” he added.
Stemco operates worldwide, he noted, and will continue to expand.
In January, Longview, Texas-based Stemco was able to retain the use of the brand name the air springs have carried in the past when it entered into a licensing pact with Goodyear on the continued use of the Goodyear name on products.
Retaining the name gives the air springs line consistency and familiarity in the market, according to Stemco President Todd Anderson.