HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—Rubber band maker Alliance Rubber Co. is stretching its capabilities.
Hot Springs-based Alliance, which has manufactured rubber bands for 95 years, has added custom silicone profile extrusion to its production capabilities.
The move, according to a news release, allows for the development of product content and design profiles that meet customer needs for custom silicone bands, cording and tubing—open or closed cell foam tubing or solid tubing. The firm also can customize the durometer, color, dimensions and performance characteristics.
Alliance has produced custom profiles that offer wide environmental temperature ranges, ultraviolet, ozone, chemical and oil resistance, as well as fire-retardant features. The firm said it has the ability to meet specifications set for direct food contact packaging.
The company also can imprint product information, logos or graphics on one or both sides of a profile.
"As a 95-year-old, family-owned manufacturing company, we have consistently delivered quality and innovative products to our customers," Alliance President Bonnie Spencer Swayze said in a statement. "We are proud to offer another new product for use in food processing, to meet military standards, the specifications required by manufacturing companies or the many other industries that call for the attributes of silicone profiles."
Alliance's move to diversify comes on the heels of a U.S. Department of Commerce decision to levy stiff preliminary countervailing duties against imports of rubber bands from China. The case began in January when Alliance filed petitions under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act.
In the filing, Alliance, one of the world's largest rubber band manufacturers, charged that imports of rubber bands from China, Thailand and Sri Lanka were being unfairly subsidized by their home governments and being sold in the U.S. at less than fair value. Alliance claimed that foreign dumping and subsidies forced the company to downsize to 176 employees as the result of selling 15 million pounds of rubber bands in 2017. This was down from 25.5 million pounds and 250 employees in 1999.
During a heated February hearing, distributors of imported rubber bands pushed back, saying that Alliance's loss of business was due to poor business decisions, not unfair competition from imports.
The U.S. International Trade Commission later found evidence of dumping and subsidies in its investigation of rubber band imports from China and Thailand, but said the Sri Lankan imports had a negligible effect.
Finally, the DOC determined that subsidies on rubber bands from Thailand were too low to be actionable, but levied countervailing duties against Chinese imports.