Pathway aids flooded customer

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Pathway Polymers Inc., a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based maker of polyurethane tire fill, came to the aid of Nashville, Tenn., customer Solideal USA when the Cumberland River flooded in early May.

Torrential rains caused the river to overflow, submerging Solideal's facility “under at least 10 feet of water,” according to Pathway.

Mary Cook, area sales and service manager for the Nashville branch of Solideal, said in a July 1 phone interview that she received a call from the business park's property manager the night of May 1 alerting her to the flooding. No employees were on site at the time.

The Solideal plant's core business is making tires for forklifts and industrial and construction equipment. It operates one AutoFil Recycler machine at the Nashville facility, which sustained damage from the flood.

According to Cook, the machine pulverizes tires. The resulting recycled material is mixed with virgin PU to create a durable fill that hardens to make flatproof tires.

Pathway Polymers, a supplier of tire fill to Solideal, offered to loan Solideal an AutoFil Recycler, Sue Luse, marketing communications manager for Pathway, said in a July 1 telephone interview.

Pathway was notified about Solideal's need for a replacement machine by region manager Rex Slack, Luse said. Once notified, it took about five days for Pathway to place the loaned machine in Solideal's facility.

Luse said Pathway is loaning the machine free of charge while Solideal's machine is being evaluated for damages. She added that the loan could become a permanent contract if Solideal's own machine is unable to be repaired.

As of July 1, Solideal's AutoFil Recycler machine was still being evaluated to determine whether it would again be useable, Cook said.

Cook said most of the Nashville branch's inventory remained intact. All other damaged machinery will either be repaired or replaced.

The office portion of the facility was gutted, Cook said, and some capabilities were lost. Cook has been running the facility from a portable structure close to the warehouse where the loaned AutoFil Recycler machine is operating. Production was up and running again a week after the flooding.

The water is now gone, and Cook said repairs are ongoing. Drywall is back up, the offices have been painted and heating and air, along with telecommunications services, have been reinstalled.

Solideal's Nashville branch currently has eight full-time employees, and one temporary employee. Cook said all employees have been able to stay on the job as the facility repairs the flood damage.

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