Volume 8 | Issue 1 | Year 2005

If you need a polyurethane or rubber compound product for just about any application whatsoever, chances are extremely good that Industrial Rubber Products can help. This diverse company makes products that serve almost every industry imaginable. It is a full-line designer, producer, and supplier of protective products, coatings and linings for mining and mineral processing companies, pulp and paper, transportation, power generation, agricultural, military and aerospace, aggregate, sand, gravel, cement, construction industries and other related industries. Its customers encompass the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Australia and Asia.

Acquisitions and mergers of strategic divisions and strategic alliances along with the development and integration of proprietary polyurethanes and rubber compounds have propelled the company forward over the last three decades. The company now consists of four entities: Industrial Rubber Applicators and Irathane Systems, both located in Hibbing, Minn.; Irathane/Elliott of Ontario, Canada, specializing in quality engineered solutions for abrasive and corrosive problems, and T.J. Products, a protective coatings specialist, in Salt Lake City, Utah. A sister company, Acotec, is located in Santiago, Chile and the entire company also boasts 40 independent representatives.

Quality Assured
Industrial Rubber Products’ mission is to be a full-line designer, producer, and supplier of protective products for mining and mineral processing companies, the pulp and paper industry, and other related industries on a global basis. Its specialty products and services include rubber lining, molded rubber, cast urethane, sprayable urethanes and specialty coatings.

A broad selection of rubber and urethane compounds are available based upon customer specifications. Acid, oil, or other chemical resistant compounds are sometimes required. Applications in which temperatures will exceed 275° F demand an alternative protective solution and Industrial Rubber Products’ specialists can recommend and use the most appropriate rubber or urethane compound to meet each customer’s unique needs or specifications. Rubber thickness from a quarter-inch to one inch are routine and variable and additional thickness can be provided for custom applications.

“Quality is not only the aspect of providing better products and service to our customers, quality is now the essence of our purpose,” says Mike Burkes, a consultant for Industrial Rubber Products. The company aims to constantly improve its products and services by continually reducing the variability of its processes and never depending upon inspection to achieve quality, but as a tool to measure this variability.

Industrial Rubber Products is committed to maintaining a Total Quality Program throughout all phases of its operation. The existing program represents an ongoing effort by the management and employees to continually reduce the variability in all processes and to produce the highest quality products for customers.

“Reduced variability and process control results in cost savings for the customer as well as product confidence,” says President and CEO Daniel O. Burkes, who is 100 percent committed to making the company’s quality program not only a short term solution to potential problems, but a way of life within the working environment. “Investments for shop improvements, safety and health programs, training, and state-of-the-art capital equipment are our priority.”

The Magic of Irathane
Since 1967, Industrial Rubber Products’ Irathane Systems division has been providing elastomeric solutions to abrasion, impact and corrosion problems in the global market. Its experienced chemists have been formulating Irathane products that were originally formulated for mining, quarrying, mineral processing, sand and gravel, and other severe-service applications.

What makes Irathane unique is that it combines the toughness of a linear plastic with the resilience of soft natural rubber. These engineered properties enable Irathane products to outwear basalt, epoxy resins, flake glass, polyethylenes, conventional polyurethanes and unprotected iron and steel. “We also formulate, produce and test all adhesives, primers and curing agents used with our fully engineered products. These integrated operations, which include state-of-the-art R&D facilities, ensure total quality control of dependable, cost-effective products including proprietary and custom designed components, and better than OEM quality replacement parts,” says Mike Burkes. “Our knowledgeable project and design engineers use Irathane’s unique properties to solve the most demanding abrasion, impact, and corrosion and wear problems. Our worldwide reputation for dependable long-term solutions begins with local sales representatives who know where and how Irathane works best.”

Irathane has hundreds of applications both in urethane castings and sprayable coatings. Retrofit parts, custom-designed components and proprietary parts fabricated with wear-resistant Irathane include: modular, hooked and bolted screen panels, classifier shoes, cone dischargers and pulp lifters/pan liners for grate discharge mills, launder liners, chute repair kits, hydro cyclone liners, flotation parts, replacement pump parts, and custom components such as salt/sand spinners for highway maintenance and more.

Typical installations of Irathane lined pipe include hundreds of miles of large-diameter piping for copper slurries and tailings, iron sands, molybdenum slurries and tailings, coal and coal fines, phosphate slurries, taconite tailings, copper-nickel smelter slag and other highly abrasive materials, including dilute acid slurries in gas scrubbers and associated slurry piping.

“By maintaining superior long-lasting protection against abrasion, impact, corrosion, wear and leakage, Irathane lined pipe, Irathane pump liners and Irathane agitator propeller linings minimize downtime and maximize return on investment,” explains Mike Burkes.

Bridging the gap
Urethane bridge bearings are finding increased use in bridge construction replacing older technology elastomers such as neoprene and natural rubber. Cast polyurethane bearings provide bridge designers with a bearing having excellent load bearing capabilities with superior physical properties, including tensile strength and tear resistance. Urethane bearings also outperform rubber in terms of abrasion resistance and resistance to ground level ozone.

Irathane load bearing pads offer many benefits, including:
• retaining performance and durability at temperatures as low as -40 degrees ;
• manufactured with Irathane’s proprietary urethane, allowing them to resist abrasion and impact better than other elatomers/rubber;
• high resistance to sliding impact abrasion and bearing loads;
• engineered to outperform and outlast conventional polyurethanes, polyethylenes, rubber, neoprene and steel;
• cost effective, and in most cases, competitively priced with conventional rubber and neoprene pads.

Further, because of processing advantages, urethane bearings can be manufactured to tighter physical property and dimensional tolerances than rubber. They exceed AREMA chapter 19 specification (80 & 90 durometer) and can be used for load bearing and leveling applications. Also, they are custom manufactured to any shape or size and can easily replace laminated rubber or neoprene pads.

“Bottom line, these products are engineered to outwear conventional polyurethanes, polyethylenes and steel,” adds Mike Burkes. “They’re dimensionally accurate to assure highly efficient performance. And they’re cost-effective. Lined and cast parts outperform conventional parts to reduce maintenance downtime and replacement costs. And that’s music to a customer’s ears.”

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