RIPLEY, MS-- 30-year rubber veteran, and owner of Elite Elastomers, Steve Glidewell,
started out as a custom mixer but realized Elite’s asset is technical, not physical.
For the last six years, he developed a process to get their end application stakeholder an
works backward to concept.
Traditionally, a custom mixer thrives off a regiment of rubber formulations, that creates a
higher quantity of polymer compounds. This results in a marginal solution instead of the best
solution, according to Glidewell. He explains this process: the compounder is proactive, but the
mixer is reactive. Glidewell says a successful applicative compounder utilizes three
components: technical expertise, seamless integration, and collaborative alliances.
A compounder has to understand non metallic materials, chemistry and have the technical
ability to develop those materials that will perform in various types of applications and
environments, according to Glidewell.
Breaks down barriers between intermediates: molders, extrusion houses, suppliers and
custom mixers. Glidewell explains all parties have to share complete information for the
compound designer to create the best material for an application. An Elite success story
utilizing seamless integration is the development of swellable packers for the oil & gas
This starts and ends on trust. Both collaborative alliances is a combination of technical
expertise and seamless integration at its highest level.
Custom mixing has evolved over the years, according the Glidewell. Elite Elastomers
recognized the custom mixing giants were profiting because of their volume producing ability.
Its taken Glidewell six years to see the fruits of his labor since the transition. Based on his
experience, an applicative compounder enhances the materials capabilities.
However, don’t count Elite Elastomers out of the custom mixing industry. Glidewell is
working with his supply base to substitute applicative compounder for custom mixing. At the
end of the day, both are getting mixed rubber compound to an end use but with a different
In closing, we’ve attached Elite Elastomers’ business model and how applicative
compounding can be successful for your business.