One of the things I like about covering expos in our industry is the chance to learn about companies I'm not familiar with, as well as meeting people I haven't come across in my more than 31 years covering the rubber sector.
And this year's ACS Rubber Division's International Elastomer Conference in Cleveland didn't disappoint. Having 278 exhibitors, including 65 international firms from 13 countries, there was a good chance there would be some new firms for me and other Rubber & Plastics News staffers to meet with.
I also will let you in on a little secret. At this year's event, I concentrated on seeing what some of the exhibitors in the last few rows had to share. Often, these are first-time exhibitors or those who made a last-minute decision to exhibit. Here's just a small snippet of the new people and firms I found in rows 18 to 21.
First was Advanced Rubber Products, a molder out of Wyoming, N.Y. I talked with General Manager Holly Mitchell, who shared a small company's perspective of how tariffs on goods coming in from China helped the firm get back a larger share of business from its top customer.
Joseph Moran, president of Pacer Industries Inc., said his firm was the only source of liquid natural rubber, which it needs to produce its grinding wheels. I also met Edgar and Anthony Gonzalez of Synesis, a small firm trying to make its way supplying thermoplastic vulcanizates using recycled materials.
Another new face was Paul Arbour, the new director of the Elastomer Valley Group out of Quebec, who told me he has been quite successful attracting new members to the association ahead of the research center it will open next year.
And Douglas Li of Industrech International Inc. said his company will look to help fill the need for what he says will be a shortfall of CPE elastomers.
These are just a few stories you can look forward to from RPN's IEC coverage during the next several issues.