Today American Biltrite (Canada) Ltd. has become better known for a wide-ranging product line that issues forth from two divisions. Its Flooring division offers rubber sheet and tile, solid TPe decorative and electrostatic tile, TPe composition tile, as well as various accessories for commercial, healthcare and institutional settings. The Industrial division provides products for various industrial applications, such us reinforced and non-reinforced sheet rubber, high-abrasion rubber, TPe and rubber runner matting, switchboard matting and splashguards for trucks and trailers. Other products include lightweight conveyor belts used in the food processing, agricultural and mining industries and heels and soles used by Canadian footwear manufacturers and shoe repairers.
American Biltrite (Canada) Ltd. is now widely regarded as one of the leading manufacturers of quality specialized rubber and TPe products in North America. “We were originally known as the Panther Rubber Company, back when we first started and served the Canadian footwear industry,” reveals Paul Leppek, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Industrial division.
One year shy of a centennial birthday, American Biltrite (Canada) Ltd. is continuously expanding into the North American market. With the manufacturing facility located in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and the Sales & Marketing office in Mississauga, Ontario, the company distributes its products through a network of strategically placed warehouses across North America. The latest opening was the Chicago warehouse in April, which will be shortly followed by the inauguration of the Edmonton warehouse in July.
American Biltrite (Canada) employs more than 275 people. Most work at the Sherbrooke plant and are dedicated to maintaining the company’s status as a leading manufacturer by developing high-quality product as well as providing on-time deliveries and faster service, efforts that cement American Biltrite’s reputation for outstanding customer service.
The Sherbrooke plant is an ISO 9001-certified, 450,000-square-foot facility that houses the most advanced technology, some of which is unique in Canada, according to the company. These include on-site mixing equipment, rubber compounders, mixers, extruders, state-of-the-art curing equipment and fully equipped testing facilities. Products are made according to customer specifications and exceed required quality standards.
Technological milestones, Leppek indicates, include the installation of rotational molding Rotocure technology in the 1960s. “That addition was very significant, as it enabled our production of sheet rubber,” he says.
As far as sheet rubber, American Biltrite consistently turns out premium quality products in a broad range of elastomers, widths and gauges. They come available with fabric reinforcements and have proven especially useful in items such as gaskets, seals, protective linings and vibration pads.
The Rotocure production method also ensures uniform curing and tensioning in the company’s lightweight rubber conveyor belting. This enhances belt-tracking capability while it minimizes misalignment damage and downtime.
Other products include matting. American Biltrite offers a wide selection of running matting types and specifications—including TPe, rubber and TPR blend—to suit various applications. Offerings include anti-fatigue and switchboard matting, the latest being specifically compounded to protect against electrical shock. Customers can choose from a combination of styles, colors, widths and gauges.
American Biltrite also offers truck and trailer flaps in a full rang of styles, colors, weights and thickness. They are protected against cracking, chipping and curling, and built to withstand the rigors of the highway. In addition, customers have the choice of plain or personalized flaps.
Then there is the ever-present shoe repair products, which American Biltrate has specialized in since its beginning. The company currently offers a broad range of rubber and EVA shoe components (such as heels and soles) as well as accessories and shoe care products.
Strong R&D Focus
Technical services include a Research and Development department that continually strives to improve upon existing quality as well as develop new products for current and potential markets. “In these complete facilities, we carry out extensive research and development in the rubber and TPe fields,” says Leppek. “We’re strongly focused on developing and maintaining products, which has been a mainstay of our growth.”
On the industrial side of the business, American Biltrite (Canada), which has experienced annual growth rates of about 10 percent each year for the past several years, developed Dura-Shield, which Leppek describes as a highly abrasion-resistant material targeted to the industrial abrasion resistant market. According to the company, Dura-Shield is a full-range of premier rubber sheet compounds that provide optimal tear, abrasion, noise and impact resistance. In this way, customers benefit from reduced maintenance costs and longer service life from capital equipment.
Specifically, each Dura-Shield compound and combination was formulated to deliver the highest durability and longest life for the toughest applications in high-production mineral and aggregate facilities.
Leppek points out that Dura-Shield underwent many years of development and field tests. “Independent laboratory tests have shown it to be the most abrasion-resistant rubber material on the market,” he says. “It provides long wear and good noise reduction when used in equipment.”
American Biltrite makes Dura-Shield available in 40 and 60 durometer red or 60 durometer black. It is also available in 40-durometer red, jade green and 60 durometer black with a special bonding layer that eliminates the need for buffing when used with American Biltrite’s L3 solution, which effectively eliminates surface contaminants.
“With Dura-Shield product development, we’re leading the way in industrial market areas where abrasion resistance is critical to protecting equipment,” says Leppek.
The latest addition to the Dura-Shield product line is the Dura-Shield A+, which was formulated for the most severe applications. The new product is available in 40 durometer orange with a special bonding layer.
American Biltrite also recently introduced Dura-MED, a rubberized flooring material designed for hospitals and other health care settings. “It provides a softer, noise-resistant floor while offering resistance to the chemical type of products typically used in health care environments,” says Leppek.
The Dura-MED flooring has been placed in emergency rooms, treatment areas, operating rooms, surgical suites, intensive care units, corridors and patient rooms. It not only protects floors but also provides safety and comfort. The product features an ergonomic design that reduces the physical strain endured by surgeons, nurses and other healthcare professionals whose duties require them to stand for extended periods of time. In addition, it both reduces and absorbs more noise than conventional flooring.
Dura-MED not only benefits staff but patients as well, as it supports the healing and recovery process by reducing foot-fall impact on joints and muscles. It also cushions patients’ legs and lower back regions when they’re standing and walking, which further contributes to their recovery.
Commercial and Community Responsibilities
The development of Dura-MED underscores American Biltrite’s strong ecological commitment. The company ensured that the product adhered to the highest levels of environmental responsibility, from the manufacturing process right through to packaging and recycling programs. Truly a “green” product, Dura-MED has minimal maintenance requirements, which reduces both energy costs and wastewater impact.
Indeed, throughout all of its product line, American Biltrite has implemented ecologically friendly strategies such as using selected natural rubber compounds that are responsive to recycling programs. The company’s stated goal is to recognize and exercise it ecological responsibility from manufacturing through to installation.
Moreover, the compulsion to do the right thing is evident in how American Biltrite treats it customers. “We provide quality products and excellent service,” explains Leppek. “With the increasing globalization, there’s a wide-open market with products coming in from all over the world. The quality of those products varies. So, there’s the need to defend ourselves and our customers from any inferior products that come in from offshore.”
American Biltrite (Canada) Ltd. assumes that stance with firm footing, and the company appears positioned to boldly stride into a second one hundred years, no doubt upon reinforced soles and supportive flooring.