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2019 Issue 3

Safety Initiatives: An Ounce of Prevention  Testing Constraints  Leadership Training  Dynamic Seal Standards

The Official Publication of the Association of Rubber Products Manufacturers


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Benchmarking Conference

Returns to Indianapolis in October


The Impact of Innovation – and the Bottleneck of Rubber Industry Resource Constraints


View From 30 Feet














Safety Superheroes at Bruckman Rubber

Severe Service Applications Key to High-Performance Elastomer Growth EHS Summit Emphasizes Preparedness Leadership Training: Paths for Cultivating Tomorrow’s Leaders


Changing the Image of the Rubber Industry 10 Commandments to Create Lifetime Customers Russian Dandelion Project Could Lead to Source of Natural Rubber


Departments 4 16 18 26 34 34

From the Managing Director Industry Technical Standards Update Member News Calendar Ad Index 3


ARPM and the Early American Pioneers: The Spirit of Community


n the late 1700s and early 1800s, American pioneers began to explore the western region of the United States in search of opportunities to improve their lives. For those unfamiliar with this time in history, the journeys to the West were long, treacherous and filled with many dangers. On a good day, a wagon train would travel between 10 Letha Keslar to 15 miles, and before the start of each day, Managing Director, every individual within each family would ARPM work intensively to prepare for the events ahead. During these journeys, people worked together; they shared information and knowledge; they shared food; they shared lifesaving supplies; and they integrated their resources to defend and protect themselves. As I recently reflected on the ARPM organization and its incredible membership expansion over the last several years, I remembered my childhood history lessons of the journey of these American pioneers. The Spirit of Cooperation and Community was the primary reason these early pioneers were able to survive, thrive and build the foundation for what has become the greatest country on earth! The founding members of the ARPM organization – those who were responsible for developing the organization’s strategy in 2010 – intentionally integrated the Spirit of Community into the association’s vision. The spirit of processors helping processors, executives helping executives and people helping people is the foundation of ARPM! At the July 2019 Environmental Health and Safety Summit, I was humbled to have the opportunity to share the real life stories and testimonials of ARPM member professionals, demonstrating that

7321 Shadeland Station Way, Suite 285 Indianapolis, IN 46256

the Spirit of Community is alive and well – and a driving force behind members being able to solve mission-critical problems, locate business changing resources and share lifesaving resources. One ARPM member sent another member contact information on lockout/tagout resources. Another member, located in Ohio, sought out the knowledge base of another member located in Colorado about medication interactions and their impact on the workplace. And, the list of people helping people continued on and on and on. As ARPM completes its 9th year as a formal organization, its board of directors will focus on broadening the Spirit of Community in the organization by creating more tools and programs that allow members to tap into the immense power of the ARPM network. For executives who are wanting to be a part of this Spirit of Community, attending ARPM’s Annual Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference from October 2 through 4 in Indianapolis, Indiana, is a must! The heart of this conference will be “best practices” presentations from member companies. Some may ask – “Why is this event so important?” The answer is simple: Rubber company executives who run the best-of-the-best companies routinely benchmark their operations in order to set the bar for improvement. Many of these executives use ARPM’s Annual Benchmarking Conference to collect the information they need to improve their profits. Just as the early pioneers worked together to create better lives for themselves in the United States, so too will ARPM members continue to internalize the Spirit of Community by making conscious efforts and choices to help one another solve problems, overcome challenges and become the best manufacturers in the world. Hope to see you at the conference! Letha Keslar ARPM Managing Director

Managing Editor: Dianna Brodine Art Director: Becky Arensdorf Published by:

Phone: 317.863.4072 | Fax: 317.913.2445 | © Copyright 2019 ARPM Officers and Board of Directors President Dave Jentzsch, Blair Rubber Past President Tim Jarvis, Continental ContiTech Treasurer Marel Riley-Ryman, Southern Michigan Rubber Secretary Joe Keglewitsch, Ice Miller LLP

4 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

ARPM Board of Directors Kirk Bowman, The Timken Group Charlie Braun, Custom Rubber Corporation Joe Colletti, MarshBellofram Randy Dobbs, Sperry & Rice LLC Lisa Huntsman, Cooper Standard ISG Steve Nieto, Tahoma Rubber and Plastics Tom Pitstick, Gates Corporation Mike Recchio, Zeon Chemicals L.P. Mike Smith, Basic Rubber and Plastics John Stourac, Zochem Joe Walker, Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies

2150 SW Westport Dr., Suite 101 Topeka, KS 66614 Phone: 785.271.5801 ARPM Team Executive Director Troy Nix – Managing Director Letha Keslar – Project Management Coordinator Beth Jeffries – Marketing Director Marcella Kates –

Built on Relationships - ChemSpec Delivers More! Ń 7HFK 5HJXODWRU\6XSSRUW






October 2-4 | Indianapolis Downtown Marriott | Indianapolis, IN The goal of the Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference is to help plastics and rubber companies JNQSPWFUIFJSPQFSBUJPOTBOEUBDUJDTJOPSEFSUPJNQBDUCPUUPNMJOFQSPmUT5IJTZFBST#FODINBSLJOH BOE#FTU1SBDUJDFTDPOGFSFODFXJMMBEESFTTMFBEFSTIJQ PQFSBUJPOBMCFTUQSBDUJDFT UIFMBUFTUmOBODJBM CFODINBSLT TBMFTBOENBSLFUJOH UIFJNQBDUPGFNQMPZFFTPOUIFCPUUPNMJOFBOENVDINPSF With over 650 plastics and rubber professionals expected to meet in Indianapolis, on October 2-4, the conference staff has created a schedule packed with best practices, leading-edge benchmarks, expert QSFTFOUBUJPOTBOEUIFCFTUOFUXPSLJOHPQQPSUVOJUJFTJOUIFJOEVTUSZ

Takeaways » Operational Best Practices » -FBEFSTIJQ4USBUFHJFT » 4VQFSJPS/FUXPSLJOH » Financial Benchmarks





Prices ARPM Members: $850 Lunch & Learn $55

Non-Members (processors only):   Lunch & Learn $55

GROUPS OF 4 OR MORE: $750 Member $900 Non-member

Photo credits: Creative Technology Corp.

Speakers Keynote: Chris McChesney, Franklin Covey

Chris McChesney is the co-author of the best-selling book in the world on strategy execution titled, “The 4 Disciplines of Execution.� McChesney has presented on some of the biggest stages in the world, including at the Global Leadership Summit, the World Business Forum at the Lincoln Center in New York City and in Sydney, Milan, Mexico City and Madrid. He has personally led many of the most noted implementations of the 4 Disciplines, including the State of Georgia, Marriott International, Kroger, Coca Cola, Comcast, FritoLay, Lockheed and more.

Ross Bernstein

The best-selling author of nearly FIFTY sports books, Ross Bernstein is an awardwinning peak performance business speaker who’s keynoted conferences on four continents for audiences as small as 10 and as large as 10,000. He’s spent the better part of the past 20 years studying the DNA of championship teams and his program, “The Champion’s Code: Building Relationships Through Life Lessons of Integrity and Accountability from the Sports World to the Business World,â€? not only LOOXVWUDWHVZKDWLWWDNHVWREHFRPHWKHEHVWRIWKHEHVWLWDOVRH[SORUHVWKHĹ…QHOLQHEHWZHHQFKHDWLQJ and gamesmanship in sports as it relates to values and integrity in the workplace.

Kirk Weisler

Kirk Weisler, president of Team Dynamics, has over 18 years of experience with executive coaching, speaking and research in building strong workplace cultures. His perspective is simple and unpretentious, and his suggestions are applicable and undiluted. Referred to as the “People Whisperer� for his exceptional way of connecting with people, Weisler is known for his ability to share personal life stories, converse with his audience and offer coaching that builds trust and inspires action. His book “The Dog Poop Initiative� has sold over 80,000 copies and is used by Boeing Aircraft in its Six Sigma Lean program and by managers in morning huddles or weekly kick-off meetings.

Tim Riesterer

Tim Riesterer has dedicated his career to improving the conversations companies have with prospects and customers. He’s written three books on the subject – “Customer Message Management,� “Conversations that Win the Complex Sale,� and “The Three Value Conversations� – based on actual decision-making science research. Riesterer is a highly sought after researcher, author, speaker and consultant in the area of creating and delivering customer conversations that win!

Indianapolis Marriott Downtown 350 West Maryland Street Indianapolis, IN 46225 Visit and click on the Hotel link to make your reservation.

Pre-Conference Events Âť Plant Tour of Makuta Technics Inc.

Âť Supplier User Events from MBS Advisors, Paulson Training and IQMS

Âť Young Professionals Events

Find out more at 7


The Impact of Innovation – and the Bottleneck of Rubber Industry Resource Constraints By Erick Sharp, president, ACE Products & Consulting


nnovation has been moving at breakneck speed in the rubber industry over the past decade. This innovation is coming from all ends of the market. New types of synthetic polymers, recycled feedstocks and renewable feedstocks have accelerated in the raw material sector. Industry 4.0 is starting to dominate processing and fabrication sectors of the rubber industry. End applications have been transitioning to smarter and more efficient technologies, which have forced changes in desired elastomer properties. All of these innovations have a dramatic impact on testing methods and specifications. Method development Official industry standards are created, approved and modified by designated expert committees within a standards organization. Many of the standards used within North America are set by American Standard Test Method International (ASTM). Typically, these committees meet a couple times per year to review changes and additions needed. They rely on submitted data and experimentation from the industry as guidance for establishing the methods. This process can take years, depending upon the complexity of the standard and the schedule of the committee. The rapid speed of innovation has created an increase in the demand for new test method development. Since many of these innovations can’t afford long delays, test method development is determined during the development of the product. Instead of requesting that a specific international test method be performed by a laboratory, those developing test methods must review everything a product experiences in end application. From that, a laboratory can begin to establish parameters and specifications. Simulation models for durability often are used to help identify potential limits. Specialized testing With innovation comes unique applications. Often, these applications require elastomers to perform in new, dynamic ways. Existing test equipment and methods sometimes can’t create the needed correlation to the end application. This requires specialized test fixtures and methodologies to be developed specific to that product application.

8 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

Instead of asking a laboratory to test a product to a specific method, customers now are asking laboratories to find a way to simulate the product’s life cycle at an accelerated speed. This involves designing and engineering fixtures that create endapplication aging on the test specimen at a rapid rate. Once baselines are established, correlations must be drawn to actual field application. Matching these correlations will allow for product life cycle expectations to be calculated. Customized testing can become an accredited test method, even if it isn’t an international standard test method. If the laboratory creating and performing the test method is ISO / IEC

17025-accredited, the customer can follow the procedure to have it added to the scope of accredited test methods. Electrical vehicle technology The automotive industry is one of the largest sectors for elastomers. When an industry sector that large innovates technology, it can dramatically change the landscape of the raw material sources feeding it. With current combustion engine technology, many rubber products on an automobile are designed around heat and oil resistivity. Raw material selection and compound designs are centered around these specifications. A transition to full-electric vehicles will completely change the desired properties of rubber products for the automotive industry. Electrical and thermal properties soon will become the two new buzz words. This transition dramatically swings the polymer selection and other raw material requirements. Additionally, it will change the types of testing required. Currently, ASTM D2000 is a household term for a rubber chemist. As testing requirements continue to shift from oil aging and fuel resistance to surface resistivity and thermal conductivity, laboratories will be switching out aging blocks for multimeters and capacitors. New methods will be required to best match the demand and strain seen in this application. Automotive companies are pushing weekly to extend battery life, speed charging and find ways for continuous charging. Each improvement often results in changes to auxiliary products supporting the battery technology. The automotive industry has an aggressive timeline to transition toward electric vehicles. This requires the rubber industry to innovate products and test methods at rapid speeds. Compliance testing On August 30, 2018, the amended version of California Proposition 65 took effect. This added a new layer of regulatory compliance to consider when making materials for the rubber industry. Depending on where the end products containing rubber components end up, there might be several compliance regulations to which one needs to conform.

specifications continue to grow in length every year. Suppliers of these products must have them tested by an accredited laboratory at specified recurrences to ensure they comply to these standards. Going forward Innovation will continue to increase the demand for laboratory testing, along with research and development. In an industry losing more technical people than it is gaining, that demand can become an issue. Third-party and independent laboratories will need to bridge the resource gap while keeping up with the innovation demand. Recruitment of next-generation engineers, chemists and technicians is critical to the industry and must become a priority. Innovation cannot afford to be bottlenecked by rubber industry resource constraints. ď ľ Erick Sharp is the founder and CEO of ACE Products & Consulting. In January 2015, Sharp founded ACE to provide accredited testing and development services to the rubber industry. He has 17 years of experience in the rubber industry, previously holding key roles within Lauren International, Edgetech UK and Portage Precision Polymers. Sharp has a passion for innovation, technology and developing the next generation within the rubber industry. For more information, call 330.577.4088 or visit


As the environment grows as a priority, globally the regulatory lists grow. This means rubber products entering these regions must be tested to see if they contain any of the elements or chemicals listed. Testing to identify these materials is typically done by X-ray fluorescence (XRF) scanning or by extractions methods, such as inductively coupled plasma (ICP). Higher performance requirements We now live in a time when automobiles regularly last past 200,000 miles, airplanes travel half the distance of the globe on a single flight, and high-tech instruments orbit space for decades. This means each component of these products must improve. Specifications on rubber components for automobiles have been updated several times over the past decade. The low temperature stability of aerospace gaskets has continued to get lower. Test 9


Safety Superheroes at Bruckman Rubber By Liz Stevens, contributing writer, Inside Rubber


n 1961, Charles “Chuck” Bruckman established Bruckman Rubber in Hastings, Nebraska, which is just south of I-80 and the Platte River, and is the birthplace of Kool-Aid. Nowadays, Bruckman Rubber’s 80 employees are likely to join in the fun at the annual Kool-Aid Days festival in Hastings, but when they are at the plant it’s safety, not fun, that needs to be top of mind. Running three shifts and offering compounding, molding, deflashing/finishing and tool & die manufacturing, the Bruckman team is serious about playing it safe, especially around the company’s 28 compression presses, 15 injection presses and two transfer presses. Mikayla Richardson, Bruckman’s assistant controller and safety director, shared information about some of the methods the company uses to safeguard employees and visitors. Richardson sketched out four powerful initiatives at the company: a compelling PowerPoint history/safety presentation, a life-sized poster reminder that even superheroes can get hurt, morning stretch meetings to warm up muscles and brains, and regular visits by a physical rehab specialist.

First, watch this Bruckman Rubber shows all new visitors and customers a short PowerPoint presentation before they enter the production floor. In addition to giving an overview of the company’s capabilities and processes, the presentation stresses safety issues.

The presentation also goes over the required personal protective equipment (PPE) that visitors must wear and the reasons for these requirements. Richardson said that visitors have responded very well and have remarked that this is one of the best presentations they have seen on the topic. Check out the superhero In the staff locker room, a life-sized poster of Batman greets employees and reminds them – graphically – that safety counts. Batman is Bruckman’s 2019 safety superhero, and he bears evidence of the company’s injuries for the year. For each injury at the plant, Batman sports a sticker in the area of the body where the employee sustained an injury, and the details of each injury are written onto the poster. The company got the idea of using a safety poster at an ARPM plant tour event, and decided to give it a try at Bruckman to show employees where injuries were occurring. Batman, a favorite superhero, was chosen to remind workers – in a highly visual manner – to be cautious around typical rubber industry danger points. Richardson notes that the initiative, which was implemented this year, has had a measurable impact. “Overall, our safety culture has significantly improved,” said Richardson. “Since

“We want our customers to know how important safety is – not just for our employees, but for anyone who comes into our plant,” said Richardson. “This presentation allows us to forewarn our visitors what to expect, and what is expected of them – such as don’t touch anything without wearing gloves (due to chemicals in use) and stay inside the painted aisleways.” 10 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

page 12 

October 8 - 10, 2019 Technical Meeting Topics:


featuring the Expo, 196th Technical Meeting, Educational Symposium and so much more!

• Advanced Materials in Healthcare • Advances in Materials and Processes for Car and Truck Tires • Elastomers in Electronic Applications • Mechanics & Modeling of Rubber • New Commercial Development • Recycling, Sustainability & Retreading • Rubber Bonding and Adhesion • Rubber for Shock, Damping, Noise & Vibration Applications • Silicone Materials for Rubber • Testing and Predicting Behavior of Rubber and Tires • Tire Processing, Manufacturing & Testing Equipment • Thermoplastic Elastomers • Winter Tire Technology • Contributed Session

The International Elastomer Conference is the

Educational Symposium Courses:

premier place where educators, customers,

• Essentials of Rubber Technology • Basic Rubber Compounding • Silicone Rubber Chemistry and Technology • Compound Mixing and Consistency • Compounding Fluoroelastomers • Establishing a Rubber Molding Process

manufacturers and suppliers of materials, equipment, tools and services come together. This event is the one place, one time of year, where you find the best of the best of our industry all under one roof. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, observations, regulatory reforms and emerging scientific technologies, as well as learning, networking seeing current customers and developing

This is an ideal conference/expo for companies involved with: Machinery and Equipment, Chemical Suppliers, Rubber Processing, Natural and Synthetic Rubber, Raw Materials Suppliers, Testing and Research, Mold Release Agents, Molding, Extrusion and Parts Production, Custom Services, Compounding and Mixing Services, Manufacturing or Distribution, Recycling, Advanced Materials in Healthcare, TPEs

new ones.

Visitors Include:

Interested in exhibiting or attending? Visit for details.

Chemists, Product Manufacturers, Distributors and Suppliers, Purchasing Professionals, Machinery Manufacturers, Machinery and Testing Equipment Users and Manufacturers, Raw Materials Suppliers, Manufacturers Looking For Component Suppliers and Rubber Products, Quality Assurance Specialists, End Users, Technical Service Representatives, Research and Development Engineers, Product Design Engineers, Sales and Marketing Professionals

Visit for details.

Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland • Cleveland, OH USA

VIEW FROM 30 FEET  page 10

we have taken a serious approach with this practice, our MOD rate (experience modification rate, for calculating workers’ compensation insurance premiums) has dropped due to the increase in safety awareness.” Have a good stretch The company uses a five- to 10-minute morning stretch meeting to loosen up muscles and also to rev up minds. “With many of our positions being labor intensive, the stretching does help our employees by warming up and conditioning their muscles to prepare for the day,” explained Richardson. “Stretch meetings also prepare them mentally by making them more alert.” Bruckman has reviewed its job positions to identify their physical labor demands and has tailored stretch exercises to match, based on recommendations provided by a local physical therapist. “Each department has targeted stretches based on body usage. For example, our trim department and office focus more on arm and wrist stretches versus our molding department, which does a more intensive all-body stretching.” In addition to stretching, the meetings are used to update the departments on company business items, such as general plant

12 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

announcements, job openings, upcoming visitors and the company’s current safety/injury status. An ounce of prevention Two years ago, the company began a program during which a local physical therapist comes on site to survey working conditions and practices to prevent injuries and workers’ comp claims. Now, every two weeks, the physical therapist tours the plant. “The therapist looks at ergonomics for all of our employees and also looks for potentially repetitive motions,” said Richardson. Bruckman then works to remedy any problems that are identified during a walkthrough. Muscle strains are the most common problem found. Employees are encouraged to seek a diagnosis, prognosis and recommendations for treatment and/or therapeutic exercises. Each employee also has a chance to talk to the physical therapist about any other pain, problem or concern – work-related or otherwise. The focus on health and welfare, and the safety initiatives that Bruckman Rubber has embraced, are best practices that any rubber manufacturer can use to protect their most valuable assets – employees, visitors and customers. 


Severe Service Applications Key to High-Performance Elastomer Growth By Smithers Rapra


ue to increasing use in severe service applications, the demand for high-performance elastomers will increase across the next five years, according to a new report from Smithers Rapra, The Future of High-Performance Elastomers to 2024. High-performance elastomers are projected to reach 1.63 million metric tons in 2019 and grow to 2.19 million metric tons by 2024. While a demand increase is expected for elastomers overall, there are certain market factors that will present challenges for specific elastomers. Pricing of precursors, developments in R&D, mergers and acquisitions, and government regulation are among key trends affecting the market. Economic factors including slowing global economies, tariffs and the increasing costs of certain raw materials also could affect the future of high-performance elastomers. While these factors are playing out on a macro scale, they are influencing changes in the elastomer industry.

creating improved product offerings while still keeping prices at an attractive level. Future industry changes, including greater adoption of electric powertrains, also could impact the elastomer market. With rapid and varied advances in e-mobility, the demand for certain elastomers could be affected negatively as the number of combustion-engine vehicles declines. Market growth by elastomer type There are eight types of high-performance elastomers: acrylate, epichlorohydrin, ethylene-vinyl acetate, fluoroelastomers, chlorine-based, high-performance thermoplastic, silicone and other minor higher-performance elastomers, such as ultra-high molecular weight ethylene-propylene-diene-monomer rubber, neodymium-catalyzed butadiene rubber, cyclic olefin elastomers, carboxylated nitrile rubber, hydrogenated nitrile rubber, etc. Chlorine-based, high-performance thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) and silicone elastomers will continue to dominate the market, though the first four groups still are of great importance (see Figure 1). Acrylate elastomers, fluroelastomers, high-

Industry evolution The increase in mergers and acquisition activity within the high-performance elastomers industry is resulting in the downsizing of personnel and a potential cutback in R&D activities. These factors will reduce the development of improved and specialized materials. Many refineries have closed, and a switch to shale gas as a viable energy source has occurred. As a result, raw material availability will be impacted. On the other hand, different demands in the future might have an effect on the supply chain, which could result in some materials being in oversupply while there are shortages of others. Demands from industry, particularly the automotive sector, will drive greatly improved heat- and chemical-resistance properties in highperformance elastomers, creating opportunities for manufacturers. Elastomer suppliers with the ability to invest in R&D activities will lead in 14 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

Figure 1. The global market for high-performance elastomers by type 2024, by volume (%)

performance thermoplastic elastomers and silicone elastomers all will increase in market growth by volume, with silicone elastomers showing the most growth, from 30.3% in 2019 to an expected 31.3% by 2024. On the other hand, elastomers showing a decrease in market growth include epichlorohydrin, chlorine-based and other minor high-performance types. Chlorine-based elastomers, though dominant in the industry, are expected to decrease most, from 23.3% in 2019 to 21.7% in 2024. Ethylene-vinyl acetate elastomers are expected to remain the same.

Figure 2. The global market for high-performance elastomers by country 2024, by volume (%)

Leading end-use applications Top markets for end use of high-performance elastomers are building, construction and civil engineering; consumer, leisure and sport; electric and electronic; medical, food and hygiene; and other. Transportation – which includes automotive, aerospace and rail – is the largest market for high-performance elastomers. Within this group, automotive applications remain by far the most important and probably represent as much as 90% of the high-performance elastomers’ global transportation market. The three dominating segments are transportation; electric and electronic; and building, construction and civil engineering. All three will continue to dominate, though the building, construction


and civil engineering segment is expected to decrease in growth by volume while the other two are expected to continue growing in 2024. The other segment, which consists of engineering and wire and cable, will remain at the same growth by volume in 2024. The remaining segments are expected to decrease, though not by much, across the five-year period. Key growth regions As expected, the Asia Pacific region is not only the largest region sector, but also the fastest growing (see Figure 2). Whether this will continue at the same speed is difficult to say. It is likely that there may be a slowing down in the next few years, due to the regional economy becoming more mature. Japan and South Korea already have experienced this, and it’s expected to continue as the population majority ages. Conversely, the lower-economy Asian Pacific markets will grow much faster, compensating for the slowing in mature Asian economies. Europe and the NAFTA region, especially the US, will expand in line with their population and economic growth, but at a much slower rate than that of the Asian Pacific region. Central and South America, as well as the rest of the world, will witness steady growth of just over 6%, which is more or less in line with the average world compound annual growth rate (CAGR).  For more information on The Future of High-Performance Elastomers and other rubber and elastomers reports from Smithers Rapra, visit 15

INDUSTRY OSHA Announces Delay to Update of HazComm

Orion Announces Price Increases on Specialty and Rubber Carbon Black

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and other US agencies have been involved in a long-term project to negotiate a globally harmonized approach to classifying chemical hazards and providing labels and safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals. The result is the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The GHS was adopted by the United Nations, with an international goal of as many countries as possible adopting it by 2008. OSHA incorporated the GHS into the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) in March 2012 to specify requirements for hazard classification and to standardize label components and information on safety data sheets, which will improve employee protection and facilitate international trade.

Orion Engineered Carbons S.A., a global supplier of specialty and high-performance Carbon Black with US offices in Kingwood, Texas, announced that effective September 1, 2019 or as contracts allow, the company will increase sales prices by $0.08/pound for Rubber grade Carbon Black and $0.07/ pound for Specialty grade Carbon Black produced and sold in North America. On all Rubber grade Carbon Black and on select Standard Specialty grade Carbon Black, Orion will implement a CBO surcharge. The floor CBO surcharge shall be $0.04/pound and will usually be adjusted quarterly. For Low Sulfur Specialty grade Carbon Black, the company will add a CBO surcharge. This surcharge is currently $0.07/pound and will usually be adjusted quarterly. For the US, Orion also is updating certain charges for non-standard services. For more information, visit

The GHS has been updated several times since OSHA’s rulemaking. OSHA is conducting rulemaking to harmonize the HCS to the latest edition of the GHS and to codify a number of enforcement policies that have been issued since the 2012 standard. OSHA notified the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in spring 2018 that it intended to publish a Notice of Public Rulemaking (NPRM) to update its HCS to align with the latest edition of the GHS; the only difference is that it scheduled it to be issued by February 2019. In the recently released spring 2019 agenda, OSHA now indicates that it intends to issue the NPRM in December 2019. For more information, visit

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, an international supplier of sealing solutions, recently inaugurated its expanded manufacturing facility in Pernik, Bulgaria. The addition of more than 1,000 square meters of production and warehouse space allows the facility to further focus on Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) manufacturing and enhance service to customers. The original facility, which opened in Pernik in 2010, produces LSR solutions for automotive, pharmaceutical and sanitary equipment, as well as household electrical appliances and baby care. In addition to molding, the site also has tool design and making capabilities. Advanced LSR Solutions is an area of focus for Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, and the facility at Pernik works in close collaboration with the Swiss center of excellence for LSR in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland. For more information, visit

Tim Morris, John Bailey Honored by ASTM International

Trelleborg Expands Silicone Solutions Facility in Bulgaria

Tim Morris, vice president of manufacturing for ML Products LLC in Noble, Oklahoma, was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by ASTM International’s rubber and rubber-like materials committee (D11). An ASTM International member since 1994, Morris was honored for his 25 years of service to the committee in the development and maintenance of international standards for the rubber industry, as well as his leadership contributions as a sub-chairman and main committee officer. John Bailey, president, OkStats Inc., Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, also received the Distinguished Service Award by ASTM International’s rubber and rubber-like materials committee (D11). An ASTM International member since 1988, Bailey was honored for more than 30 years of service to the committee in the development and maintenance of international standards for the rubber industry, as well as his outstanding leadership contributions as a sub-chairman. For more information, visit

16 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

Thermoid Launches Transporter® Fuel Delivery Hose – Black Dublin, Ohio-based Thermoid, an industrial rubber products manufacturer, has announced the launch of the new Transporter Fuel Delivery Hose – Black. The Transporter hose is engineered to convey a variety of common fuels for use on commercial and residential delivery trucks for fuel oil heaters. The hose features

a smooth Thermalon cover to provide durability and longevity against ozone, abrasion and oil. Thermoid’s Thermocure manufacturing process provides the Transporter Delivery hose with consistent interior diameter and outside diameter, and the in-house compounding process delivers more pure and consistent polymers for the manufacturing process and end product. The Transporter Fuel Delivery Hose – Black is the third hose to be released in the Transporter Series of hoses. For more information, visit

Vystar Contracts Rubber Expert for Deproteinized Dry Rubber and Latex R&D Vystar Corporation, Worcester, Massachusetts, the creator of Vytex Natural Rubber Latex, extended and expanded its multi-year contract with Ranjit K. Matthan, Ph.D. Matthan, an internationally renowned latex and rubber science expert, will oversee multiple new initiatives. Matthan will steer research & development for the development of deproteinized dry rubber – which has potential for use in the $227 billion (US) global automotive tire market – as well as continue development of custom formulations for specific applications for Vytex deproteinized latex. Vystar also has contracted with Polymer Consultancy Services PLC (P) Ltd. for related R&D activities under the direction of Matthan. For more information, visit

Akron Rubber Development Lab Opens New Barberton Campus Independent testing and development laboratory Akron Rubber Development Laboratory, Inc. (ARDL) announced the June 2019 grand opening of its Barberton, Ohio, campus. The new facility will provide space to add more capacity and new capabilities. As more operations are moved to the Barberton Campus, customers will notice faster turnaround time and better communication with all departments being in one facility. Until then, customers will not experience delays, as ARDL will operate out of its three current buildings. The grand opening marked the completion of the first 30,000 sq. ft. of renovations and coincided with ARDL’s annual Spirit Day celebration. For more information, visit

Jim Wirtz Named President at REP Corporation James P. Wirtz II has been named president of REP Corporation, a rubber molding presses and related equipment company that is a subsidiary of REP International, based in Lyon, France. Previous president Tim Graham has decided to take a reduced role at the company. Wirtz came to REP in 2014 as service manager and brings nearly a lifetime of experience in the rubber molding industry to his new role, in which he will be responsible for management and corporate direction of REP Corporation, based in Kodak, Tennessee. For more information, visit

ACH Solution USA, Inc. Opens Technical Sales Office in Sarasota ACH Solution USA, Inc. – an exclusive representative of international provider of tooling and complete turnkey cells for LSR and HTV materials ACH Solution GmbH – hosted an open house to celebrate the grand opening of its new technical sales office in Sarasota, Florida. The event was kicked off at the facility with opening presentations by Steve Broadbent, the general manager of the newly formed company, and Christian Hefner, the owner. Hefner outlined his plans for the new company as an investment to better support US customers by allowing ACH Solution to react faster to customer needs. For more information, visit

USW Names New Chair of Rubber/Plastic Industry Council United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway named Kevin Johnsen to lead the union’s Rubber/Plastic Industry Council (R/PIC). Johnsen replaces former R/PIC chair Stan Johnson, who retired on July 15. Johnsen joined the union as a member of Local 915L in 1990 as a maintenance electrician at Dunlop Tires in Huntsville, Alabama. Within a year, he was elected as a shop steward and a member of the safety committee. He was elected maintenance division chair in 1995. In addition to maintenance division chair, he served as Rapid Response coordinator and as a delegate to his area labor council. In 2003, Johnsen was named a union staff representative in District 9. He has served as the coordinator of the USW’s collective bargaining agreement with Goodyear since 2006. For more information, visit

ACE Offers USA Rubber Training Week in Conjunction with TechnoBiz Rubber and silicone experts Ace Products & Consulting, Ravenna, Ohio, in collaboration with TechnoBiz, is offering five specialized training seminars on rubber processing. The seminars will take place from December 2 through December 5, at ACE’s facility in Ravenna, Ohio. The topics are geared for chemists, engineers and technical managers in the rubber industry. The courses will be led by Dr. Robert Schuster, a scientist and technologist with more than 40 years of experience in the rubber industry. Classes include Property Design by Optimal Curing Technology; The Impact of Compounding, Mixing and Vulcanization on Fatigue Life and Durability; Reinforcement of Rubber by Low and High-Aspect Nano-Fillers; Thermoplastic Elastomers; and Specialty Rubbers. Registration is $1,800 for all four days of training. For more information, visit  17


3rd Quarter Report: Technical Standards for Dynamic Seals


hen an engine, pump or a bearing leaks lubricant from a moving component, there has been a seal failure – that is, a dynamic radial lip seal failure… not a static o-ring, and not a gasket.

Dynamic seals, more commonly known as radial lip seals, typically are geometrically Greg Vassmer shaped rings of rubber with a metal ARPM reinforcing insert to which the rubber is Technical bonded. The ring shape is important because Coordinator in all dynamic (moving) applications, the seal is holding back lubricant that is trying to squeeze out between the seal and a rotating or reciprocating shaft. Think of it this way: In almost all cases where a shaft, bearings and oil are present, there will be a radial lip seal keeping the oil in and contaminants out. Our involvement? ARPM is the premiere US industry trade organization publishing guidelines and standards for radial lip seals and the rubber material used to make them. Seals are so important that test programs absorbing thousands of hours are used to validate new designs. ARPM standards can help. Start with a copy of OS-20. This collects all the terminology used regarding lip seals and helps customers discuss seals with suppliers. It is a valuable reference. How does a newcomer specify a successful seal for each application? The OS-4 application guideline does just that. For details, see also OS-2, the important features of a seal; OS-5, an in-depth guide to the garter spring used in many seals; and, very importantly, OS 1-1, the industry recommendation for the shaft surface that provides the best mating interface for lip seals. With a seal specified, the supplier and end user both want to know if the design performs as expected. Understanding performance before the seal is put into the field is critical to all the engine, pump, gas spring and hydraulic machinery manufacturers using seals. In the 1980s, a “standard” change in engine oil grade caused systematic failure with many engine seals then on the market. Since the new lubricant had not been tested for its effect on the specific rubber used in engines (it was a great lubricant otherwise), failures began occurring in cars sold to consumers – a tremendous potential warranty problem. 18 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

Seal quality comes in two forms: Quality of manufacture and quality of performance. In OS-16 are detailed the methods for measuring seals being manufactured, ensuring the final product meets the dimensions and material properties agreed upon by supplier and customer. Six of these items are critical enough to warrant their own guidelines. They are worth noting. • • •

• •

The rubber portion of the seal should never separate from the rigid insert of steel or plastic to which it is bonded. See OS-14. The force with which the seal presses against the shaft must be correct. See OS-6 and OS 1-3. The seal should reach its expected performance life under the expected extreme application conditions. OS-9 illustrates what can be expected as application conditions change. Similarly, under cold conditions, the seals should remain flexible and able to retain lubricant. OS-10 outlines the various methods for testing rubber under cold conditions and when seal performance may be compromised. If the seal must exclude contaminants, then see OS-18 for how to determine the ability of the seal to accomplish this. A seal sliding on a rotating shaft generates a torque that absorbs power from the shaft and generates heat. The desire is to minimize this torque while keeping the seal in contact with the shaft and retaining oil – a compromise. OS-15 describes how to measure the torque and subsequent power consumption.

Finally, when something goes wrong and an oil leak occurs, we can look to the following ARPM guides: • OS-17 is a systematic breakdown of seal failure modes and potential causes – the best generic troubleshooting guide available. • OS-8 describes visual variations the customer may see upon inspection of a seal and gives guidance on when the variation may start to impact performance. • The Referee Measuring Guide is used to bring the supplier and customer together on how to measure key parameters for best accuracy and repeatability. This small component is surprisingly complex and sensitive to the surrounding environment. Use the ARPM seal guides to steer the best course to a leak-free product. 

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EHS Summit Emphasizes Preparedness


he 2019 Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Summit was held July 17 and 18 in Columbus, Ohio. The event was the largest to date, with more than 100 attendees gathering to share leadership and safety best practices with other manufacturing professionals. With a focus on world-class safety, over 25 industry safety speakers provided implementable ideas that attendees could use to improve their own operations. Speakers stress preparation and prevention Keynote speaker Kina Hart offered a firsthand account of the importance of safety by recounting the tragic loss of her left arm in a conveyor belt accident. She described how lack of knowledge and training contributed to the day that forever changed her life. Driving home that the last line of defense is safety first, Hart encouraged active participation in safety while also discussing the effect injuries have on coworkers, family and friends. Following the emotional keynote address, attendees had the opportunity to participate in roundtable discussions to grow their peer networks and exchange ideas on the most pressing EHS topics. Breakout sessions then provided a deep dive into relevant topics, including detailed information on the requirements for Tier II reporting; mill and calender operational safety, including a drill rescue video; issues arising from the legalization of marijuana in some states; fall hazard recognition and protection procedures; and monitoring and controlling air emission sources.

20 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

How to Survive an OSHA Inspection Chris Whitehorne, U.S. Compliance Employee complaints are the most common source of OSHA inspections. Typically, if a former employee registers a complaint, OSHA will send a letter to your facility. When you respond in a sufficient manner to that letter, OSHA closes out the complaint without an on-site visit. However, if an active employee reports an imminent danger – such as entering into confined spaces without proper monitoring or working at heights above 12 feet without fall protection – and OSHA determines that there’s imminent danger to a current employee, that typically will trigger an on-site inspection by OSHA. Many times, these complaint inspections occur because the employee has brought the concerns up at a safety committee meeting or to a supervisor, and they’ve fallen on deaf ears. Eventually, the employee comes to a point of being so disgruntled or concerned about their own health and safety that OSHA is notified. One of the biggest things an employer can do to eliminate the potential for OSHA visits due to employee complaints is to address employee concerns. Do they have complaints? If they are voicing them, are you tracking them? Are you addressing them in a timely manner? These are critical questions.

A Safety Professional’s Guide to Prepare for, React to and Address Workplace Violence Events Scott Lowry, Three60 Response LLC In the event of an active shooter situation, pre-planning must take place between the emergency responders in your community and your company. Some of the items to be addressed include the following: Command post. Preestablish where those command posts are going to be. The fire chief is often the one to do that – to look at your facility and the surrounding area to make recommendations. Make sure the people from your organization who are assigned to the command post know where those locations will be so they can answer questions about the situation occurring and the facility. Perimeter. Emergency responders will need to establish a perimeter around the building to keep people away – loved ones, media, normal traffic flow within the community. You may need to, in preplanning, assist emergency responders in helping to plan that perimeter area. Rally points. The “run” part of “run, hide, fight” is that we want everyone to rapidly evacuate a facility. Rally points are for those people who become injured in running from the facility so medical aid can be given – and emergency services need to know where those rally points are located.

Lockout/Tagout and Machine Guarding Standards

Emergency Planning 101

Bill Wahoff and Nelva Smith, Steptoe-Johnson

Matthew McCrystal, Ohio Emergency Management Agency

If an OSHA compliance officer asks your employees if you have an energy control program, and all you’ve ever talked about is lockout/tagout, they might say, “no.” Keep terminology in mind. When you train your employees, if you don’t give them the right jargon, they might not recognize it in a private interview. Among the many requirements for lockout/tagout procedures, don’t forget these:

The Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) for any organization should contain all of the information necessary to appropriately respond to and recover from an emergency situation. This plan is just like a “go bag,” where all information is in one place and easily can be taken from the site of an emergency to the site where responders are gathered. Information to have on hand and ready to go includes the following:

Periodic inspection. It is required – at least annually – that a review of energy control procedures is conducted. Document the step-by-step process that someone must go through to lockout/tagout each machine on the facility floor – and then list the steps to verify that the energy has been disconnected. If the lockout/tagout is not verified, operators can be injured. Training. Training for authorized and affected employees – and all other employees whose work operations may be in an area where energy control procedures may be utilized – is vital. How often is training conducted? How many new people have joined the department? Retraining. Retraining must be done whenever an employee has a change in job assignment and whenever new machines, equipment or processes that present a new hazard are introduced into the facility.

• • • • •

Recordkeeping / Important forms Pre-scripted messages Important phone numbers Facility and area maps Employee lists

When developing an EOP, don’t start from scratch – there are plenty existing resources and tools. FEMA (www.fema. gov) provides the Comprehensive Preparedness Guide – also known as CPG 101 – to walk novice and experienced planners through plan development with information, checklists and a list of questions to consider. The Ohio Emergency Management ( also offers several resources.

page 22  21

REVIEW  page 21

ARPM honors best practices in safety The Safety Best Practice Awards seek to celebrate, recognize and share best practices from ARPM members. Submissions aligned with topics that included employee safety training, safety committees, safety audits/walk-throughs, emergency training, behavior-based safety, tracking/displaying safety metrics, equipment and mold change safety, safety communication and other innovative safety best practices. The submissions from ARPM members included photographs, video, copies of policies and activity checklists. The following 2019 Safety Best Practice Award winners were announced at the EHS Summit: First Place: Smithers Description of Best Practice and Realized Results: 1. Visitor safety pamphlet • We had no prior instructions for visitors to the facility. 2. Laboratory Chemical Hygiene Plan (OSHA compliant) • We had an outdated plan. The current plan is up to date and OSHA compliant. 3. Safety inspection form with site map • We have found the inspection form much easier to use now that a site map is included, with locations of the fire extinguisher, emergency lighting and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) noted on the map and form. Second Place: Zeon Chemicals LP Description of Best Practice: We pass around “clickers” or small devices that poll the training audience. We use them for “pre-testing” on training material, during training to keep employees engaged and during post-testing to determine training effectiveness. We use them to gather input (such as what kind of recycling activity we should do this quarter) or simply to ask fun questions, like “Who is going to win the NCAA March Madness tournament?” Realized Results: Employees (plant operators, managers, executives, PhD scientists) all LOVE using the clickers and frequently ask us to use them more often. The use has greatly 22 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

increased employee engagement during training sessions and improves understanding/application of the material. Plus, it is fun! We have started using clickers to survey employees’ opinions on culture as well. The software we use collects the votes and retains the information in electronic reports. It is pretty easy to install and use. Third Place: Bruckman Rubber Company Description of Best Practice: We utilize a safety cross that tracks what days we did or did not have accidents: Green is no accident, yellow is a near miss and red is a days away restricted or transferred (DART) accident. Right beside the safety cross is a life-sized Batman poster. A sticker is placed on Batman’s corresponding body location to the location of the accident/injury (yellow stickers for yellow days, and red stickers for red days). We then write a quick description of the accident that occurred. Realized Results: The safety cross and Batman keep people updated on what is occurring and raise awareness of what to look for in the facility when assessing safety risks. Batman also draws more attention, making people think of safety more often than they have before. EHS Summit to reconvene in 2020 Thank you to those companies that sponsored and exhibited in 2019, including Ice Miller, ACE Products and Consulting LLC, Steptoe & Johnson LLC, Grainger, Upstart, Akron Rubber Development Laboratory, US Compliance, HZW Environmental Consultants, Smithers Inc., Blair Rubber and Encamp. Thank you, too, to the Safety Award Sponsor, Maplan. The 2020 EHS Summit will return to Columbus next summer. 

Read in-depth articles on EHS Summit topics in upcoming issues of Inside Rubber.

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Leadership Training: Paths for Cultivating Tomorrow’s Leaders By Liz Stevens, contributing writer, Inside Rubber


re leaders born or made? Warren Bennis, author of more than 30 books and an adviser to four US presidents, conducted comprehensive research on leadership and came to this conclusion: “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” Many companies share this philosophy, yet find it challenging to put the belief into action. How does a company cultivate and train the new leaders it needs? Some companies identify workers with the potential to become leaders and then train them in-house via coaching or mentoring by veteran employees. Other companies turn to the colleges and universities in their communities for structured programs that develop leadership skills. ARPM members also have an industry-specific resource available – the Young Professionals Network. On-the-job leadership training Companies that conduct in-house leadership training often pair emerging leaders with experienced mentors who have the mindset and skills of leadership. This might entail job shadowing or regular meetings and coaching sessions. The pros of informal, on-the-job training are that it is simple, quick and economical. This method of training also ensures that new leaders have the same “vibe” as the rest of the company, which can be valuable in maintaining company culture. On the minus side, however, not all company leaders make good teachers, and in-house training often is a rushed, incomplete endeavor. While many people can learn leadership skills and techniques from company mentors, not all mentors are accomplished in the full range of desirable leadership tools – including strong communication, team building and engagement, delegating, coaching, conflict resolution, managing complaints, planning and supporting change, and providing feedback and discipline. That’s where formal training can pay off in terms of its cost and time investment. 24 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

University-based training Newman Sanitary Gasket Company, Lebanon, Ohio, has tapped its community’s university-based leadership training program to give its emerging leaders a strong head start. Betsy Newman, vice president, explained that the company has a policy of promoting from within. When surveying its 50 to 60 employees, the company keeps an eye out for those with strong industry skills and leadership potential. “If we see somebody that we think either has valuable skill sets for the corporation or looks like our next logical leader, we will invest in their leadership training,” said Newman. Newman Gasket sends its employees to the Leadership Development Institute at the University of Cincinnati. The Institute’s program includes 10 half-day workshops, spaced over the course of 10 months, that cover topics such as strengths-based leadership, relationship management, team effectiveness and problem solving. In this program, emerging leaders are mentored by seasoned CEOs and presidents of local companies who offer their expertise and wisdom. Newman Gasket has invested in this leadership training for several employees, including a maintenance professional who already had some leadership experience. The training program

enhanced that experience and provided tools that led to an improvement in communication skills. Rubber industry training options The ARPM Young Professionals Network is available to professionals under the age of 45 from ARPM member companies. “The YP Network is set up to foster relationships, offer networking opportunities and encourage sharing best practices,” explained ARPM’s Beth Jeffries. The YP Network hosts events year-round that are exclusively for young professionals in the rubber industry, including a pre-conference session at the annual Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference. In addition, the Network takes part in leadership and development opportunities. “This spring, the group participated in the Leadership Summit which gave young professionals the opportunity to hone leadership skills,” said Jeffries. The 2019 Leadership Summit was held in conjunction with MAPP in Louisville, Kentucky, in April. The two-day event included learning modules presented by a professional leadership trainer on topics such as building one’s character ethos, giving meaningful feedback and de-escalating interpersonal conflicts. Doug Foster, laboratory manager at Ace Products and Consulting, Ravenna, Ohio, was a first-time participant at this year’s Summit. Foster found the insight from other participants to be valuable, along with the opportunity to network with industry colleagues. He especially appreciated the leadership seminars. “The leadership portion of the Summit was extremely engaging and introduced a whole new mindset to me both personally and professionally,” said Foster. “It was inspiring and helped drive thought leadership and development.” Foster explained that the leadership seminars stressed the value of critical introspection and personal development, which then improves a leader’s interactions with others. Summit attendees also received one-on-one coaching, which Foster said was a key feature of the event. As with the other participants, Foster left with a personalized development plan. Choose a path and grow Whether they opt to train in-house, through local colleges and universities, or by participation in an industry group, ARPM member companies can give their emerging trailblazers valuable education and support with targeted leadership training. More information about the Young Professional Network can be found at  Photo credit: Creative Technology Corp.

advantage Practical Advice for the Rubber Industry Ice Miller focuses on meeting the needs of our clients quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. Ice Miller attorneys with rubber industry experience can assist with your greatest legal challenges. Contact Josef Keglewitsch at 614-462-2279 or for more information. 100+ lawyers from Ice Miller recognized by Best Lawyers in America®

300+ lawyers in Columbus and other offices

Ice on Fire 25

MEMBER NEWS ARPM Announces Safety Award Winners The winners of the 2019 Safety Awards were announced at the 2019 EHS Summit, July 17 and 18, in Columbus, Ohio. Two award categories were presented: The Safety Awards – OSHA 300 and the Safety Best Practice Awards. The ARPM Safety Awards program is a way to recognize safety in the industry and facilities that have achieved a level of safety performance above the industry average. Awards are based on data reported on a company’s annual OSHA 300 Log of WorkRelated Injuries and Illnesses. Safety Awards – OSHA 300 Honorees Gold Distinguished Safety Awards: Zochem - Dickson, Tennessee Zochem – Brampton, Ontario Baker Hughes, a GE Company Honorable Award: Blair Rubber Company LMI Custom Mixing, LLC The Safety Best Practice Awards seek to celebrate, recognize and share best practices from ARPM members. Safety Best Practice Award Honorees First Place – Smithers Second Place – Zeon Chemicals LP Third Place – Bruckman Rubber Company For more information on the Safety Best Practice Awards, see the article on page 22.

Plant Tour: Southern Michigan Rubber Planning for Disaster: Lessons Learned from Southern Michigan Rubber August 28, 2019 Event Location: Three Rivers, Michigan On June 5, 2013, disaster struck at Southern Michigan Rubber (SMR) when a fire began in the dust collection system. The fire quickly spread and caused damage to more than 70% of the facility. Not one employee was hurt, and the company fulfilled all its customer orders. Through the process of recovery and rebuilding, SMR has learned many lessons, added state-of-the-art fire suppression systems and completely revamped its disaster recovery plan. Southern Michigan Rubber was established in 1990 by the Riley family, whose members have more than 100 years of combined experience in the rubber industry. This experience includes management, quality control, customer service, engineering, costing, compounding, troubleshooting and plant maintenance. SMR specializes in ASTM and Mil Spec. requirements, and it 26 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

routinely performs lathe-cutting, extruding and compression/ transfer molding. During this plant tour event, executives from ARPM member companies and special guests will have an opportunity to tour the reconstructed facility in Three Rivers, Michigan, while increasing their knowledge of what disaster recovery looks like. During the tour, participating executives will gain new ideas and have the opportunity to evaluate their disaster plans while also reviewing their business continuity plans in the face of disaster. Register at

ARPM Seeks Subject Matter Experts for New Training Modules The ARPM Training Committee has completed the new Quality training course and currently is working on the development of the next training course – Production Flow and Setup. The preliminary outline includes the following aspects:  Production schedule  Routing steps  Tool maintenance Are you an expert on these topics? ARPM is looking for subject matter experts to assist with topic development. It’s also not too late to sign up for rubber processor training through ARPM. For more information, contact Beth Jeffries at

ARPM Launches Innovation Awards ARPM is pleased to debut the Innovation Awards. ARPM’s Innovation Award seeks to celebrate, recognize and share best practices from ARPM members that are doing what it takes to get ahead in a competitive industry. The 2019 Innovation Award will be for KPI Boards. A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs to evaluate their success at reaching targets and share them with the entire team. To participate in this year’s innovation competition, submit photos or a brief video with a description of your best-practice KPI Board. Winners of this year’s competition will receive an award and recognition at the 2019 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference in October. All submissions will be compiled, and identifying company information will be removed to the best of ARPM’s ability before being sent to the ARPM membership for anonymous voting. Voting will occur in August. Email with any questions.

Join ARPM Young Professionals Network ARPM’s Young Professionals (YP) Network is dedicated to bringing together the innovative, creative and dedicated young professionals from across all ARPM member companies. The YP Network is composed of up-and-coming leaders from all

over the country and in all areas of business. The YP Network hosts events year-round that are exclusively for these young professionals in the rubber industry. Events focus on networking, leadership skills, benchmarking and creating important, lasting connections in the ARPM association. Interested in signing up or learning more? Email Beth Jeffries at or attend an upcoming event.

Participate in the 2019 ARPM Wage and Salary Survey The ARPM staff is excited to ask for your company’s participation in the Wage and Salary Survey data collection process. ARPM’s Wage and Salary Report has become one of the most widely recognized industry benchmarks on compensation in the US rubber industry. The 2019 final report will provide information on more than 60 different job titles in the rubber industry and includes benchmarks on starting and average wages, wage ranges for each job category, average tenure, salary trends and statistical analysis of specific job titles. Members responding to this survey will receive the results via email free of charge. Non-member participants in the survey will be able to purchase the report at 50% off. To participate, go to

ARPM Welcomes a New Sponsor BASF Corporation is the largest affiliate of BASF SE and the second largest producer and marketer of chemicals and related products in North America. BASF creates chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF combines economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, the company enables its customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society.

ARPM Education Outreach Awards Open for Entries In August, ARPM will launch its annual Educational Outreach Contest in celebration of manufacturers who have worked throughout the past 12 months to engage young people and underrepresented populations in the manufacturing industry. This Manufacturing Day, Friday, October 4, ARPM will recognize three member companies with the Educational Outreach Award. To enter, provide a description of the outreach your company engaged in over the last 12 months, along with any supporting pictures, videos, demonstrations or testimonials. For more information, visit 


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Changing the Image of the Rubber Industry By Joe Walker, Global Technology Director, Materials & Laboratory Services, Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies


n February 2019, an industry publication asked its readers if they would advise someone close to them to pursue a career in the tire and rubber industry. The results of the poll were quite revealing, with one-third of respondents answering “no” and another one-third saying “with caution.” I have maintained for many years that the rubber industry has an image problem. With more than 65% of poll respondents replying either “be careful” or “no,” the message is one of lack of confidence. There are many causes for this – many of which are clearly within our control as members of this community. With the average age of a rubber chemist rapidly approaching 59, the industry better do something about this issue – and do it quick.

From my point, I see the same trend in the industry as I see in politics: Large population density locations (such as New York City and California) determine the direction of our Congress – after all, there are more people in the NYC metroplex than in 40 other states. I see a similarity in the ways – some, not all – larger rubber companies determine the direction (in this case, the image and lack of trust) of the entire industry. Some companies in our industry have recognized this and have chosen to engage on this subject to address it. Others have not. We know this is not the fact, but the perception. Unfortunately, the perception is viewed as reality. The results of these various approaches are disturbingly the same; new talent does not look to the rubber industry as a source for long-term, fulfilling careers, and we all suffer. When the ARPM membership goes on tours of Blair Rubber and Custom Rubber – companies where there is strong employee loyalty and highly connected management – we know that this is different than the perception. Unfortunately, “we” have not been able to capitalize on this. We have to find a way – a goal – to correct this image. The general industrial rubber manufacturers are good, resourceful and caring people: People who know their workforce by name; catch them doing good and give them symbolic, on the spot, awards; appreciate their work and their individual commitments to make the company successful. These manufacturers recognize that there is a much more valuable currency in our industry than dollars, and that is respect. These companies also recognize that each associate is not only an ambassador for the company but for the industry. If they take pride in what they do and are aware of how the products they produce relate to everyone who uses them 28 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3


– including perhaps themselves – they “sell” the excitement of being part of this industry. The management teams overtly show this when they show their commitment to giving their workforce an enhanced skill set through support of the ARPM training initiative. We know that we change lives every day through our products and through our commitment to provide a safe and secure environment. This is demonstrated by members like Charlie Braun, who is looking at reducing risk in milling rubber by evaluating advanced, disruptive technologies such as RFID wrist bands.

WE DO GOOD THINGS. Let’s be proud of it and talk about it – as often and as loudly as we can. We advance so that people who consume our silent technologies have more reliability, comfort, safety, security and an overall reduction in complexity of their lives. We point to a tractor and say to our kids or grandkids, “I made the hydraulic seal that allows the tractor to do its job.” “I made that aircraft engine part that enables you to fly at 500 miles an hour and not have any concerns.” “I sealed that engine so you don’t have engine fires.” “I made that pet accessory so that you don’t have your pet destroying your belongings while you’re gone.” We operate the fastest pace of concept-to-reality business in the world. We need to figure out how we use the successes of this magnificent industry to change the impressions that people have of it. We cannot let the actions of a few skew the impression of all. As I am winding down my career, I’m trying to change the image through my speeches, tours for customers, training sessions, coordination of industry events – and yes, notes like this to the only organization for manufacturing members in the industry. I think we can do more. We are close to being in a survival mode now. It concerns me greatly. 




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10 Commandments to Create Lifetime Customers By Tra Williams, author and business consultant


veryone has experienced this at one time or another: What you thought was going to be a simple, everyday transaction for a product or service turned out to be an experience that earned your lifetime loyalty as a customer. Sadly, it doesn’t happen very often. Today’s consumer-driven environment is intently focused on instant availability. More than ever, customers want immediate access and lament any speed bumps between them and the conclusion of the transaction. Immediacy has become the golden calf of customer satisfaction. Customers continually worship the quickest solution with frequent patronage, but the results of that lust for instant gratification have come at a painful price. The line between optimization and true innovation has been blurred as the customer experience has been sacrificed on the altar of speed. Escaping this cult of self-satisfaction, where likes pass for loyalty, requires you to rewrite the rules of comparison. Don’t allow the value of your product or service to be determined by an outside metric. Instead, change the game and redefine what the word “value” means to your customer. Here are the 10 Commandments of value creation and earning a customer for life. 1. Reduce Technology. In today’s world of technology immersion, the human touch matters more than ever. Each escalation of technology reduces human interaction. Each reduction of human interaction is a missed opportunity to earn a lifetime customer who judges the value you provide by metrics that you define… not just speed. When someone takes real time to provide personal enhancements to an individual experience, that’s impressive. You can’t cut through the white noise with more white noise. Remember: Innovative technology usually is meant to optimize our lives. Therefore, you can purchase service optimization but not service innovation. Real service innovation comes from the people within an organization, which brings us to number two. 2. Focus on front-line staff. Your front-line staff – the ones who interact directly with your customers – are the most important people in your organization. It’s not the owner or the vice president – it’s the front-line employee who is friendly and patient, who smiles all the time and who remembers the customers’ names and business needs. That person will ultimately make or break a company. Make sure 30 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

your culture emphasizes treating those employees with the time and attention they deserve, and they will treat your customers the same way. 3. Have a real relationship with your customer. Recognize that the relationship you have with your customer should not be transactional. Of course, it’s important to look for opportunities to make the transaction simpler, easier and more pleasant for the customer. But, it’s also imperative that you add value to their lives in ways that are unrelated to the transaction. Find ways to be a resource, not just a provider. 4. Develop a customer-first culture. Culture starts with a slow and methodical hiring process. The time, money and productivity lost on a hire who is inconsistent with a company’s culture is immeasurable. Take your time and hire the right people. Then, focus on their development. They, in turn, will grow the business. Customer loyalty is built by people, not in spite of them. 5. Cultivate reciprocity. We are hardwired to do more for those who do things for us. When it rains, Chick-fil-A has employees wearing ponchos run to people’s cars when they pull in and hold an umbrella over them while they walk inside – and then escort them back to their cars when they have finished their meal. It’s no wonder their average unit volume is three times the average of most quick-service restaurants, despite being open only six days a week. 6. Eliminate policies. “I’m sorry, Ma’am. That’s just our policy.” These words should never be uttered in business. They reveal to your customer that your culture values adherence to arbitrary rules more than customer satisfaction. You should have only one policy: Do everything within your power to exceed your customers’ expectations. 7. Empower your team. If you’ve followed Commandments #2 and #4, then this one should be easy. Every team member should feel empowered to do what is right in each specific situation. “Let me ask my manager” tells your customer that you don’t trust your employees’ discretion or decisionmaking. And, if you don’t trust the people you hire, why should your customers trust that they will have a consistently great experience?

8. Celebrate. Everybody loves a winner, and nobody wants to be on the losing team. Customers want to feel like the money they spend is making the world a better place. Publicly celebrate your wins, your anniversaries, your employee accomplishments (both in and out of work), your growth, your community engagement, your awards and your achievements. Did one of your employees just get her master’s degree? Have a baby? Compete in a triathlon? Celebrate it. This Commandment has the added advantage of developing employee loyalty, as well as customer loyalty.

Tra Williams is a speaker, business consultant and author of the forthcoming book Feed Your Unicorn. He is a nationally recognized thought leader in small business, franchising, leadership and entrepreneurship. Williams works tirelessly with people, professionals and organizations to help them define success on their own terms and build the framework required to sustain it. For more information, visit

9. Raise the stakes. Service innovation inherently means that you are challenging the assumptions of traditional expectations. On the flip side of this coin is the realization that doing something new also is a new opportunity to fail. Fortunately, studies have shown that customers value your effort nearly as much as the result. As such, they are incredibly forgiving of failure so long as every effort was made to succeed. So challenge your team and yourself. Raise the stakes. Go big. Consistent yet average is unimpressive. 10. Have a mission. People are not motivated by what; people are motivated by why. If the goal is to make tons of money and eventually go public, then you have missed the point of this exercise entirely. Where you spend your money is a major part of your identity. Customers align themselves with organizations that mirror who they are, or at least who they’d like to be. Therefore, the motives that drive your organization also drive your customers’ loyalty. Without a mission, you and your customer have no “why.” Embrace these Commandments. Carve them into stone and bring them down from the mountain. If, when you arrive, you find your team obsessed with the golden calf of immediacy, tell them this: In today’s world of instant gratification, do not worship speed. When speed becomes the only metric by which you judge service, then true service becomes irrelevant. Instead of conjuring new ways to complete a transaction faster, make the experience so amazing that the customer will never want it to end.  31


Russian Dandelion Project Could Lead to Source of Natural Rubber By Andrew D. Brosig, The Business Farmer


he humble dandelion, long the bane of suburban homeowners and lawn care specialists alike, may find new life – and new appreciation – as a boon crop in the United States. It all depends on the results of a crosscountry research project Nevin Lawrence, PhD, University of Nebraska integrated weed management specialist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff, is working on with researchers at The Ohio State University and Oregon State University. The research isn’t actually focused on the common dandelion, with the bright yellow flowers and powder-puff seed heads that grace – or deface – lawns across the country. The subject of this study is a special variety that produces a sap that contains a very special product – natural rubber.

Integrated Weed Management Specialist Nevin Lawrence at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Photo credit: Andrew D. Brosig / The Business Farmer

All of the world’s natural rubber for everything from car tires to soles for shoes to belts for industry comes from a handful of plantations located in southeast Asia. The plantations moved there decades ago after a disease wiped out the plantations in the native land of the Brazilian rubber tree. “It’s harvested similarly to maple syrup,” Lawrence said. “You hammer a spigot into a tree and collect (the sap) in buckets. It’s very labor intensive, very difficult.” Research on rubber from dandelions is focused on the root, which will grow to about the size of a smaller carrot by the time it’s ready to harvest, he said. Initial research into the rubber dandelions really came into its own during World War II. Because the only sources of rubber were under threat of Japanese blockades, US officials were worried. Synthetic forms of rubber were available, but they aren’t as high in quality as natural rubber, Lawrence said. Only natural rubber tires can stand up to the extremes of supporting aircraft – first, bombers and fighters in World War II and jet airliners today – he said. 32 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

The initial research focused on three areas: 1) growing Brazilian rubber trees in Florida, 2) a specific species of desert shrub that also produced a sap with the necessary compounds and 3) the rubber dandelions, also known as the Russian dandelion, which is native to the Central Asian nation Kazakhstan. Russian dandelions are far from being the next boom crop, but there are indications it could be an alternative crop sometime in the future, Lawrence said. Right now, the research is focusing on solving a couple of pretty significant problems, particularly in the western Nebraska / eastern Wyoming region. First, when planted in the greenhouse, germination isn’t a problem – everything planted starts to grow, Lawrence said. But, the seeds are so small, they’re susceptible to the cold and very sensitive to moisture, or a lack thereof. “In the greenhouse, 99% of the seed germinates,” Lawrence said. “In the field, it’s considerably lower – 50% all the way down to 3% to 5%. “The small seeds … are not as good at dealing with environmental conditions,” he continued. “They need to be

planted very shallow, but they dry out quickly. Even with overhead irrigation, we can’t put on enough water to keep the seed wet.” One advantage to the plant – which makes it attractive for the western Nebraska / eastern Wyoming region – is it’s pretty hardy, once it gets established. Russian dandelions are drought-, heat- and cold-tolerant naturally, which could make it a good fit for the region. The project currently is funded by a $2 million grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the US Department of Agriculture. DOE is involved, Lawrence said, because the byproducts of the rubber extraction can be processed further to make ethanol. The grant is split between the Nebraska Panhandle Center and Ohio State. “It’s more than just the agronomics,” Lawrence said. “We’re working on improving the germplasm through breeding and the processing. The bulk of the money went to Ohio State, with only one-third focused on the agronomics.”

Lawrence is part of a national team studying the plants as a source of natural rubber as well as possibly an alternative crop for the Panhandle and other parts of the country. Photo credit: Andrew D. Brosig / The Business Farmer

The plants also are susceptible to weed infestations. With typical row crops, once they grow beyond a certain point, the plant itself will block the sun from any growing weeds, effectively choking off the invaders, Lawrence said. Not so with the rubber dandelions, which aren’t much bigger than most of the weeds that cause them problems. Part of Lawrence’s task, then, is finding effective methods of weed control that won’t kill off the desired plants. Despite all the difficulties, it’s still a fascinating project, Lawrence said. And, in one specific case – a farmer in Ohio – it’s working. He’s successfully producing about 50 acres of the Russian dandelions specifically for use by Ohio State researchers as they work on the next step – the best way to process the root to make rubber. Some of that rubber currently being produced by Ohio State researchers already has gone into making products – mostly bicycle tires and smaller items, Lawrence said. “We’ve proved it works,” he said. “We can do it; it’s just a matter of getting the agronomics together.” Another production method being looked at involves hydroponics – growing the dandelions in a liquid nutrient bath. The advantage to the hydroponic method is, as the root reaches usable size, it can just be trimmed off, then allowed to keep growing.

This is definitely a long-term project, Lawrence said. He noted both wheat and corn – two of the most common crops in the region – took thousands of years of manipulation and breeding from their wild origins to become production crops. “What we’re basically doing is taking a wild plant and trying to domesticate it from scratch,” he said. “There’s a lot that goes into that. “Some plants, you can breed all you want, and they’re not going to turn into a corn plant,” Lawrence said. “We’re not sure yet if this has the capacity to be a crop.” The other side of the coin is the economics – the desire of companies to change how they do things currently. Ideally, once Russian dandelions become a viable crop somewhere, companies could build processing facilities to produce the natural rubber for end-users and contract with farmers to grow the dandelion. The researchers across the country have high hopes for the humble dandelions. But it’s still a long time in the future, Lawrence said. “Theoretically, it could be economically groundbreaking for the region,” he said. “We’re just not there yet. “It’s a nice story to tell – moving to a production system, replacing farmland instead of rain forests,” Lawrence said. “It’s a nice story to tell but, at the end of the day, if it’s not profitable for the companies, they’re not going to do it.”  Reprint permission granted by Andrew D. Brosig and The Business Farmer. 33



ACE Products & Consulting LLC .................. 31 Akron Rubber Development Laboratory, Inc. (ARDL)................................ 23

14 Human Resources Peer Networking | 11:00 AM EDT

ARPM ............................................................. 9

15 Senior Leaders Peer Networking | 1:00 PM EDT

ARPM 180 Skills ........................................... 29

28 South Michigan Rubber Plant Tour | Three Rivers, MI

Blair Rubber Company ................................. 13

OCTOBER 2-4 2019 Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference | Indianapolis, IN 8-10 International Elastomer Conference | Cleveland, OH 30 Eagle Elastomer Plant Tour | Cuyahoga Falls, OH

NOVEMBER 20 Webinar: Testing for Quality Control of Mixed Rubber Compounds presented by ARDL | 1:00 PM EDT For the most up-to-date information and to register for events,visit events. 34 Inside Rubber // 2019 Issue 3

Chardon Custom Polymers .......................... 12 Chemspec ...................................................... 5 Eagle Elastomer Inc. .................................... 19 Grainger........................................................ 35 IceMiller ........................................................ 25 International Elastomer Conference ............. 11 Maplan ............................................................ 2 REP Corp. .................................................... 27 Sigmasoft........................................Back Cover

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Inside Rubber - 2019 Issue 3