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Valley Processing, the market leader in custom-mixed rubber-based compounds in the western United States, is expanding its operations by opening a plant in Bedford.
Founded in 1939, the company is in its third generation of family leadership and continues to grow. Valley Processing Virginia will increase the company’s capacity, offering service to customers in the eastern United States.
Valley Processing Virginia is running qualifying trials for customers throughout the month of June and into July. “We want to make absolutely sure that customers who receive product made in Virginia will receive the same superior quality product that we supply to our many customers from our California facilities,” according to Ted Ballou, owner and CEO.
“The plant will have capacity comparable to California operations,” according to Ballou.
The Bedford plant will start out small and “will grow naturally to accommodate business opportunities at a healthy, sustainable pace,” he said.
The plant will allow for even greater customer support, as many of the customers have facilities across the country and abroad.
“Location is a major concern for many customers, not only for faster service and lower freight costs, but also for access to the plant. Customers take comfort in knowing that their vendors for critical rubber materials are ready and available to assist in any capacity,” Ballou stated. "This is in keeping with the company’s philosophy: Customers should ‘Operate with Confidence’.”
Workers at the Bedford facility will focus on mixing customized rubber-based compounds to serve customers in the midwest and eastern U.S., supported from the central Technical Service and Developments Department located at the California facilities.
“The Virginia facility will offer a fully-functional lab for quality, process chemistry and customer service,” stated Ballou. “With over 10 acres of land and 200,000 sq. ft. of factory space, Valley Processing Virginia is poised and ready to grow for years to come.”
This is good news for Bedford.
“When previously owned and operated by Rubatex, the Bedford plant was formerly a major component of the area that provided jobs for a large number of families and prompted growth in local businesses,” Ballou said. When it closed in 2004, many were forced to move or commute to other counties to find work.
Valley Processing and Grand Tee Investments worked closely with local and state officials to ensure the new operation would be beneficial to all parties.
“We cannot say enough how positive our experience has been with the Virginia government,” Ballou commented.
The new operation will provide solid job opportunities for local workers in areas such as manufacturing, production scheduling and customer service. There will also be positions in accounting, lab operations and purchasing.
Ballou said, immediate goals are to serve a stable base of customers who can rely upon Valley Processing Virginia but can also receive product from California should the need arise.
“Longer-term goals will involve also serving customers that may be unique to the Virginia operation because of its capabilities,” he said. “We look forward to developing the Virginia plant to meet the needs of midwestern and eastern customers.”
The new plant will complement the company’s California operation. “Overall, it will be a total improvement as current customers who might prefer their product come from Virginia will open up more capacity in California, which will support further growth. As Virginia develops, the partnership between California and Virginia should be a benefit to customers, both facilities and the company as a whole,” Ballou stated.
Chad Robinson will serve as director of sales & technology – East Region.
Robinson’s base of operations will be the new Valley Processing facility in Bedford, but he has the flexibility to support sales efforts nationally. He is enthusiastic about the added capacity provided by the new plant.
“We will have four mixers centralized at this location, capable of mixing 120 million pounds annually. When you bring our California facility into the fold, Valley Processing becomes a full-service provider of custom mixing and calendaring services, approaching 220 million pounds annually. We are well-equipped for small, medium and large runs across a broad spectrum of polymer bases, color standards and total quality demands,” said Robinson. “The strength and knowledge of our technical base, along with our manufacturing footprint, will provide our customers a hands-on and direct pathway to effectively meet standard production, new product development, problem solving and continuous improvement objectives in a highly-controlled and proprietary environment.”