For Krista Rager, CEO of Para-Coat Technologies, the term “bonding” has multiple – and equally important – meanings.
Her company specializes in the application – or bonding – of parylene, acrylic, polyurethane and silicone conformal coatings found in a wide range of applications, including the medical, electronic, automotive, military and aerospace industries.[caption id="attachment_2909" align="alignleft" width="170"] Krista and Michael Rager lead up Para-Coat Technologies.[/caption]
Conformal coating is the protective chemical coating of polymeric material applied in thin layers to complex printed circuit boards and electronic assemblies, which are subject to moisture, salt sprays, aggressive chemicals and solvents, vapors, dust, abrasion and even organic attack. Conformal coatings not only protect the product, but also serve to enhance the reliability.
But Rager believes in another form of “bonding,” as well – one that has driven many of the business decisions in the history of Para-Coat Technologies.
“Moving forward, we are working to align ourselves with key people and have started to build a stronger presence outside of our area,” Rager said. “We have been reaching out to Pittsburgh with the message that you don’t have to send your parts all over the country to be treated. We can do it right here in your backyard. Eventually, the goal is to make a national presence and expand across the country."
“My husband was working for a local company doing similar work that was considering moving jobs away,” she explained. “We decided that we wanted to keep those jobs in Johnstown. So in 2010, we developed a business plan, worked with our regional economic development group, JARI, and the city. We found a small building and started the company. We kept it small, simple, and did everything our customers wanted. We knew we needed to keep a very clean operation to have long-term success.”
The company did indeed grow, and in 2012 it moved into a 6,000-square-foot building. Seeing a sizeable opportunity in applications to rubber materials, Para-Coat installed a “tumbler” machine to achieve an even coat to those pieces. The company has continued on its growth trajectory, adding employees that total around 20 combined full and part-time people. Para-Coat Technologies is ISO-Certified, and recently expanded again into a 36,000-square-foot facility.
All personnel adhere to precautions related to controlling electro-static discharge at all times, to remain compliant with applicable regulations. All assemblies are properly handled, thoroughly inspected and tracked through a fully documented production process. A 100% visual inspection is performed and coating thickness is measured to ensure and maintain the highest quality possible, Rager stated.
“Moving forward, we are working to align ourselves with key people and have started to build a stronger presence outside of our area,” she said. “We have been reaching out to Pittsburgh with the message that you don’t have to send your parts all over the country to be treated. We can do it right here in your backyard. Eventually, the goal is to make a national presence and expand across the country.
“Part of that strategy includes offering electric services, meaning that we can actually build circuit boards now, and not just treat them,” Rager noted. “Also, parylene recently passed FDA guidelines for implementation, which means that our coatings can now be used on stents and other medical equipment placed within the body.”
So as Para-Coat Technologies demonstrates, its products achieve their purpose of reliable bonding in a superior manner. But its leadership refuses to lose sight of the more personal definition of the word.
“We could have taken this company anywhere, but we thought it was really important to keep our roots here in Johnstown, where our family and our company could help bring and keep jobs,” said Rager. “If we can make it and can pull somebody else up with us, that’s everything.”