RMA’s General Products Group Renamed The Elastomer Products Group

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.November 27, 2006 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association’s industrial products division is changing its name from the “General Products Group” (GPG) to the “Elastomer Products Group” (EPG). The change is recognition by the RMA leadership that TPEs are a growing market segment within the broader “non-tire” rubber industry sector represented by the (former) GPG.

“The growing popularity and demand for TPE-based application throughout the world made the decision to reach out more aggressively to TPE resin producers and product-makers a natural progression,” said Kevin D. Ott, vice president, Elastomer Products Group. “With the Elastomer Products Group, RMA will be better positioned to serve the broader elastomer industry and provide programs, benchmarking reports, worker training and certification, specialized conferences, and other services of continued value that will now include all sectors of the elastomers business.”

TPEs are rubber-based compounds that can be processed like plastics and are recyclable and easily colorable. TPEs are already being adopted in hundreds of applications, ranging from automotive sealing systems to medical devices and consumer products. TPEs share many properties with traditional thermoset rubbers (TSRs).

TSRs are the basis for hundreds of applications, including under-the-hood automotive components, sealing systems, gaskets, power transmission belts, hoses and dozens of other high-stress applications.

RMA’s short-term plans, among other activities, will include gathering and providing TPE industry data and information to help businesses evaluate their positions in the marketplace. “We will now serve as a business voice for both the traditional thermoset elastomers sector and the TPE industry as well,” Ott said. “We hope the entire elastomers industry will view RMA as a key resource as we move forward.”

Additionally, two RMA events already in planning stages will feature speakers and activities to highlight the market for TPE’s and the inherent opportunities for domestic and global elastomer businesses.

The first event is the RMA Elastomer Products Group annual meeting, February 26, 2007 in Tucson, AZ. The meeting will feature the remarks by Robert Eller, an Akron-based business consultant specializing in decision quality analysis in support of management in the global plastics and rubber industries. The meeting will also address workforce development issues impacting the entire manufacturing sector. EPG will also be forming a TPE Business Council that will meet at the 2007 Annual Meeting.

Another event, tentatively titled, “TPEs and the Thermoset Rubber Industry: Market Trends, Threats and Business Opportunities,” is scheduled for June 2007 in the Cleveland area and will be sponsored by several TPE and TSR industry interests. This business seminar, geared toward manufacturers of thermoset rubber products, polymer suppliers and the rubber industry supply chain is planned as a non-commercial series of presentations for the rubber industry and other attendees, and will include a design seminar and global market-trend analyses for both TSRs and TPEs.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 100 companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.