Category Archive: Uncategorized

How Rubber is Becoming a Part of the Green Building Revolution

It may surprise you to learn that not all rubber is synthetic, as natural rubber, is a renewable product, as it is harvested from the natural rubber tree.  In the U.S. alone, 300 million tires are placed in landfills each year, with 80 percent of these being recycled into a variety of materials.  When rubber is recycled — say, from road tires to patio pavers — it becomes a sustainable material that’s a great pick for many building projects, much like other green building materials such as energy star-rated windows or doors. Find out the best ways to use recycled rubber in green building projects.
Rubber Flooring
Rubber is soft and spongy underfoot—precisely the reason why it’s so popular in children’s play areas and gym facilities. The material resists physical damage and water damage. Rubber is also resistant to sun fading, so it retains a uniform color throughout its lifetime. There are few materials that provide the toughness and longevity that rubber offers.
For these reasons, rubber is a becoming a popular flooring material for residential and commercial properties. Property owners enjoy rubber flooring for its ease of installation as well as its longevity and durability.
Find reclaimed or recycled rubber flooring, which is more sustainable than rubber flooring made from freshly harvested trees. Rubber comes in a range of colors, so property owners will find a hue that complements their design scheme.
Rubberized Concrete
Scientists are working on a rubberized concrete, where recycled rubber is added to the concrete mix to create a lightweight concrete alternative. Shredded rubber scraps replace the aggregate typically found in concrete. The lighter weight makes the rubberized concrete product more economical. Rubberized concrete is naturally impact resistant and absorbs energy. Since the rubberized concrete doesn’t have the same mechanical properties as concrete, it may not be suitable for all uses. Try it for driveways, walkways, or patios.
Waterproofing Membranes
Rubber is naturally waterproof. Crumb rubber from tires is now being used in waterproofing membranes, taking the place of more expensive (and less sustainable) materials. The crumb rubber adds flexibility, strength, and superior waterproofing to membranes used in decking, roofing, and flooring.
Crumb rubber is also being added to asphalt shingles for residential and commercial roofing. Rubber extends the product’s lifespan while adding additional waterproofing. The resulting shingles are fire resistant, offer low moisture transfer, and last longer than standalone asphalt shingles.
Recycled rubber is also being turned into shake roofing tiles. Some even look remarkably like more expensive slate roofing.
The rubber tiles are rot-resistant, pest-resistant, strong (no more hail damage), and immune to mildew and moss. The lower maintenance needs of these tiles add to their value. Plus, the recycled rubber tiles insulate homes in the winter and keep them cooler in the summer, which keeps heating and cooling costs down.
Rubber roofing tiles come in the same array of colors as traditional shingles, so home and business owners can switch to a sustainable product without affecting the curb appeal of their home or office. Rubber roofing tiles come with a 50-year warranty, twice the lifespan of asphalt shingles.
With high sustainability, low maintenance, and a long lifespan, there are many advantages to switching to recycled or reclaimed rubber building materials for the home or business. Find a building contractor who is experienced working with green building materials to ensure the project is done properly.

Stern Rubber adds Midwest Infrastructure Manufacturer as a Customer

Gate Valves have long been a key part, manufactured here at Stern Rubber.  Our team has worked hard to perfect the process of bonding our rubber to a cast iron valves, so they will form a liquid tight seal in water mains across the country.  Our production of these parts has been done at both our Staples, and Aitkin facilities.  With our recent addition to our Aitkin plant, we took this opportunity to move our production of gate valves entirely over to this facility.  This transition, required us to transfer several pieces of equipment, including machining equipment and a few of our large presses from the Staples plant, and over to Aitkin, freeing space and personnel for new production opportunities at the Staples campus.  Along with our movement of machinery to Aitkin, we also added several new pieces of production equipment, including a rubber mill, overhead cranes, as well as a new press.
Along with these equipment additions, we also added a new customer to help round off the production coming out of Aitkin.  This Infrastructure Manufacturer is located in the Upper Midwest, now has us producing several sizes of bonded gate valves for them as well.  With our lengthy experience, and proven bonding process, they found Stern to be the best fit for their products.
They are one of the largest suppliers of infrastructure products in the world.  From their website, they are “the world leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of access solutions for water, sewer, drainage, telecommunications, and utility networks worldwide.”  Their products include items such as manhole covers, drainage grates, curb inlets, and of course water gate valves, and fire hydrants.
Although our production capabilities here at Stern are very diverse, we are always excited to bring in new customers, that want us to work with something we are already experienced in.  With our new expansion in Aitkin, and the addition of a new customer, we are excited to see how things continue to progress in 2018 with our company as a whole, as well as our new relationship.

2018 Starts out COLD!

As the calendar flipped to 2018, central Minnesota was hoping to flip the thermometer as well. With the average temperature typically ranging from 24 degrees for the high and 7 degrees for the low, 2017 ended nearly fifty degrees colder than the average high.  With air temps dropping below -15,  or even further for nearly the entire holiday week, many hoped 2018 would bring a warm up.  Yet it wasn’t exactly the case.
With local news stations predicting below zero temperatures ranging from -15 to -40 with wind chill, and even some jumping to the extreme and predicting -70 as a night time low with the wind, it was enough to force everyone inside, for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
This cold snap affected much of the country, as many areas hit record lows, and states such as Georgia and Florida even got snow!  Towns all over the country sent new cold temperature records.  This included Embarrass, MN, which is known at the “Nation’s Icebox”, which set a daily record at -36.
Although things in Minnesota did not quite reach the obscene temps of -50, the new year also did not jump to an instant warm up.  Remaining in the below zero teen’s for most of the following week, by the time it began to warm up, the state had gone nearly 65 hours without seeing above zero temperatures.
Although things have finally warmed up a bit, temperatures are still no where near average, with daily highs reaching the single digits.  Even though all this cold seems like it would even freeze time, all of us here in central Minnesota, bundle up, and keep going about our typical day, as if nothing is any different.
Stay warm and happy new year!

Masticated Rubber

The Mastication of Rubber
Masticated Rubber is a rubber compound made of reclaimed/ recycled natural or synthetic rubber.  The term masticated rubber has come to mean a mixture of recycled rubber and fiber.
Uses for Masticated Rubber
Masticated rubber is a good choice for applications where superior hardness, tensile strength, and durability are required.  Due to the synthetic fiber cords, the material has high compressive strength, resistance to wear and tear, durability, and resistance to ozone and weathering.  Masticated rubber is extremely tough and durable, and is used in mining, railroad and trucking applications.
The masticated rubber that Stern Rubber uses is made from pre-consumer waste from tire manufacturers.  Our supplier purchases this uncured material, and re-mills it with nylon fiber to our specifications.
Because masticated is made from recycled materials, one of its greatest advantages is that it has a very economical cost.  Masticated rubber often costs less than 25% of the cost of virgin Natural, SBR or EPDM rubber.
Some of the applications for masticated rubber are automotive baffles, lawn mower chutes, air dams, mud guards, mud flaps, agricultural cab mats, and grain deflectors.
If you have an application that you think may be a good fit for masticated rubber, contact us at or at 218-894-3898, or fill out our quote request sheet at

Barry Hirschey’s First 1st Place on his KTM

Barry has been with Stern Rubber for 16 1/2 years.  He worked for 14 years as the Maintenance Manager, and then, 2 ½ years ago he moved to the sales team.  He is married to Sharon and they have 3 children together: Emily 20, Addison and Larken 16.  Barry and his family live here in Staples, MN.
Barry is a big kid at heart, with a passion for dirt bike racing.  Since he was just a young boy, he always wanted a dirt bike.  But, his parents forbid it, as they felt it was far too dangerous.  In 2014, at the age of 45, and his girls grown up, he decided it was time to live his dream, and so he went out and bought his first dirt bike.
Barry and a friend decided one day to try out, and they did a hare scramble (off road endurance) race.  Well, he finished last, and he was not happy with that.  He was determined to be faster and better, so with a lot of riding and practice, in the 2nd year he finished 2nd place in one of the events and finished 3rd overall in point standings.  2017 is his 3rd year, and in his first race of the season, he finished in 1st place!
We are very proud and excited for his great accomplishment, and look forward to watching him continue to grow in the enduro racing world and here at Stern Rubber.  Good job Barry!

All 4 Seasons in One Week. Welcome to Minnesota!

The weather in Stern Rubber’s back yard is extremely inconsistent and the opening week of spring hasn’t been any different.  With highs reaching nearly 70 degrees on Saturday April 23rd, outdoor activists, golfers and really, everyone in the area thought summer was about to begin.
Yet, on Wednesday the 26th, only 3 days later, the tables turned and across the state with temperatures dropping below freezing, there was a blanket of snow covering most of the state, especially our area. Just north of Stern Rubber’s Staples facility in Bemidji, nearly 7 inches of snow accumulated, closing golf courses, slowing down traffic and making it seem, as though winter had never even left.
Although this strange cold snap came for a few days, it went away just as fast. With upper 50’s returning for the weekend and no snow in sight for a few days, the spring season will continue in with many warm weather firsts, including the Grandview golf opener at the Pines and Preserve golf courses.  This event kicks off the opening of the golf season for 2017, and includes special guest the “Common Man” from KFAN radio in Minneapolis hitting the opening tee shot and hosting a radio show, with a concert in the parking lot at the Pines to cap things off.
The lakes area is ready to officially kick of the spring/summer season, but as most Minnesotan’s are used to, Mother Nature may have other ideas.

Polaris to add Victory Styling to Indian Line

Although Polaris decided to end the Victory line in 2017, the iconic  style of these machines will not vanish forever.  As Polaris begins to pour their focus on bikes into Indian, they are not going to lose the iconic body style that came with the Victory line.
Launching two new touring models for the Indian line in 2017, including the Chieftain Limited and the Chieftain Elite, boasting all the tradition and ambiance of an Indian, with the style and flare of the Victory.  This merger of two models presents Indian with an evolutionary opportunity to take them from classic looking machines to the stunning touring bikes of today.
The Chieftain features Indian’s new massive Thunder Stroke 111-cubic inch engine, and custom in dash infotainment center, that includes navigation, and many other unique technology features.  All of this, paired with lots of chrome, large curved rear fenders, exposed 19 inch contrast cut aluminum wheels, and stylishly painted graphics, adds the original Victory flare to an already iconic brand.
These subtle yet stylish changes, bring a fresh feel to the already stunning designs within the Indian line.  The two new Chieftains brings Indian’s 2017 model total up to 12, showing that Polaris is moving aggressively in the right direction with this transition from Victory to Indian.  Riders and bike fanatics are all curious to see what Polaris does next, as it continues to grow the Indian brand.

Stern Rubber Helps With City Wide Park Cleanup

On Tuesday, April 4th, City of Staples held a city wide Community Parks cleanup day.  The city asked for groups and companies to volunteer to help with this effort.
This was the first year that Stern Rubber had participated by allowing employees to help with the clean up during their work day.  We had 8 employees that spent several hours helping with this effort.  The group cleaned Wilson Park, as well as the new open area on the southeast corner of Airport Road and Prairie Ave. NE, and also cleaned along the Legacy Trail from the Legacy Gardens down to the overpass.
Helping with the clean up from Stern Rubber was Gene Mattilla, Kevin Smart, John Jewison, Bonnie Gastecki, Danielle Dewey, Jessica Stafford, Brett Dobson, and Sandy Mumm.
The company wanted to thank all of our employees, including those that helped with the cleanup, and those that stayed behind to fill in for those that were gone.

Stern Rubber Wins 2 Awards from Polaris for 2016

Stern Rubber was recently notified that they won 2 supplier awards from Polaris Industries for 2016.
The first award was for Quality.  Polaris’ suppliers are evaluated in terms of their reject PPM rates to Polaris.  They give letter grades based on this PPM.  Suppliers have to have a PPM of under 100 to get an A grade and an award for the year.  A supplier gets a B grade for a PPM of 101 to 300.  A PPM of 301 to 500 gets the supplier a C grade.  A PPM of 501 to 1000 get the supplier a grade of D and get put on Quality Alert.  And any supplier with a PPM of greater than 1000 get an F grade.
Stern Rubber ended 2016 with a PPM of 96.  This is the 3rd year in a row with a PPM of under 100.
The second award was for delivery.  Polaris delivery measurement is a percentages of receipts without a delivery discrepancy report being written.  Polaris awards a grade letter of A for greater than 99.5%.  A B grade is given for 97.5% to 99.4%.  A C is given for 95.5% to 97.4%.  A D is given for 93% to 95.4%.  And an F is given for less than 93%.
Stern Rubber ended 2016 with a delivery of 99.9%.  This is the 4th year with a delivery rating of 99.9% or higher.
Last week, the company grilled lunch to thank their employees for their hard work and to congratulate them for the awards.

2017 Bridges Career Exploration Day

Here at Stern, we work hard to be involved in the community, and recently we had the opportunity to work with other local manufacturing companies to be a part of the Bridges Career Exploration Day.
Several members of our team here at Stern including general manager Bob Jackson, quality manager Mark Pfeifer, and HR coordinator Rick Soder, showed local students what our company, and the manufacturing industry is all about.  Our booth featured our 3D printer, and 3D scanner that are used on the daily in our quality department, as well as we showed a constant slide show of our production process, and explained what we do on the manufacturing floor every day.
Along with members from our staff at Stern running a booth, we also teamed up with several other members of the Lakes Area Manufacturing Association to help make our manufacturing area of the fair a success.  The other companies included Pequot Tool, Clow Stamping, Avantech, Lexington, Graphic Packaging, as well as CLC showing off their robotics department.  These other companies, along with our team here at Stern, developed the idea of having the kids stop at each booth to pick up a specific part, that in the end would make their own custom toy UTV, that had one piece made by each company.  Some of the pieces included water jet pieces of steel from Pequot Tool that were used for the body, some more waterjet pieces from Clow that made up the roll cage, Avantech provided the seats, Graphic packaging supplied the machined steering wheels, Lexington providing the wooden blocks used as “cargo”, and of course our booth provided the rubber tires.
All of this, along with an Arctic Cat Wildcat from Brothers Motorsports grabbing kids’ attention, led to one of the best turnouts in the manufacturing section of the career fair over the last five years.  Our team along with others companies in the manufacturing association, were proud to be a part of the career fair at CLC, and work to promote manufacturing in the local area.