By Mike McNulty, Rubber & Plastics News Staff
St Joseph, Michigan -- Vail Rubber Works Inc. plans to improve its supply of rollers to key customers and create an avenue for new business with the addition of a plant in Axis, Alabama.
The manufacturer of urethane- and rubber-covered rollers is nearly finished building the facility that will span about 15 000 sq.ft (1393 sq.m), according to president Joseph Hanley.
The site offers Vail Rubber plenty of room for expansion in the future should the need arise, which the company anticipates is a strong possibility, he said.
Hanley said Vail Rubber will open the plant, located near Mobile, Alabama, within the next few weeks.
"We'll start out small and grow from there." Its work force also will be small for the time being but grow as business increases, he said. Financial details weren't released.
Hanley said the facility is designed to serve the covered roll-related needs for various industries in the Southeast, including those in the flat rolled metal market.
Initially, the new building will serve as a processing and service center for Vail Rubber's various customers in that part of the country, but the company intends ultimately to turn it into a manufacturing complex as part of its long-term plan.
However, that again will depend on how much the business grows in the Southeast, Hanley said.
Vail Rubber, launched by William Vail in Chicago in 1904 as a developer and manufacturer of a variety of rubber products like horseshoes and railroad ties, currently operates plants in St. Joseph, where the company is headquartered, and Middletown, Ohio.
Both operations produce polyurethane and rubber covers for rolls, and the company offers mandrel sleeves and urethane pads and products, along with regrinding and regrooving services.
The rubber company also operates a 12 000-sq.ft. surface technology center in St. Joseph that houses its thermal spray coating technologies that Vail Rubber claims can extend part reliability up to four times longer than other methods.
The manufacturer is owned and operated by fourth and fifth generation descendents of the founder. The business custom formulates roll covers it produces for the metal, paper and industrial industries.