HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—Adding custom silicone profile extrusion to its production capabilities was "the next logical step" for Alliance Rubber Co., according to Alliance Marketing Manager Joan Dennis.
"We've been extruding rubber for 95 years, and the processes for extruding silicone are very similar," Dennis said.
"So many of the markets we serve also use silicone—automotive, agricultural, manufacturing," she said. "Silicone is so far-reaching that we realized this was a natural progression for us."
Alliance long has developed product content and physical design profiles to meet customers' specifications, according to Dennis.
In silicone, the company can produce custom silicone bands, cording and tubing, including open- or closed-cell tubing and solid tubing, she said. It can produce any durometer, color, dimensions and performance characteristics required by the customer.
Hot Springs-based Alliance offers custom silicone profiles with wide environmental temperature ranges; UV, ozone, chemical and oil resistance; fire retardant features; and specifications for direct food contact, the company said.
With its printing capability, Alliance can imprint product information, logos or graphics on one or both sides of a silicone profile, it said.
"The difference between silicone and the natural rubber latex we've always used is that silicone has thousands of formulations," Dennis said.
As an example, Dennis cited Alliance's achievements in fire retardant properties in its custom silicone profiles. In one case, it took a blowtorch to a silicone band, creating heat up to 6,000°F. When the flame was pointed directly at the band, it self-extinguished, she said.
Alliance added its silicone extrusion line in December and made its first shipment to a customer in February, according to Dennis.
The company hired no new personnel to run its custom silicone line, according to Dennis.
"Our current engineers are very well-versed in silicone," she said. "But we are looking for someone with engineering sales capability."
Alliance's current engineers are too busy with formulations, but a sales person who has the ability to communicate the company's silicone capabilities to customers would be welcome, according to Dennis. "It's a matter of engineers talking to engineers," she said.
Alliance most recently was in the news for its January 2018 petitions for relief to the International Trade Commission against rubber band importers from China, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
The Commerce Department levied preliminary countervailing duties of 125.77 percent against Chinese rubber band importers in July. It will issue its preliminary antidumping duty determinations in late August.
The injury Alliance received from rubber band imports has no bearing on its decision to enter the custom silicone profile market, according to Dennis.
"I've been with the company for 28 years, and we're always looking for new products," she said. "This was a natural opportunity it would have been foolish for us not to pursue."