Ink Inc

R&D, Commitment Drive C&A’s Growth

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 11.02.09

While there are a few recipes for success for manufacturers in any industry, being able to create technologies that will help customers succeed is the most certain approach. If a company can consistently develop products that make a difference for their customers, that manufacturer will continue to grow.

Developing excellent products has been the key to the success of Coatings & Adhesives Corporation (C&A), a Leland, NC-based specialist in water-based coatings and specialty adhesives. Rick Pasin founded C&A in 1987, and he remains dedicated to R&D, serving as the company’s president and technical director.

“Rick creates most of the technology for our water-based coatings,” said Joe Chiaramonte, vice president of C&A. “He has a chemical engineering degree, and he loves being involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.”

That dedication to creating solutions for customers has driven C&A’s rapid growth.

“We are the leading water-based coatings company in the packaging and commercial markets, and we have continued to grow,” Mr. Chiaramonte said.
“We have really differentiated ourselves by being a technology-based company. Our mission is to make the best product for the market. We don’t push a line to our customers. We are a specialized company working in a commodity industry.”

C&A’s R&D takes place in a modern, multi-lab 25,000 square foot complex that houses engineers, chemists and industry professionals working with test equipment and pilot facilities that accurately reproduce field conditions, ensuring that new products are constantly developed to meet ever-changing customer needs and performance specifications. State-of-the-art instrumentation is also available to help diagnose problems with materials, substrates or procedures.

Tests are constructed to duplicate conditions the coating or printed surface may encounter using substrates and specifications provided by the customer. Industry standards from Tappi, ASTM, and GATF are incorporated to provide a comprehensive protocol.

For C&A’s sales people, having consistently excellent products behind them makes their lives easier.

“Our products are consistently the best, so our sales people don’t have to be troubleshooters,” Mr. Chiaramonte said. “We customize products, and we make sure we have the right product for our customers. We work with customers who are new to the industry to train them to understand the process from the product and equipment standpoints. We want to choose the product that is right for our customers, and that is why we have so many repeat customers.”

This approach has been successful, as C&A continues to grow.

“It’s been all organic growth,” Mr. Chiaramonte said. “We have expanded our business base through a lot of hard work and capitalizing on opportunities. We don’t acquire companies, so we can pick and choose what we bring to the market.”

C&A has had great success in the water-based end of the business, becoming key suppliers to printers and converters in the inline sheetfed offset, web offset, gravure and flexo industries. Mr. Chiaramonte said that while the company is exploring new opportunities, its dedication to its customers will not change.

“We want to expand into new markets, but since we have developed such a large base, we want to continue to emphasize our strengths,” said Mr. Chiaramonte. “We don’t want to forget what got us here. Our customers rely on us, and it is our responsibility to maintain our level of service and commitment to them.”

For C&A’s customers, that means that they can expect the same creativity, quality and service that they have come to trust well into the future.

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