AKRON—Akron Rubber Development Laboratory Inc. is getting ready to move some of its operations to a new facility beginning later this year, but the whole relocation likely will take several more years.
In late 2016, ARDL purchased an 11-acre site in Barberton, Ohio—a suburb of Akron—that included two joined facilities with a total space of 130,000 square feet. The testing and development firm said at the time it paid $1.4 million for the property and buildings, which was part of an overall $11.5 million investment that also includes renovation of the new facilities and addition of new equipment.
The plan is to have one site to house all of ARDL's operations, which will have more room and be more efficient than the three buildings the firm currently occupies in Akron.
"We are so crowded in all of our buildings, we really have no more room for people," ARDL President Bonnie Stuck said.
ARDL wanted to remain in Akron, but it was hard to find an industrial site big enough in the city that also was suited to having labs built within.
Thus far, the family-owned firm has put new roofs on both buildings, gutted the inside of the facilities and started construction inside the Barberton structures on what will be new laboratories, she said.
It also has started the process of purchasing equipment that will go in the new site. For example, when ExxonMobil Chemical moved its former Advanced Elastomers Systems unit from Akron to Houston, she said ARDL bought a large amount of equipment from the company, including such items as lab benches and hoods, all in excellent condition and in storage at the Barberton facility.