Manufacturing Excellence on a Global Scale

Custom Rubber Products
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Custom Rubber Products is not only one of North America’s largest molders of custom thermoset plastic products; it also has the capacity to manufacture a diverse spectrum of products for a variety of environments, using more than 250 active elastomer and phenolic compounds to do so.
As a globally recognized manufacturer, Custom Rubber Products is ever-committed to providing molded rubber, mandrel-wrapped and thermoset plastic products of the highest quality for its customers, many of which are in the oil and gas industry including Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Innovex and Packers Plus, as well as oilfield service sectors, a market that continues to diversify.

Further to the range and quality of its products, Custom Rubber Products is regarded for consistently delivering and exceeding timelines as well as customer expectations. This can only be achieved through the continued investment in and improvement of internal processes, systems and workforce development efforts, which is a focus of both the company and its parent company.

Custom Rubber Products is part of The Flexitallic Group, an international leader in the manufacture and supply of static sealing products of the highest quality and value to global customers in the oil and gas industry’s upstream and downstream operations. Flexitallic Group’s manufacturing footprint in fifteen countries supplies more than 600 distributors worldwide and supports Custom Rubber Products through its resources, expertise, international reach and continued investment in its growth and success.

“The Flexitallic Group is home to a group of world-class engineers with expert knowledge of sealing solutions. We are able to work with this group as needed on our projects. The Flexitallic Group has provided a global footprint with increased exposure to international markets. We also benefit from Flexitallic’s desire to grow Custom Rubber through investments in equipment and manpower,” said President Matt Dobson.

While Custom Rubber Products has been in operation since 1961, when it got its start by designing and building custom rubber rollers for the wastewater industry, it was only fifteen years ago that it entered the oil and gas market, and from that point it has grown significantly, attracting the attention of Flexitallic Group, which purchased the company in 2013.

Custom Rubber Products grew from a $2 million company to a $49 million company between 2002 and 2013, and today it provides manufacturing services and customized solutions for all the major oilfield service providers.

Custom Rubber Products’ capabilities are impressive across its 80,000 square foot facilities located on a ten-acre property in Houston, Texas. There, the company supports compression, transfer and injection molding and boasts a 40,000 square foot facility dedicated to mandrel wrap tubular products, where it has both steam and electric autoclaves and can produce a range of rollers and swellable packers.

Custom Rubber Products boasts more than seventy presses, six thermal strip-building machines, five autoclaves and a custom-fabricated wrapping device, which means it has both the equipment and the resources, including the latest design software. The team also possesses the engineering and design expertise to handle almost any customer request. Based on a drawing or a concept, it can bring that vision to life – and to market – quickly.

“We consider ourselves to be experts in rubber to metal bonding,” Dobson explained. “There are two product lines we are well known for in this area: swellable packers and liner hanger seals. We also have extensive capabilities in composite materials such as phenolic. We produce composite parts at high volume in many shapes and sizes.”

Through its trademarked processes, the company can also provide custom solutions for its customers. It is ISO 9001:2008 certified in the development and manufacture of custom compression, transfer and injection molded rubber and thermoset plastic products, as well as the fabrication of mandrel-wrapped products, and it takes safety and quality very seriously.

In addition to a robust research and development department and an acute awareness of the latest industry technology and material trends, Custom Rubber Product has extensive in-house testing capabilities including rheology, stress/strain, hardness, and more. It also enjoys relationships with outside laboratories, which equips the company with the capacity to reverse-engineer materials and go the extra mile to perform extensive or specialized testing when required. As Dobson noted, “We take pride in our ability to handle one-off requests that typically support R&D projects.”

On the safety side, Custom Rubber’s products are not only produced in a safe manufacturing environment, they also contribute to the safety of customer operations. “Every day starts and ends with safety. We are extremely focused on developing a safety-oriented culture and environment. Flexitallic Group CEO Jon Stokes leads our safety program, engaging everyone from leadership to staff,” Dobson explained.

Indeed, according to the company’s website, “Custom Rubber Products are engineered for use in the most demanding situations and are supported by unmatched quality control. All of this leads to a SAFE investment – one that delivers uninterrupted operation and protectors your workers and our environment more effectively.”

Being able to consistently deliver on quality, timelines and safety is achieved through well-developed manufacturing processes and skilled talent of the highest caliber. Securing this skilled talent, of course, is easier said than done in a tight labor market, which is preventing many companies across industries to actualize on their full growth potential.

“The volatility of the market is indeed a challenge,” said Dobson. “We have to be extremely flexible in order to meet the changing demands. We do this through automation, which can be scaled rapidly, and by maintaining a highly skilled and flexible team.”

Custom Rubber Products is also looking to diversify both within and outside of the oil and gas sector to better insulate itself from this market volatility and the challenges associated with a shallow talent pool, focusing internally to do so as it always has.

“Throughout our 58-year history, we have maintained a family-like culture allowing us to work very closely together yet also challenge one another. As a result, we are able to work through the challenges and better serve our customers,” said Dobson. This approach has positioned Custom Rubber Products to remain a forerunner in the market for many years to come.

By having the foresight to build a team that can overcome existing and potential challenges, paired with the support of its parent company, Custom Rubber Products will surely enjoy longevity in the market, while its customers in the oil and gas industry and beyond enjoy the peace of mind of knowing their assets, their operations and the natural environment are safer for it.



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