Blair Rubber Co. has been a successful member of the Northeast Ohio business community for 35 years. Since moving into Medina County in 2006, Blair Rubber has had a recent expansion, launched several products and has a new machine in development. Blair Rubber has a lot of information to share with Made in Medina County. Here’s a Q&A session with Dave Jentzsch, the general manager of Blair Rubber Company.
Our rubber linings serve a lot of different industries. They are applicable in mining, water treatment, transportation, chemical, etc. These linings are designed to protect our customers’ equipment and keep machines running longer. The biggest challenge each market faces is a little different.
For a harsher environment, applicators need to have durable rubber lining. Efficient installation is also a must so that production doesn’t have to shut down for long.
Whereas, in the oil & gas market, it’s really important to those folks that their rubber linings have superior oil resistance. Our job is to design the perfect product for them to have the best success.
We recently launched a product made from HNBR (hydrogenated nitrile butadiene rubber). The HNBR lining is a breakthrough design for the oil & gas market because it withstands high abrasion and high temperature conditions. Finding a solution for our customers’ needs is the best part of our job.
That’s a tough question to answer. For the past 35 years, we’ve ebbed and flowed with our applicators’ needs. I remember back in 1990, we started exporting rubber linings outside the U.S. which was a big deal for us. It was a monumental opportunity for us to be able to serve an international market.
Another big moment for us came in 2000 when Dow Chemical & Reagent Chemical declared our PG-70, a soft, natural rubber lining, the longest lasting lining in the hydrochloric acid rail car and storage tank service. Dow Chemical is a leader in the chemical market and it was a great honor to be recognized by them. At that point, we supplied more than 500 rolls of the PG-70 to the HCl rail car transportation industry.
Those are two things that stand out for me as pivotal moments for Blair.
Our brand new 50,000-sq.-ft. addition in Seville has been up and running for a little over a year now. This greatly increased our service area, including a larger maintenance shop and an added 40,000 square feet of production and warehouse space.
This was an important decision for Blair because it’s allowing us to serve our customers better. It’s also giving us the opportunity to expand into new markets with some additional capabilities. We are running tests on a new machine in preparation for production by the end of the year. It will enhance our service for current customers and expand our reach to new applicators.
When we were looking to expand our headquarters, we wanted to find somewhere that would provide the company significant benefits, while allowing us to create a business culture where our employees succeed.
When we found the space in Seville, we were more than satisfied. Accessibility is a huge factor for shipping purposes. Our facility has great freeway access to I-71, I-76 and I-77. Additionally, we have airport access to both to the Akron-Canton and Cleveland airports.
Beyond accessibility, we wanted a location with a sufficient labor pool with a good work ethic and we’ve found that those attributes are strong in rural areas, such as Seville. We continue to be impressed with how business-friendly both the city and the county are.
Lastly, from a financial standpoint, having a lower electricity cost and a CRA tax benefit helped us make our final decision. It’s been a great decision for Blair, our employees and our customers.
Right now we have a few innovative products launching and getting great feedback. Our email campaigns announcing these products were successful, which was thrilling. We got immediate calls asking for more information. We’ve also been getting positive feedback at various industry trade shows.
Beyond new products, we also recently launched our new website. A lot of work went into the site, making it more user-friendly. Our primary goal was for our website to be an educational, informational resource for our industry.
Check it out at www.blairrubber.com.