BEREA, Ohio—When Accella Performance Materials began revamping its tire fill business, its plant in Berea was a logical place for investment.
“It's the center of R&D in both the chemistry and the applications and the machinery end of the business,” said Robert Cunningham, the company's vice president of technology and innovation.
This role as center of chemical research and development for Accella's Tire Fill division is a new one for the plant. The company recently renamed its Tire Fill division, bringing together acquisitions from recent years and consolidating and reconfiguring the operations at its plants.
The Berea plant is “tremendous,” Cunningham said, with plenty of lab space. And, he said, the region has a strong pool of research and manufacturing talent, so “it's a good place to hire.”
Maryland Heights, Mo.-based Accella Performance Materials is made up of a variety of producers of polyurethane and rubber products.
Aside from the tire fill business, Accella makes polyurethane specialty products such as carpet binders and spray foam insulation, said Al Restaino, the company's vice president of marketing.
Restaino's home plant is the Berea location. When he joined the company in early 2014, the decision was made to spread the senior leadership team out over the company's different locations.
Overall, the firm has about 520 employees and makes about $450 million in annual sales, he said.
Accella's tire fill business makes a material used to fill pneumatic, or air-filled, tires to essentially make them “flat-proof,” Restaino said.
The tires are filled with polyurethane gel, which then hardens. The brand name for the material is TyrFil. It is useful in industries such as mining or construction, where a flat on one of the large tires used on equipment would hurt production.
Accella Tire Fill also makes the equipment that is used to fill the tires with the material.