by John Bonforte, Sr. | May 1, 2016 | Bondaflex™, Recycled Rubber & Plastic, Recycling, Trash 2 Cash |
Monmouth Rubber and Plastics Corp., a privately- held manufacturer of cellular rubber and plastics materials located on the Jersey Shore, has recently announced an expansion of its unique recycling program to include all products, scrap and shipping materials that it provides to every one of its North American customers.
“If Monmouth sold it, Monmouth will take it back and recycle it,” said company founder and President John M. Bonforte Sr., speaking from his offices in Long Branch, New Jersey.
Monmouth manufactures the trademarked products Durafoam™, a closed cell sponge rubber and plastic foam; Airaflex, an open cell sponge rubber and foam product; and Duraflex solid rubber and plastic sheeting in buns, sheets, rolls and stripping. The recycling process itself revolves around Monmouth’s proprietary system Bondaflex, which makes marketable products from recycled composites of rubber and plastic.
John Bonforte Sr. has been involved in recycling rubber materials since the early 1960’s.
Bonforte has been involved in recycling rubber materials since the early 1960’s, when, he says, “there was a different political atmosphere,” which did not encourage the reuse of scrap materials. In 1963, Bonforte put together a recycling program for Rubatex, his employer at the time. By 1967, he had left his employer to become the president of Monmouth Rubber Corporation (the company changed its “doing business as” name to Monmouth Rubber and Plastics in 1995). The company employs 55 people, seven of whom work exclusively in recycling, at its 52,500 square foot facility.
To have a successful recycling program, you have to have three elements.
“Everyone wants to be in recycling until they find out what its really about,” says Bonforte. “To have a successful recycling program, you have to have three elements: the technology, a marketable product, and someone to buy the product. It’s like a three-legged stool, and you need all three legs for the stool to be balanced. For instance, everyone wants to be into tire shredding. You pay $250 thousand for equipment, and people pay you to take the scrap tires, but then what? If you can’t sell it to someone, or you don’t have a government subsidy, in all too many cases you don’t have a business. We have the technology to recycle the material we get into a whole host of products, and we have developed the market to sell those products.”
Monmouth marketplace contains almost every conceivable industry, including aerospace, transportation, construction, gasketing, and the athletic and medical industries, and is currently either selling or sampling products into every automobile manufacturer.
Monmouth Rubber has been involved in various types of recycling technology almost since Bonforte took over the company, but that aspect of the company has grown tremendously since the 1980’s, when government regulations started to become more friendly toward recycling. “Back then, big business was the in thing. There weren’t tax breaks for recycling, and no one from the business schools wanted to know what an entrepreneur was. Regulations weren’t designed with recycling in mind. Now, entrepreneurship and environmental quality are the in things, and that new atmosphere in government, corporate America and all over the planet is one of the reasons that we have been so successful in expanding our recycling business.”
Monmouth Rubber also runs programs to obtain the scrap needed for the Bondaflex process from outside sources.
To seek new streams of material, the company send out a 1-page fax that they call “Turn Your Trash Into Cash,” in which they offer to purchase scrap from the company receiving the fax. The fax lists the types of scrap Monmouth is looking for, including scrap of open and closed cell sponge; solid, cured and uncured rubber; polyethylene; neoprene; SBR; EPDM; nitrile; polyethylene and PVC, among other products. “Basically, any hydrocarbon,” said Bonforte. Monmouth may even pay for shipping, depending on the product involved. “The response to Turn Your Trash Into Cash is overwhelming,” said Bonforte.
The only company in the industry that will recycle rubber products that already have adhesives affixed to them.
According to Bonforte, Monmouth is also the only company in the industry that will recycle rubber products that already have adhesives affixed to them. “As far as we know, Monmouth’s recycling programs are unique in the industry,” said Tim Mlnarik (That’s: M L N A R I K), Technical Products Marketing Manager for MACtac, a manufacturer of adhesives located in Stow, Ohio, which sells Monmouth a number of adhesive products. “We don’t know of anyone else doing this, or who has a system capable of doing this,” he said.
Due in large part to the success of the Bondaflex technology, Monmouth is expanding. The company is currently installing manufacturing equipment that will more than double its current 10,000,000 (ten million) bd. Ft. per year capacity.
The Bondaflex process is based on controlled particle size and particle size distribution, and creates innovative products offering high density materials at a cost-effective price, according to the company’s press release. The products made through this process are used in component parts for automobiles, federally specified concrete expansion joint applications, industrial components, and packaging requiring high density with low costs such as underpadding for playground equipment. The latest recycled product to become available commercially available is recycled non-crosslinked and crosslinked polyethylene foam and EVA foam. The company has been visited by representatives from businesses around the world, most recently Taiwan, seeking an understanding of the proprietary recycling process, and Monmouth is positioning itself to sell the recycling technology to interested companies throughout the world. Plans are also underway to offer a similar recycling program to the European community through Monmouth’s UK partner Rubber & Plastics Converters.
Total Commitment to Recycling Rubber and Plastics Materials.
“It requires a total commitment.” says Bonforte. “Its like part of a food chain. You need a synergism to all of the components for the recycling process to be a commercial success. It’s not difficult to do it right. It just requires education and the will to make it work.”
Says Mlnarik: ” There are environmental issues in the industry. Probably 90% of products are not recycled, so there is an environmental impact. When someone like (Bonforte) has the ability to do what he does we applaud their work and are sympathetic to them.”
by John Bonforte, Sr. | Apr 15, 2016 | Neoprene, Neoprene Wetsuit |
After nearly 25 years, U.S. manufacturer Monmouth Rubber and Plastics Corp. puts the Neoprene ‘Made in America’ label back on an iconic American product.
Some products are just synonymous with America. But these days, your grandma’s apple pies are one of the few products that are actually still made here. During the past few decades, many U.S. manufacturers have been outsourcing the production of some of America’s most iconic products to cut down on manufacturing costs. Even America’s greatest pastime, baseball, is played with balls stitched together in Costa Rica; and many of Mattel’s most iconic American toys, like the Barbie doll, are now made in Hong Kong.
The neoprene Wetsuit is another true American icon. It symbolizes the ‘surf culture’ that has evolved from denoting the 1950-1960s carefree waterlogged rebel with a tanned muscular build and sun-bleached hair, to now reflect more contemporary attitudes which embody freedom, adventure, the responsible use and care of our planet’s natural resources, and the possibility to explore uncharted territory in a different type of world found under the deep blue sea.
However, there was a time when wetsuits didn’t exist. Certainly the Hawaiians had no use for them with their year-round endless summer. But once the addictive sport was exported to California, surfers dived in to the sometimes-frigid Pacific Ocean, and the dire necessity for insulation took on urgency. As we all know, necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention!
THE FIRST WETSUITS EVER MADE.
The story of the birth of the neoprene wetsuit is actually quite an interesting one. It begins back in the late 1940s and early 1950s in the town of South Amboy, N.J. A company called Parkway Fabricators & Weiss Clothing was in the business of manufacturing men’s clothing suits. Dan and Fred Weiss, the sons of the owner, were seasoned drysuit scuba divers. In the type of drysuit they used, air was pumped down to the head chamber so the diver can breathe under water for prolonged periods of time.
During this same time period in Bedford, Virginia, Rubatex Corp. began manufacturing a material made of 100% neoprene rubber in a sheet measuring 40″ x 120″. This material was known as Rubatex G231N. It was manufactured through a unique process using a nitrogen gassing chamber. At that time, no other company had a gas blown material, and more importantly, no one had a 100% neoprene material with the high physical properties of the Rubatex G231N.
Dan and Fred Weis discovered the existence of Rubatex G231N and came up with the idea of using it to make an insulated wetsuit to help keep divers warm in cold water temperatures. Since they were both Cloth Cutters by trade, they were well-versed in cutting shapes out of various types of materials to make a suit.
NEOPRENE WETSUIT MATERIAL
THE FIRST WETSUITS EVER MADE.
The first wetsuits manufactured actually had a skin on one side of the neoprene material. There was no fabric lamination. Talcum powder was used to stretch the material over the skin. The Weiss brothers introduced the concept to the U.S. Navy and subsequently, Parkway Fabricators became the worldwide leader of making wetsuits in an exclusive arrangement with Rubatex.
Several years went by, and in 1962 the Japanese introduced a new type of chemically blown wetsuit material. It soon found its way into Taiwan. Over the next 25 years, the Japanese in concert with the Taiwanese became the worldwide leaders in manufacturing wetsuit material. The Taiwanese added textured designs to the rubber surface and fabric laminations – commonly referred to as four-way stretch nylon. By the early 1990s, Rubatex Corp. was no longer a contender in the wetsuit market, and by the turn of the century, there was no more skin diving material made anywhere in the United States. With Rubatex G231N now knocked off the market, the only neoprene material available was chemically blown, and it could only be found outside of the U.S. Unfortunately, many companies who purchased the imported ‘knock offs’ discovered they simply didn’t measure up to the quality of the previous material made by Rubatex.
Gasket Cutters, Fabricators and OEMs
For many years, Gasket Cutters, Fabricators and OEMs searched worldwide for a manufacturer that could match the quality of Rubatex G231N. Then in July of 2012, Monmouth Rubber & Plastics Corp., with its proprietary technology, decided it was going to be a game changer. It announced new Rubatex equivalents that now complete the full line of obsolete Rubatex stocks – including G231N and G207N, which customers found impossible to find suitable replacement materials. As a result, doing so brought the production of neoprene wetsuit material back to the U.S.A. with the development of a product called Durafoam™ N231.
Durafoam™ N231 is a 100% neoprene closed-cell rubber material EQUAL to the physical properties previously exhibited by G231N Rubatex material. Through the results of extensive product testing and performance, and the unique superior physical properties of this flagship material, the sales of Durafoam™ N231 have skyrocketed. Gasket Cutters, Fabricators and OEMs were ecstatic that they could finally, once again, match the quality of Rubatex G231N with the newly developed technology of Durafoam™ N231 – available only at Monmouth Rubber & Plastics Corp. in the U.S.A.
Background on Neoprene
Just to give you a little background on Neoprene – or the chemical name Polychloroprene (CR) – it is a specialty type of synthetic rubber that is produced by the polymerization of chloroprene monomer. It has a diverse combination of technical rubber properties that are quite unique amongst synthetic elastomers, which makes it a very desirable and versatile material. Applications vary from molded goods, cables, various types of belts, profiles, adhesives, and of course, sponge or wetsuit material. CR has good mechanical strength; high ozone and weather resistance; good aging resistance, low flammability; good resistance toward chemicals; and moderate oil and fuel resistance.
Unlike other neoprene products
Unlike other neoprene products, Durafoam™ N231 is not oil-derived. It is also not dependent on Butadiene Monomer or Petrochemicals – so less oil use means lower carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The manufacturing process is GREEN because the raw material is based on Limestone, a sedimentary rock that can be found naturally throughout out the world. Through the Acetylene process, Limestone is converted to Chloroprene Monomer to ultimately make Durafoam™ N231 – which is used by Gasket Cutters, Fabricators and OEMs to make all kinds of end products – including neoprene wetsuits.
Monmouth Rubber & Plastics Corp.
Located in Long Branch, N.J, Monmouth Rubber & Plastics Corp. is one of the few remaining manufacturers that solely keeps shop in the United States. “U.S. manufacturing is critical to maintain a strong economy. American people spending American dollars on American products equals American jobs. These jobs are the foundation of a thriving economy,” says Founder and General Manager John Bonforte, Sr. Since many ‘expatriot’ manufacturers left the country and set up operations overseas in search of cheaper labor costs, subsidy offers, and the desire for better access to international markets, Monmouth Rubber and Plastics Corp. stayed loyal to the U.S. “While maintaining our rubber manufacturing factory on U.S. soil may appear to decrease our bottom line, that type of thinking is short-sighted. You have to look at the big picture. At the end of the day, when our economy thrives, we thrive.”
The fact of the matter is, all U.S.-based manufacturing underpins a wide range of homeland jobs that stretch far beyond the common icon of factory line workers and machines. U.S. manufacturers additionally support higher-skill jobs that include accountants, bankers, lawyers, and other professionals that are associated with any industry, as well as a wide range of other jobs including research, technology development, product and process engineering and design, operations and maintenance, transportation, testing, lab work, and marketing.
So why has Monmouth Rubber and Plastics Corp. refused to jump on the ‘outsourcing bandwagon’ perchance to increase its own personal profits for the past 50 years?
“The bottom line is recycling. When you buy U.S.-made products, the proceeds remain in the U.S. economy. The money you spend then pays the workers who directly or indirectly created the product you purchased. When workers spend their money on U.S.-made products, the dollars continue to be recycled, and our economy prospers,” says Monmouth Rubber and Plastics President John Bonforte Jr. “We not only realize the power of recycling dollars back to our own economy, we also offer a full line of recycled cellular rubber and plastic material under the trade name BONDAFLEX™. We provide our customers with our popular tried-and-true Trash to Cash program where we help them go green, save money, and turn their own trash back into cash in their pockets using our recycling program. Everyone wins!”
Free technical support
The company also provides a free technical support program called “Ask John” which provides customers (and potential customers) FREE technical information and guidance on a multitude of rubber and plastic questions and problems. This complimentary service offers real value to OEMs, Fabricators, and Suppliers because it allows them to obtain expert advice along with access to a comprehensive technical library at their fingertips at no cost.
Leading manufacturer of closed cell sponge rubber and plastic foam products
Monmouth Rubber & Plastics Corp. is a leading manufacturer of closed cell sponge rubber and plastic foam products. Visit the company’s website at www.MonmouthRubber.com to learn more about its green manufacturing practices, as well as its recycled rubber products, and flagship Durafoam™ N231 used to make neoprene wetsuits.
For more information and free samples, please be sure to stop by and say hello to Monmouth Rubber & Plastics Corp’s team at the upcoming GFA Gasketing/Converting Expo in Orlando, FL, March 25 – 27, Booth #6.
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