With a small garage for operations, vast rubber industry experience, and the passion to perfect the continuous cure extrusion process, Dale Lauren Foland founded Lauren Manufacturing in 1965. Within a short time, Foland developed a method for the continuous extrusion of sponge profiles, a method still widely used today. Lauren Manufacturing’s foundation was built on Foland’s belief in the power of breaking the paradigm, innovation, and a winning attitude. His daily challenge for all employees was to “think differently” and “don’t be afraid to fail by taking risks,” creating a culture of change and innovation evident in all Lauren Companies today. That culture continues to propel Lauren Companies into leading roles within their markets.
Lauren has had six major plant expansions since it opened the facility in New Philadelphia back in 1974. Today, Lauren Manufacturing has a plant in Ohio and Michigan, with a total square footage of 380,000. Lauren Manufacturing employs over 400 people with full sales coverage in the United States, Canada and International locations.
1965 - Lauren Manufacturing Established
Founded by Dale Lauren Foland, Lauren Manufacturing Company began its operations as a rubber extrusion company in Garrettsville, Ohio in 1965. Foland's operations started in a 20 x 60 foot garage with a vision of creating a high quality and robust process for continuous cure extrusions. Foland had no idea what the future held, but he envisioned Lauren being more than just a rubber company someday. With this in mind, he introduced Lauren Manufacturing instead of Lauren Rubber to avoid being boxed into a mindset that Lauren would only produce rubber. Due to this vision and forward thinking, innovation and creativity became ingrained in the company culture.
Lauren's first product was a dense rubber tie down used to secure tents and car trunks. Additional products were manufactured for automotive and industrial applications. Lauren's first extruded materials were Neoprene and Isoprene.
1969 - Facility Relocation – Kent, Ohio and Commercialization of Closed Cell Sponge
The company quickly outgrew its original facility and moved to a larger plant in Kent, Ohio. As a result of Research and Development efforts, Lauren launched its neoprene closed cell sponge material. These compounds were one of the first to be extruded and continuously cured in a liquid salt bath. As a result, these technologies allowed Lauren to supply products into various markets.
1970 - First Brand and Logo Born
Lauren's first product, dense tie downs, became the Python brand with the tagline, "I Never Let Go." The Python caricature was so widely recognized that it later transitioned to Lauren Manufacturing's company logo.
1972 - Hit record Sales of $1MM
1974 - Facility Relocation – New Philadelphia, Ohio
Due to continued growth, the company moved to its present location in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Lauren was able to move its equipment and personnel into a 50,000 ft² custom designed facility.
1974 - Launch of EPDM Sponge Technology
In 1973, a polychloroprene shortage existed in the market place. This prompted Lauren's R&D department to begin development using EPDM polymers. Lauren began commercially selling EPDM compounds in 1974 - separating itself from the competition.
1974 - Trans-Alaska Pipeline Seals
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline was built between 1974 and 1977. Lauren used its material expertise to develop a custom formulation for this seal application. The final product was a nitrile sponge D-section located every 30 feet along an 800 mile pipeline. Lauren, as the primary supplier, produced well over one million feet of rubber product.
1977 - Commercialization of Silicone Dense Material
Lauren enters the market with dense silicone products. The initial applications included oven door seals for Magic Chef.
1978 - Addition of Silicone Mill Mixing
Lauren buys 40" mill to mix silicone materials to keep pace with growing silicone market.
1979 – First Acquisition
Lauren purchased Blue Ridge Rubber Company in Fletcher, North Carolina, which manufactured sewer and water pipe gaskets. The Lauren Blue Ridge Division later closed its operations in November 1984.
1979 - Introduction of Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA)
With the development of EPDM extrusions, Lauren was now able to continuously apply pressure sensitive adhesives to eliminate the need for mechanical fasteners.
1980 - Addition of Climate Controlled Mixing Plant
With the organic sponge business growing, Lauren had to take control of mixing its own materials to improve the quality and consistency of the compounds. A 10,000 ft² expansion was added for the new mixing operation.
1984 - Heat Activated Tape Systems (HATS) Lamination Commercially Launches
Working in conjunction with 3M, Lauren provided processing expertise that permitted these unique adhesive systems to be continuously laminated.
1989 - Super Spacer® Goes to Market
Marketed under the brand name Super Spacer®, Lauren Manufacturing partners with Edgetech I.G. Ltd. to commercially introduce a unique sponge-rubber spacer to the insulated glass industry.
1989 - Injection Molding Capability Added
Lauren expanded its production capabilities by providing injection-molded products.
1989 - Edgetech Acquisition
Edgetech I.G. Ltd. of Ottawa, Canada became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lauren Manufacturing.
1994 - Lauren International Established
Dale Foland expands the vision of the company by creating Lauren International, the parent company for Lauren Manufacturing, Edgetech and all future companies.
1994 - Edgetech Moves to Cambridge, Ohio
Edgetech required its own facility to accommodate their growth in the North American insulated glass market. Over the course of the next several years, Edgetech saw the addition of two European manufacturing facilities. As the company's global presence increased it was pursued and finally sold to Quanex Building Products in 2011.
1995 - R&D Expansion
Lauren’s facility expands with the addition of a more extensive R&D center.
1997 - LMI Custom Mixing Established
A joint venture between Meteor Gummiwerke (Bockenem, Germany) and Lauren International was created to construct a state-of-the-art mixing facility, LMI Custom Mixing. LMI opened its doors in 1998 serving each company's material needs while protecting the intellectual property of each partner.
1998 - International Supply Partnerships Begin
In response to customer requests to offer additional molded capabilities, Lauren Manufacturing began the process of developing an international supply chain. This positioned Lauren to be a full service rubber supplier.
2001 - Introduction of Lean Manufacturing
In order to stay globally competitive, Lauren recognized the need to eliminate waste throughout the organization. The lean transformation began yielding fundamental and cultural changes in all facets of the business.
2003 - Lauren AgriSystems Established
While touring a local dairy farm, Dale Lauren Foland learned that dairymen had no other choice than to milk their herds with outdated and inefficient polymer products, hence Lauren AgriSystems was founded. A dairy farm was purchased to provide validation for newly developed products in real-world conditions.
2005 - Kevin Gray Named CEO of Lauren International
Holding a Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Ashland University, Kevin started with the company in 1983 as an engineer. Throughout his tenure at Lauren International, Kevin has held various executive roles including Vice President, President and COO prior to his appointment as CEO.
2008 - Nurtured Pets Established
Nurtured Pets® was launched in response to needs in the marketplace for unique pet products in health and wellness. In the fall of 2008, the company began producing its premier line of products to deter animals from licking, biting and chewing.
2008 - Lauren Innovations Founded
Lauren Innovations is a company dedicated to develop and enhance cloud-based technologies and services that contribute to a safer and more secure society. The NaviGate software systems continue to deliver better ways to provide security and preparedness for universities, hospitals, schools and first responders around the nation.
2009 - Lauren Plastics Established
Lauren Plastics officially formed in the fall of 2009, specializing in custom extruded and molded thermoplastic elastomers.
2012 - Lauren Illumination Established
Lauren Illumination specializes in the manufacture of high-quality, innovative lighting products and services. The inaugural product brand, TILT Lights - Thin Light Technology, is known for outstanding light quality and its highly efficient system design.
2013 - Lauren International Expands Plastics Business
In pursuit of a fully diversified portfolio and increased floor space, Lauren International acquires plastics manufacturer, ISO-Trude Inc., in Spring Lake, Michigan. As a result, this location became the new manufacturing facility for Lauren Plastics.
2014 - Flite Test Acquisition
2014 - StoneKap Acquisition