CARY, Ill.—A suburban Chicago manufacturer is expanding its operations to handle ongoing growth in the rubber and metal industrial bellows sector.
Cary-based Duraflex Inc. opened a newly purchased, 10,000-sq.-ft. warehouse and office early this month. The building, which sits on a three-acre lot, is less than a mile from the company's headquarters. The facility will be fully operational later in March.
According to Jennifer Jones-Reynolds, vice president of marketing, the company purchased the building earlier this winter for $615,000. Duraflex has invested approximately $200,000 more in infrastructure and improvements.
Jones-Reynolds said the firm will use the additional space for warehousing and shipping to meet growing demand. Duraflex also will house its braided hose fabrication business there after the company acquired Windy City Sales Ltd. and all its assets in 2015 to complement other product lines, she said.
The added acreage will allow the company to plan for a new high-tech, robotic manufacturing center to be designed and built on the property next year, according to Dean DellaCecca, president and chief engineer at Duraflex.
This cutting edge technology will allow Duraflex to create custom solutions for customers, advance research and development efforts, and streamline efficiencies, DellaCecca said.
“The increased space allows us to concentrate more on warehousing blanket order releases from the new building location separate from current manufacturing,” he said. “By opening up space, we can then expand current manufacturing and use new technologies for organization, warehousing and logistics processing in the new building.”
Duraflex's clients are “very high tech and knowledgeable,” DellaCecca said. Most of all, “they are looking for increased performance and extended life cycles.”
The expanded space will be used for processing a new line of EPDM braided stainless steel hoses, he said. The hoses are constructed and processed in a small assembly cell design that fits well within the perimeter of the warehouse area, he said.
Duraflex's braided hose fabrication business can complement other product lines, DellaCecca said, and it is considered one of the firm's significant growth opportunities.
Duraflex is a custom and standard manufacturer providing high tech engineering services for metal bellows, rubber bellows, edge-welded bellows, hydroformed bellows, exhaust bellows, rubber expansion joints, metal expansion joints, fabric expansion joints, pipe, tubing, hose, assemblies and flexible connectors for engineered piping systems.
Products are manufactured utilizing advanced controlled processes and materials that ensure quality, performance and pricing, the company said.
Another reason for the expansion is the ongoing growth Duraflex has achieved providing specialized products and services in high-tech applications such as aerospace, medical, energy and R&D.
Duraflex provides design and engineering support required for each application regardless of complexity, quantity or size, DellaCecca said. In addition to comprehensive product design and manufacturing expertise, company professionals take pride in having the fastest quotation response time and shortest manufacturing lead times in the industry, he said.
Specific to rubber products, Duraflex is working on several projects for converting ocean wave kinetic energy into storable usable energy using rubber, DellaCecca said.
“We are developing rubber hoses and expansion joints with higher pressures and predictable properties related to vibration dampening and improved cycle life,” he said.
Since opening in 2004, Duraflex has used a 22,000-sq.-ft. office and manufacturing space in Cary as its headquarters. The company employs approximately 125.