Properties Magazine May 2017 : Page 14

Making an Impact Design/build team tackles tight time line to erect new R&D center for STEMCO Air Springs By Mark Watt | Photos by Harry Dempsey, Autohaus Image J ust off of Cleveland-Massillon and Ridgewood roads in Fairlawn, STEMCO’s Air Springs Products’ new headquarters and R&D center ascends from a gently sloping, grassy site. The $7 million, 20,500-square-foot building equips the company with a purpose-built facility for a staff of nearly 25 employees with offices and a testing lab underneath one roof. The business has changed hands sev-eral times in recent years, Trowbridge explains. In 2007, Goodyear sold off its Engineered Products portfolio to the ings and air springs. Then in May 2015, two years ago this month, the entire Goodyear Engineered Products group was again sold, this time to Continental Corporation for $1.9 billion. “After that deal was completed, the U.S. Department of Justice stepped in and informed all parties that the acqui-sition of the air springs operation would not be approved, due to a potential anti-trust situation,” Trowbridge says. The air springs division was given just 12 months to relocate. Designing and building the new facil-ity was just a matter of time, says STEMCO Principal Engineer Mark Trowbridge. The challenge was just how little time there was: 12 months, to be exact. Moving parts Launched in 1951 as a compo-nent of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s Engineered Products divi-sion, the company manufactures high performance systems and components for the commercial vehicle industry. “Our specialty is a rubber air spring that is used in the suspension system of a commercial truck or trailer,” Trowbridge says, noting that the prod-ucts are designed to offer exceptional vibration isolation and durability, reduc-ing driver fatigue, equipment wear and tear and maintenance costs. 14 “[STEMCO] looked at a number of existing buildings in the Northeast Ohio area. Ultimately, they decided to invest in the long-term and actually build a whole new dedicated facility.” Mark Trowbridge STEMCO Carlyle Group, creating a new entity called Veyance Technologies, which continued to manufacture a range of highly engineered rubber products, such as conveyors, belts, hoses, rubber bush-Driving forward Moving fast, STEMCO, an EnPro Industries company, stepped in and acquired the air springs division on July 1, 2015. The purchase included the division’s research and development operations in Fairlawn, as well as its manufacturing facility in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Properties | May 2017

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