East West Copolymer, in business for 70 years, shutting down

East West Copolymer, in business for 70 years, shutting down

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A local producer of rubber for tires is shutting down operations after more than 70 years of operating in Baton Rouge, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC).

East West Copolymer, on Scenic Highway, opened in 1943. In 1948, according to the company website, the facility became the first cold polymerization plant in North America. The company produced rubber used in making tires.

The LWC says a company representative contacted them last month for written materials to give their employees and most of the workers were laid off on March 31. However, a maintenance crew will be on site for several more weeks to "shut down company operations," an LWC spokesman said.

More on East West Copolymer from the company's website:

East West Copolymer's (formerly Lion Copolymer) SBR/NBR site has been a landmark of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, since the 1940s.  The facility was designed and built by the U.S. Government during World War II, and since then has played a major role in the development and advancement in synthetic rubber technology.

Operations of the SBR facility began in 1943 with a hot emulsion polymerization process.  Soon after, in 1948, the facility retooled its operations and developed the first cold polymerization plant in North America.  This allowed for better process control and end physical properties of most grades of SBR rubber.  With almost two decades passing, the Baton Rouge facility then designed and modified part of its facility to produce NBR grades of rubber, completing this effort in 1965.

Since that time, through dedicated employees and further investment, the Baton Rouge site has continued to improve and expand its performance in the synthetic rubber market.  The Baton Rouge Plant is a continuous process facility, operated 24-hours per day, year round, to support and supply our customer's quality rubber needs.

The facility's 70 year history is a testament to East West Copolymer's commitment and leadership as a synthetic rubber producer.

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