Rubber Development Inc. (RDI) was founded in July 1977 by Vernon and Cyndi Gidley as a custom manufacturer of rubber and urethane products. The company’s mission and initial strategy was to offer better, quicker service than its larger, less responsive competitors. The company started in San Jose, CA with three presses, three employees, and 3000 square feet of manufacturing space.
In short time, RDI landed its first major contract with FMC for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. RDI continued to secure contracts with some of the best known names on Wall Street: IBM, Milliken and Co., 3M, General Dynamics, and Hewlett Packard. Continued success meant continued growth, and the company soon moved to a new 15,000 square foot facility.
The company mission soon led RDI into new, technically sophisticated markets. The company was no longer a simple manufacturer of bumpers and o-rings. RDI’s customers didn’t just need to buy stock rubber parts – they needed a company with the expertise to solve their elastomeric problems. These problems may relate to design, engineering, material, quality, and are also driven by time and market factors.
In the early 90’s, globalization became key and RDI found itself competing in a very demanding world economy where quality, efficiency and flexibility are required to meet customers needs. Though RDI was quicker and more responsive than its larger competitors, it soon became apparent that the California business climate was not conducive to manufacturing efficiency or future company growth. Thus, the decision was made to move to Waverly, Iowa.
In 1993, the company moved to a temporary facility in Waverly while a new state of the art 18,000 square foot concrete facility was designed and built in the Waverly business park. The next year RDI moved into its new facility, setting up the current company geography: Corporate and Manufacturing in Waverly, and a design engineering facility in San Jose, CA.
RDI quickly filled its new larger space, adding new equipment and expanding its capabilities. A new 60” 150lb. capacity mill was purchased to expand mixing capabilities, new machining equipment including a CNC mill and lathe were added to expand in-house tool making abilities, and two newly modernized 390 ton shuttle inject presses were added to boost high-speed manufacturing capacity.
RDI continually strives to provide solutions to our customers’ problems through increased technology and equipment. In 2001, the company added a 1,100 ton, 6 x 12 foot steam heated compression press, allowing for the molding of very large or long parts. In 2008, a 1,000 ton, 40” x 42” compression press was added to further RDI’s ability to mold large, thick parts.
As the global economy continued to take off in the new century, RDI developed a network of overseas partners to provide parts at the quantities and prices required by today’s customers. Most importantly, RDI’s mission of quality and delivery were upheld.
In 2010, after more than five years of experience in global manufacturing, RDI opened its own facility in Suzhou, China. RDI Suzhou offers our customers all of the benefits of going global combined with all of the benefits of working with a proven US manufacturer. RDI Suzhou offers precision molding operations and a state of the art quality and test facility.
Also during the course of 2010, the Waverly manufacturing facility was expanded to 30,000 square feet. This allowed for a redesign of the facility in order to achieve maximum throughput efficiency. Warehousing space was consolidated and redesigned as high density storage, a new climate controlled substrate preparation area was constructed, tooling and machining area was expanded and enclosed, and a new cold storage room was built for raw material handling.
RDI is focused on continuous improvement. We are currently in the process of becoming ISO certified and are looking forward to the opportunity to help new customers solve their elastomeric problems.