McCarran, Nev. (KOLO) -- Have you ever felt an earthquake? If you're in a building reinforced by a local business you could take comfort in knowing your chances of survival are much greater.
Lead Rubber Isolator
Dynamic Isolation Systems in McCarran, Nevada makes pillar-like structures called lead rubber isolators or LRV's for short. They're able to absorb much of the stress applied to buildings during an earthquake.
The LRV's are strong, but they're able to move back and forth absorbing the movement from the ground without transferring the shaking to the building or structure it's designed to hold above.
"We've protected more than 500 buildings and bridges throughout the world, so we have a pretty large presence throughout the world, but most people in Nevada wouldn't necessarily know that we're here because our business is pretty much 95 percent out of state," said Dynamic Isolation Systems President, Konrad Ericksen.
Dynamic Isolation Systems has performed worked on San Fransisco's City Hall, the Utah State Capitol Building, and the approach way to the Sausalito side of the Golden Gate Bridge.
"We're seeing a lot of new hospitals and bridge upgrades," said Konrad as he points to a map. "Most of our business as you can see is on the Pacific Rim. Right now, our biggest markets are in South America. They've been having a lot of large earthquakes...more recently we've been doing a lot of work in Peru, Columbia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala."
The LRV's are made from layers of steel and rubber. When stacked together they provide flexible stability. The center of the pillar consists of a lead mandrel. "The rubber is the spring. The lead is the damper," said Dynamic Isolation Systems Vice President of Operations, Erik Self.
Then steel, rubber, steel, over and over and over until the pillar-like structure stands tall and strong.
It's wrapped five times around with a sheet of rubber and baked in an oven at 245 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours.
The heat brings it all together making it one solid piece, yet it's still able to slide back and forth to absorb energy from an earthquake to protect the building it's holding.
The LRV's are all tested before they're sold and installed.
"We put two bearings side by side and then we apply the load laterally about 3200 tons of load," said Erik pointing to a large machine able to apply this much pressure.
Next, 600 tons of pressure is applied to the LRV's to make sure each pillar meets the load bearing requirements.
Each pillar is designed by a team of on site engineers.
Dynamic Isolation Systems employees 50 people. They include office staff, engineers, and production managers.
Copyright KOLO-TV 2019