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Published: Thursday, 3/1/2012

Cooper teams with firm to find material for tires

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

FINDLAY — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will partner with an Arizona company in an effort to develop a natural rubber alternative for tire manufacturing from a southwestern shrub called the guayule plant.

The Findlay-based company announced the agreement with Yulex Corp. on Wednesday. Terms were not disclosed.

In a statement, Chuck Yurkovich, Cooper’s vice president of global technology, said the agreement hopefully will lead to development of a domestic supplemental source of rubber.

“Our goal is to develop a reliable source of natural rubber, thus decreasing our reliance on off-shore raw-material sources. If successful, the program will create a new agricultural polymer with broad-based tire industry applications, convert desert wasteland into viable farmland for associated crops, and create jobs for American workers,” Mr. Yurkovich said.

Yulex, based in suburban Phoenix, uses extracts from the guayule plant to produce rubber for medical devices and other products, its Web site says.



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