Stockwell Elastomerics, Inc. History
Our first 90 years…Stockwell Elastomerics, Inc. is a fourth generation, privately held business founded in 1919 as a distributor of belting, hose, sheet rubber packing and wholesale rubber products by Frederick E. Stockwell. We have changed greatly over the years. Each succeeding generation has made its mark on the company, capitalizing on market opportunities, incorporating new products and capabilities and surviving the challenges that beset all small businesses.
Elbridge F. Stockwell became President of our firm in 1949. It was during the late 1940s when our firm adopted new materials and technologies such as Rubatex® closed cell neoprene sponge and silicone rubber products made in sheets from General Electric silicone compounds. These products helped our company penetrate the early aerospace, aircraft, color television and business machines markets of the 1950s and 1960s.
Elbridge F. Stockwell, Jr. became President of our firm in 1968, during the peak years of the space program. Silicone rubber components provided by Stockwell Elastomerics, Inc. orbited the earth and landed on the moon. However, through the 1970s the Philadelphia industrial market matured, with many customers leaving the region for what was called the ‘Sun Belt’. Since many of these customers were the main users of our traditional hose, belting and rubber packing distributor product line – we decided to improve and expand our in-house die cutting and rubber molding production capabilities, and concentrate on the manufacture of gaskets, seals and cushioning components. This shift toward supporting Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) customers was a defining period in the history of the company.
William B. Stockwell became President of our firm in 1980. We relocated from a multi-story facility to our present location at 4749 Tolbut Street in northeast Philadelphia in March 1981, and continued to invest in new equipment for the custom rubber molding and fabrication operations. Significant investments were made in R&D and Process Development to support the Strategic Aerospace and Defense Electronics sectors throughout the 1980s. Conductive elastomers for ESD Protection, thermally conductive silicones and advancements in rubber molding technologies were keys to our success.
Stockwell Elastomerics, Inc. transitioned once again in the early 1990s to commercial high technology applications – utilizing the silicone rubber materials technologies developed in the 1980s. Additional materials such as Rogers Corporation Poron® cellular urethanes, Bisco™ silicone foams, COHRlastic® silicone sponge and solid silicone and Specialty Silicone Products’ conductive silicones for EMI shielding enabled us to provide a broad range of solutions to the engineering community in our core markets. With the support of our strategic vendor base, our core competence truly became the fabrication and molding of silicone rubber and related high performance elastomers.
However, the global economy also dictates leaner operations and responsive production lead times. Recognizing this trend, Stockwell Elastomerics, Inc. purchased the adjacent property (4773 Tolbut Street) in 1996 to facilitate further production capacity expansion. After a significant renovation, our custom molding operations were moved into the new facility in early 1997. With this added space, the company expanded into Liquid Injection Molding of Silicone Rubber (LSR). The fast cure cycles of liquid injection molding enable fast-turn initial production of molded silicone rubber components from relatively simple single cavity molds.
In 2001, we invested in a Flow International water jet system, to cut fast turn prototypes and initial production runs for innovative customers in the technology sector. With a properly scaled and dimensioned dxf file received in the morning, we developed capability to ship prototypes that night if the situation required. In 2002 we purchased a second water jet system and in 2003 we purchased a third water jet system. Interestingly, much of running time on the water jet systems is consumed by production work, such as gaskets with very narrow walls and other features that can not be die cut as well as they can be water jet cut.
In 2003 Stockwell Elastomerics, Inc. transitioned from ISO9002-1994 to ISO9001-2000 (NQA, National Quality Assurance Certificate No: 10526). We believe we have benefited greatly using the structure of ISO to define processes and work flows to enable us to respond faster.
In 2005 Stockwell Elastomerics invested in a Cryogenic de-flashing system to improve production throughput in our Liquid Silicone Molding operations. This has enabled us to provide precision molded silicone rubber gaskets and seals with nearly flash free parting lines. This reduces unit cost and lead times.
In 2006 Stockwell Elastomerics further expanded its product offerings in Thermal Management materials and Electrically Conductive Silicones for EMI Shielding. We continue to see our value increasing as a Materials Technology and Solutions Provider… instead of just a component parts manufacturer. We would welcome your input on this.
In 2009 Stockwell Elastomerics responded to the recession by continuing to build its capacity to respond to fast-turn production orders by purchasing its fourth water jet cutting system and adding approximately 35% more floor capacity in its die cutting and assembly operations. This move has paid off as demand has increased significantly in the first half of 2010.
Stockwell Elastomerics also updated its quality management system from ISO9001-2000 to ISO9001-2008.
In 2010 Stockwell Elastomerics purchased additional liquid injection molding systems to increase responsiveness for customers who are experiencing shorter lead times due to the way the global economy has required more speed and agile production scheduling from each of us.
As a US-based custom manufacturer looking to 2010 and beyond, Stockwell Elastomerics, Inc. will dedicate our time and resources on improving the competitiveness of our best customers in the Technology Sector.