From RB Rubber To Ultimate RB
Ultimate RB is a U.S. manufacturer of premium rubber surfacing products and sustainable flooring solutions
Ultimate RB would like you to get to know them—who they are and the journey that took them from one man’s vision to keep used tires out of a local landfill to their place today as one of the largest tire recyclers and recycled rubber products manufacturers in the U.S.
Before keeping tires out of landfills became a worldwide industry, McMinnville, Oregon native Ron Bogh launched RB Rubber with the purchase of an inventor’s process for making matting products out of recycled tire rubber bound with urethane and quickly became the leading manufacturer of equine products in the U.S.
With the success of safe and durable horse stall mats as their flagship product, Bogh and his team continued to innovate over the next ten years developing a molding process to make playground safety tiles and other products with recycled tire rubber, purchasing a tire recycling facility to assure their raw material supply, creating nearly a hundred jobs, taking the company public and in 1999 selling it to Accella Performance Materials (previously DASH Multi-Corp) who wanted to further grow what Bogh had built.
The new ownership expanded the possibilities, McMinnville Economic Development Partnership (MEDP) said. Within two years, the company broadened its flooring products line with the addition of a rolled rubber production division and in May 2014, Accella acquired two Delphos, Ohio-based companies—RDT Manufacturing and RTH Processing.
RTH Processing is the largest US manufacturer of EPDM granules, available in a limitless variety of colors. RDT produces rolled rubber products and tiles made from recycled materials.
The combination of these companies and manufacturing processes sparked the need for a new name, one that would reflect their level of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit: Ultimate RB.
“From being able to just make horse stall mats to adding a whole new division–that today makes twenty different molded products and thirty different rolled goods–was the biggest impact that this company has experienced,” Sue Mathews, Director of Operations at Ultimate RB said in an interview with MEDP.
Ultimate RB operates in a 50,000 sq. ft. facility set on two acres in McMinnville with the machinery and technology to manufacture an extensive array of recycled rubber flooring and surfacing products. The company also produces its own tire crumb, EPDM granules and urethane binder onsite.
Ultimate RB processes over 15,000 tires each day. That’s over 4.6 million tires a year, most of which are pressed into rubber matting. Ultimate RB mats are produced using a proprietary process in which recycled tire crumb and a specially engineered polyurethane binder are fed into a custom built press and subjected to tremendous heat and pressure. The rubber matting that emerges from this process is tough and wear resistant and while the original product idea was horse stall matting, the matting has expanded into the athletic market, truck bed mats, commercial applications and more.
Rolled rubber is manufactured using a “skiving” process in which the ingredients, including tire crumb, are molded into a large cylindrical form. The cylinder is then skived (i.e. peeled) into rolls of various dimensions on a very precise, computer controlled cutting system. Changing the quantity and variety of materials used in molding the cylinders creates rolls with different appearances and physical characteristics. Ultimate Rolled Rubber Flooring is used in fitness centers and health clubs in the athletic market. It’s also used as flooring in the commercial market in schools and healthcare facilities.
Ultimate RB uses three distinct production processes to create its tile products. Tiles generated on the large matting press are extremely dense and durable. Tiles made from the rolled rubber material are lighter and more flexible while its molding process can produce tiles in nearly any shape or configuration
The products are not only eco-friendly, but extremely customizable and engineered for durability. Ultimate RB tests and guarantees every one of their products, so they know their customers are getting the best possible product. The Bounce Back Tiles produced onsite are designed to meet federally mandated “Critical Fall Height” requirements for playground equipment. Bounce Back Tiles were recently installed at the Bear Hugs Child Care facility at McMinnville High School in their outdoor play area.
Ultimate RB is a company constantly in motion, creating and distributing. Throughout its manufacturing facility the focus is on efficiency, product creation and safety. For MEDP, it’s the meld between old and new that makes Ultimate RB a great company. “They’re not afraid to change but are cognizant of what’s come before. Their employee base reflects that as well,” the agency said. Today, Ultimate RB employs 102 people and continues to grow. There’s still some art in the molding of rubber, that, despite automation, Ultimate RB doesn’t see going away.
Ultimate RB has continued to grow and evolve based on the sustainable idea that instead of landfilling tires, they can be used for anything from horse stall mats, to helping quiet the wood flooring in your home, to providing a safer playground surface for kids. In addition, they’ve been a leading employer in McMinnville for over 31 years. Recognizing this strong local history, continual growth, and a deep caring for employees, MEDP’s 2016 Manufacturer of the Year was awarded to Ultimate RB.
In 2017 the business was acquired by the Carlisle Construction Company and they have spent the last few years updating the production systems, making facility improvements and investing in their employees.
Plant Manager Tim Voyles said that one of the biggest shifts he has witnessed since stepping into his role at the McMinnville plant is the emphasis on safety culture with the employees. They feel empowered to speak up and bring potential issues to light, and as a result, the entire company runs smoother, he said.
Automation updates within the facility have also contributed to overall employee safety, a better work environment and increased product output. The rubber matting and flooring produced at Ultimate RB can be found at playgrounds, schools, parks, home gyms, equestrian and agricultural facilities and more.
Last year when McMinnville High School was in the process of remodeling the gym, Ultimate RB donated rubber flooring for the temporary weight room facility that was put up for students during demolition and construction. Athletic Director Ryan McIrvin said, “They are always looking for ways to give back.” The new and improved weight room facility as well as the baseball and softball team rooms all have flooring produced locally at Ultimate RB.
Ultimate RB began with one man’s mission: keep used tires out of the local landfill. What has been created from this one thought is a company making products that are practical, help keep children safe, and use up to 96 percent of post-consumer waste in their products.
Story Contributors: MEDP, Ultimate RB, McMinnville Business www.mcminnvillebusiness.com
© Scrap Tire News, October 2022