WAALWIJK, Netherlands—DRI Rubber B.V. was granted a U.S. patent for the invention of a fastener system that secures agricultural rubber mats for livestock.
The company describes its rubber fastener as a game changer for an industry striving to be animal friendly.
The fasteners, which are suitable for rubber mats on slatted concrete floors, are made from DRI's fiber reinforcement technology. DRI said the rubber composition offers strength, durability and animal comfort compared to other methods for securing mats, such as metal screws, bolts and brackets and plastic components. It also claims the fasteners better protect against sudden movements.
"The fasteners for slat mats ... have always been difficult for farmers. Most of the existing fastening methods are failing or causing problems," DRI Rubber CEO Robert de Ruijter said in a news release. "They are unable to resist the forces caused by the heavy animals, breaking apart, causing claw or hoof damages and other injuries due to metal and plastic materials. In most cases, the broken off fasteners fall into the manure storage and recovery systems get blocked."
DRI's all-rubber solution is safer and stronger for the animals, according to de Ruijter, and the fasteners make it easy to install and replace the mats.
The fasteners will be distributed by Kenosha, Wisc.-based LRP Solutions, which DRI acquired in October 2018 to expand its sustainable finished rubber goods division. The deal brought together LRP's expertise in the matting world and DRI Rubber's technical expertise in material performance.
The fasteners will be supplied with LRP's slat mats for dairy and beef-fattening farms, first in the U.S. and Canada then later this year in Europe. The mats were co-developed with DRI Rubber, which is offering the fasteners in various widths to fit other slat products.
LRP Solutions became a wholly owned subsidiary of DRI Rubber USA in November 2019 with all business consolidated under the parent company's U.S. rubber division in Coldwater, Ohio.