Check out the Plain Dealer article below.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Industrial equipment company Parker Hannifin in Mayfield Heights plans to invest $15 million to start a new, high-tech polymers lab in Ravenna, thanks to a $2.3 million investment from Ohio’s Third Frontier Program.

The Parflex Center will create 34 jobs and retain 304 positions in the field, Ohio Department of Development Director Christiane Schmenk said in a statement. Schmenk said the innovative technology continues to make Ohio a leader in advanced materials.

Founded in Ravenna in 1982, Parker’s Parflex division makes specialized tubes and hoses for industrial equipment. Parflex products tend to be extremely rugged and are designed to work in harsh conditions. Company officials said Parker had also been considering sites in Wisconsin, Texas and North Carolina for the lab.

Parker spokesman Chris Farage said the company will consolidate some of its research efforts in high-tech polymers from  labs in Europe and the United States to Ravenna. The company also plans to focus more attention on medical device polymers at the lab with plans to work with the University of Akron and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

“They’ll be looking to develop the next generation of advanced polymer products,” Farage said. He added that the company plans to begin ordering new equipment for the lab immediately.

Farage said demand for highly engineered thermoplastic hoses and tubes has been going up in recent years. Hospitals use such materials to move bodily fluids and gasses in operating rooms. Chemical companies use them to refine and distribute natural gas, and factories use such hoses for automated equipment.

Parflex has manufacturing facilities in Ravenna in Portage County, Texas, Wisconsin and North Carolina and gets some materials from a Parker facility in Mexico.

Third Frontier is a $2.3 billion state-run fund that invests in startups and older companies working with new technologies and materials. Farage said winning the Third Frontier investment was a critical part of Parker’s decision to expand in Ravenna.