FAIRLAWN, Ohio—Stemco Air Springs has completed construction of its new state-of-the-art research and development center in Fairlawn to bolster the firm's technologies for the commercial vehicle market.
A business within the Stemco Division of Longview, Texas-headquartered EnPro Industries Inc., the air springs firm said the 20,000-sq.-ft. facility is the world's most advanced laboratory built to design and test advances in materials, designs and technology for commercial vehicle air springs.
It was built specifically for the R&D operation and houses 22 employees with more than 600 years of technical and engineering experience, the company said.
The center, which sits on a 3.15-acre parcel, was built after the company acquired the air springs business in January 2015 from the former Veyance Technologies Inc., which was purchased by Continental A.G. and is now part of the tire maker's ContiTech A.G. business.
Stemco also bought Veyance's Spring Cushion and Spring Ride lines of truck, trailer and truck cab suspension products and cap seat springs.
ContiTech has turned Veyance's facility in Fairlawn into its North American headquarters. U.S., Mexican and Brazilian antitrust authorities mandated that ContiTech had to sell Veyance's air springs operation, which produced Goodyear air spring products, in North America in order to complete the purchase of the engineered products operation.
"As part of the acquisition agreement and carve-out of the business, Stemco had a separate space within (ContiTech's) building that was negotiated as part of the acquisition," said David Brinkman, the company's segment business leader for air springs.
Many of the firm's current staff worked for Veyance prior to the acquisition of the business and were retained by Stemco, he said.
"Following the purchase of the Goodyear air springs business, we were intent on keeping the business in Fairlawn, retaining the work force and investing where necessary to support our long term growth," Brinkman said.
He said the new center features state-of-the-art test equipment "for a talented group of engineers that will serve our production facilities and our customers well in the future."
Stemco received approval to purchase the center's site in October 2015 and groundbreaking took place in November 2015.
It took about eight months to complete construction of the structure, which included moving, installation and recalibration of all test equipment.
Brinkman noted the company upgraded parts of the lab as it moved into the facility.
"This new lab will strengthen the Stemco portfolio of technology and development centers focused on the heavy duty transportation industry," he said.
Stemco manufactures air springs at a plant it also acquired from ContiTech in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The firm does not have an air springs production facility in Fairlawn, but Brinkman said the company is always reviewing where its products should be inventoried and produced to best serve its customer base.
The Stemco Division of EnPro has offices and production plants in Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Canada, Australia, China and Mexico that manufacture commercial vehicle wheel end, braking and suspension components. It also develops solutions for tire and mileage problems.
EnPro manufactures sealing products, metal polymer and filament wound bearings, components for reciprocating compressors, diesel and dual fuel engines, and other engineered goods used in critical applications by industries globally.