Gearing for the Future
Headquartered in Palmyra, New York, Jrlon, Inc. is a premier polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) processor in the United States. PTFE, best known by the brand name Teflon, is a synthetic tetrafluoroethylene fluoropolymer. Jrlon has established a reputation for quality and expertise with diverse processes and a wide assortment of performance plastics and exotic alloys.
Jrlon’s services include CNC turning and milling, plastic compression and injection molding, custom coatings and painting, welding, assembly, and precision plastic and metal industrial gear manufacturing. “Because everything we do is so custom, there really isn’t a limit to what we can do. We do everything from spray coating rims for somebody’s car to molding a lining into a large value that’s going to be in a factory somewhere,” Jrlon Owner and Chief Operating Officer Brandon Redmond explained.
“The majority of our work is in the food and chemical processing world, mostly in pumps and valves, but we do a lot of aerospace work, heavy/off road equipment work, some pharmaceutical and medical work, as well as some work in the roller/printing world. “It’s always something different, and never boring. There are just always new and interesting jobs coming into the shop.”
Jrlon’s expertise and leadership is three generations in the making. “My grandfather started a business back in 1957, Redmond Plastics, which started as a fluoropolymer processor, molding and machining. He ended up selling the business to a large, publicly-traded corporation and became a union shop.”
At that time, Redmond’s father Jim, who was running the business, was no longer able to run the shop the way he had been and made the decision to leave the company. This was the motivation he needed to start his own business in 1980. This would eventually become known as Jrlon.
“We kind of started out strictly in plastics: molding, machining and coating. We’ve certainly evolved from that, and now about half of our business is in the metal world. Our capabilities have really expanded. We’ve acquired several companies over the last decade and a half and gotten into gear manufacturing, and large casting work,” Redmond said.
“It’s sort of funny how it all started,” Redmond recalled. “Back when we were running exclusively plastics, we started making gears for one specific customer. They were all plastic, mostly filled PTFEs, and they came to us and said, ‘Well, you’re making this gear for me out of PTFE, I was wondering if you could make the same gear out of stainless steel?’ and we thought, well, why not?”
Since then, taking a risk has continued to pay off, and the more Jrlon expands, the more success it has. “That kind of just piggybacked,” noted Redmond. “Working with metal is a heck of a lot easier than working with some of the temperature and humidity sensitive materials in the plastic world that we are sort of famous for.”
Jrlon’s expansion has occurred as the result of customer demand. It has added an injection molding operation and is currently in the process of adding a rotational molding process to diversify its services further. The company boasts a very broad range of modern, state-of-the-art equipment, as well as some older, more robust manual equipment, marrying the two to maximize output.
It is Jrlon’s assortment of materials and services that sets it apart from competition in the market. Many different materials and processes makes Jrlon highly attractive to customers that want to reduce costs and improve the ease of doing business.
“We’re in a day and age when corporations are trying to consolidate their supply chain. We’ve been able to sell it to potential customers that, by adding us as a supplier, you can eliminate multiple other suppliers. So, by adding Jrlon, you can actually reduce your supply chain and keep corporate happy, and that’s something that we’ve really pitched.”
“There are a lot of companies that machine metals, and there are a lot of companies that mold and machine plastics, but there are not a lot of companies that do both. Couple that with coating, welding and assembly capabilities, there just aren’t many companies that have all of those disciplines under one roof.”
Jrlon undertakes projects both large and small and though the nature and complexity of the jobs often change, the one thing that remains constant is its commitment to quality. Working with plastics places a number of challenges on maintaining this quality since the machining can be affected by many variables.
“You can hold a PTFE part in your hand for thirty seconds, and it will measure differently than it did prior to that, so it’s very temperature sensitive. We’ve become very good at adjusting how we run parts based on what the temperature and humidity is outside, throughout the shop, and based on the geometry of the part. It’s something that is definitely an art form,” Redmond said.
Redmond credits Jrlon’s quality department for upholding the company’s commitment to quality. “Our goal is to not have anything leave the shop that is not exactly to the customers’ specifications. There are going to be things that happen, but we do a really good job for the volume that moves through the shop. We catch mistakes before they hit our customers’ floor, and that’s a testament to the quality of employees that we have here.”
The company’s longstanding industry leadership and expertise help it to adhere to the tight tolerance requirements of the various materials and material properties that must be considered. In addition to Jrlon’s exceptional quality assurance philosophy, it is ISO certified to ensure that its customers continue to be satisfied with the company and its products.
“The biggest key is, you’ve got to have good people,” acknowledged Redmond. “You’ve got to have people who care about the work that they’re doing. We’re lucky to have a phenomenal employee base – people who take great pride in what they do.”
Jrlon enjoys a low-turnover rate which Redmond attributes to the company’s work culture and philosophy. “Our philosophy has always been: this is an extension of our family. We’re a family-owned business; we’re a family-run business, and we try to treat all of our employees as an extension of that family.”
“Having that philosophy and maintaining that throughout the shop, we attract very good people, and we’re able to retain a large percentage of our employee base for a very long period of time, and the only downfall of that is, they all have a lot of vacation time accrued,” he joked. The company is highly invested in employee training. A great deal of effort is made to cross-train employees as a way to reduce layoffs and maximize efficiency.
“We try to cross-train, and we try to get people to be able to excel in multiple areas, so that if we have one department that’s slower we can move people into another department that is busier, as opposed to laying people off. One of the benefits of being as diverse as we are is, we always seem to have an area that is really busy,” said Redmond.
Another element of the company’s success is its continued reinvestment in itself, its processes and resources. With a vision to remain a sustainable leader in the market for the fiscal wellbeing of the company and security of its employees, Jrlon has invested in sustainable solutions to reduce costs and improve operability, especially over the last eighteen months.
“We’ve overhauled our entire lighting system here,” Redmond said proudly. “Everything is LED. We’ve put in high-efficiency compressors that are variable drive. That’s brought our utility usage costs way down. We’ve also put in 660 solar panels on our roof.”
“All of this is done to not just help save on costs but it is really important to improve the viability and future of the company moving forward. I think that a lot of the employees take note of that and realize that this is a place that is going to be around long term.” This also provides its customers with peace of mind.
This premier processor and custom fabricator of high-performance plastics, metals and coatings, has become a highly depended upon supplier of plastic and specialty metal products. Through process innovation, Jrlon continues to increase its offerings, its market and reputation in the industry. “We’re looking at adding additional capabilities and really go after markets that we are not already in,” Redmond concluded.
The company has built its success on basic principles, ethical practices, a team of industry-leading professionals with extensive industry expertise, affordable products and services of the highest quality and on-time delivery. Its commitment to continuous improvement keeps Jrlon on the leading edge of the industry.