Still Durable After All These Years
Durable Corporation Celebrating 100 Years
Long before tire recycling was a recognized industry, the Durable Corporation was recycling tires into useful products.
Founded in 1923, by P.J. Swanson and Chas T. Lyons as the Tire Mat and Bi-Products Company the new business started out recycling tires and manufacturing marine tugboat bumpers and tire-link mats, securing the first patent for a tire link mat. The following year, the business incorporated in Seattle, Washington as Durable Mat Company Incorporated. One hundred years later, the company is still durable and still recycling.
Following its beginnings in Seattle in the twenties, Durable grew over the years, acquired other companies, weathered the Great Depression and other economic ups and downs, moved its manufacturing facility to Santa Clara, California then on to Akron, Ohio finally settling in its present location in Norwalk, Ohio in 1941.
Along the way, the marine bumper business was replaced with a loading dock bumper business and the link-mat business was expanded into a matting division that today produces several styles of mats and rug-type tiles with worldwide distribution.
The business grew in other ways. Durable added complimentary products that it could broker to offer a more attractive broader-based product line, eventually becoming a master distributor of its molded loading dock bumpers, molded wheel chocks, molded and extruded wall and corner guards, and a variety of matting products – entrance, carpet, runner, salon, industrial, anti-fatigue, safety, sports/fitness and specialty.
Today, Durable operates out of a single 98,000 sq. ft. facility on 11 acres in Norwalk, Ohio, where they still manufacture 100 percent of their laminated loading dock bumpers, making them the largest laminated loading dock bumper manufacturer in the U.S.
Throughout, Durable remained true to its roots, a company created to use 100 percent of the tire in its products. At the same time, it has remained at the forefront of new research and innovative methods to turn recycled materials into products.
The one common theme of Durable’s manufactured products is the use of used bias-ply tires as primary raw material. The original Tire-Link Mat, fenders, riffles, laminated loading dock bumpers, wheel chocks, street pads and Dura-Tile flooring are all created from a used bias-ply tire and they all integrate Durable’s years of research and manufacturing know-how with the engineered properties found in tires.
It’s the kind of know-how that helped Durable to not only innovate the unique loop design of its Dura-Soft Bumpers but expanded Durable’s tire recycling capability to use steel-belted tires as raw material. The design pairs the toughness and resiliency of the tire rubber with a bracket system that allows the steel face to “float” on impact, providing maximum protection to vehicle drivers.
Durable Corp employs 43 people and manufactures a wide array of products from used bias-ply tires, making them a long-time steward for the community and the environment.
“People make the business,” company president Tom Secor said. ”And it’s really our people who assure that our customers receive the quality products Durable is known for.”
In the matting division, quality starts with the first cut which separates the sidewall from the tread sections of bias ply truck and bus tires. These two pieces with their varying breadth and thicknesses are the raw material from which parts are die-cut or stripped. The rubber strips and links cut from the tire are used to manufacture Durable’s tire-link mats and rubberized tiles. Durable manufactures all of its own cutting and fabrication equipment.
“To survive 100 years most definitely requires a group of dedicated individuals – our employees go above and beyond every day,” Durable Corp President Tom Secor, said. “Most importantly, we’ve had the right individuals at the right times of our journey. Our focus 100 years ago was to premium quality products with exceptional customer service, and that remains our top priority today.”
© Scrap Tire News, June 2023