Molded Rubber and Plastic Corp.

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm

Molded Rubber & Plastic Corp. has changed its focus three times since it was founded as the Unbreakable Button Co. in 1921.

The company initially produced rubber buttons for shirts, solving the problem of mother-of-pearl buttons shattering as they were worked through the old wringer-style washing machines.

At the onset of World War II, the company began molding industrial rubber components and continued to do so through the 1950s.

The Butler company produced black rubber molding up until the late 1980s, when it found its niche and current role in the marketplace as a provider of medical device components and assemblies.

“We looked at the business and made the decision to go into the more highly technical end of medical technologies,” said Tom Brunner, president of the Molded Rubber and Plastic Corp.

After creating its first “clean room,” the company began molding initial seals for minimally invasive surgery, working on prototypes in response to market demand for smaller, better technologies.

“And we developed the business from there,” Brunner said.

The company had revenues between $12 million and $13 million last year.

Brunner’s company utilizes lasers for its parts fabrication. Thus, the firm is hard-pressed to find new employees who have experience in the industry.

“So, to develop a laser engineer in there, we had to grow our own internally,” Brunner said.

Many of the positions Brunner has in his company have similar stories.

“We grew our own facilitator in our quest to become ISO-certified,” he said. “We trained our personnel internally on becoming silicon engineers.”

A key business strategy for Brunner is internal promotion.

“It’s very gratifying to see people come up through the ranks and be capable of handling these new technologies we’re getting involved in,” he said.

The trend in medical devices is to continually make them smaller, Brunner said. Building a camera that can travel through veins and arteries is one of the latest demands in the market, he said.

“It’s been a whole new mindset, and finding people who can build very precise, tiny little molds to make these parts can be tough,” he said.

To keep his employees informed about the latest technologies, Brunner sends his staff to seminars.

“We work very closely with the medical customers themselves (to determine) what they look for,” Brunner said. “It’s a never-ending quest. The medical industry itself is very dynamic, as demonstrated by the new devices brought into the marketplace. They’re always looking for technology that can make it better, smaller and more reliable.”

Much of Brunner’s revenue is reinvested on equipment in an industry where upgrading is a continual process.

Molded Rubber & Plastic Corp

Location: P.O. Box 246, 13161 W. Glendale Ave., Butler

Year established: 1979

Number of employees: 90

Web Site:

Main products/services:

Medical device components manufacturing

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