Case Studies

Emabond Solutions LLC: Red Hot Fasteners

  • Written by: Emabond Solutions LLC: Red Hot Fasteners
  • Produced by: Emabond Solutions LLC: Red Hot Fasteners
  • Estimated reading time: 5 mins

Emabond Solutions LLC (Emabond) is a small New Jersey-based company that designs and implements assembly solutions using high-frequency induction welding for the thermoplastic industry. Turnkey high-performance plastic welding solutions are a very valuable service as thermoplastics, and are found everywhere from compact discs to electric teapots, as well as in piping used to house conduit wires or transfer forms of fluid media for household and commercial use.

Drew LaMarca, a managing partner at Emabond, has been in product design and the welding and bonding solutions business for over 28 years in various incarnations, but always in the same market and with companies carrying strong branding. “I came out of Emerson Electric,” LaMarca recounts. “That’s where I learned all my skills.” His background is in plastics, magnetic welding, fluid power and refineries. He and his partner, Steve Chookazian, built on these skills when they bought out Emabond in 2006 from Ashland Chemical, which meets or exceeds clients’ critical requirements for plastic assemblies from its Norwood global headquarters and innovation center.

“You could say we’re in manufacturing,” explains LaMarca. “But part of our solution is to help homeowners save energy through innovative products.” LaMarca believes in geothermal technology, a resource as old as the earth that is entirely renewable but fairly expensive to capture. “Not everybody has $5,000-plus to put a geothermal system in,” LaMarca regrets, which is why the team at Emabond is working to build better, less expensive and simple portable RF pipe welding systems for system designers and contractors. His goal is to make geothermal energy more available to homeowners, a solution he believes will only come “through better plastic materials and technology,” and providing the application engineering, system design and development of plastic assemblies is what Emabond does best.

“We don’t do metals,” clarifies LaMarca. “Actually we compete head to head with copper using our thermoplastic piping solution. Obviously, we’re corrosion-resistant, and offer a noncontact and noninvasive method for reliable and repeatable welds, which provides unrestricted and unobstructed pipe media flow. Our products can stay in the earth for 50-plus years under higher pressures. There is much greater flexibility in our product designs.”

Aside from innovations in geothermal technology, Emabond develops welded restrained joint systems for large-diameter plastic pipe and plumbing solutions for other parts of the welding business, and larger suppliers in the United States often manufacture the company’s assembly joint designs. Whether utilizing electromagnetic, induction, vibration, laser or hot plate welding techniques, Emabond’s process is applicable for a wide range of demanding applications that require leak-proof, high-pressure or structural weld, whether small or large parts or low- or high-volume applications.

Fiscal Fusion

The company’s ability to adapt to a changing market and its breadth of experience has helped Emabond survive the recent recession. Management draws upon decades of success developing products to suit challenging situations, and Emabond understands the value of diversified offerings. “If we were 100-percent geothermal, we’d be broke,” admits LaMarca.

The company has felt some pressure, but LaMarca says, “We’ve gotten smarter, like everybody else. We’ve worked on productivity.” Business even seems to be climbing for Emabond. “Our sales have increased … we have definitely seen a positive market change,” says LaMarca. The business escaped with no layoffs, and this is not taken lightly as LaMarca recognizes business was “pretty much flat during the recession. Don’t get me wrong, we held on, so we’re pretty happy about that.”

Seeing a return to profits is imperative, as Emabond’s biggest expenses are in ongoing research and development, design and manufacturing. “We’re a small company compared to some of the Goliaths out there,” explains LaMarca. The company’s physical manufacturing resources are limited, but its staff of 21 makes up for size with creativity and innovation. LaMarca says of his team, “Our whole idea is the better product with better performance at a competitive price.”

Assuring the Flow of Innovation

The company philosophies of combining and advancing technology, and engineering quality and affordable products has resulted in the Emabond welding solutions team seeing a lot of success lately. In 2012 the company found exposure at the National Plastics Exposition (NPE) showcasing Emabond’s welding technology and solutions. In addition, LaMarca’s business has long been anticipating the introduction of its welded plastic piping solution at the IAPMO/World Plumbing Conference in Washington, D.C., in May 2012. Watts Water Technologies Inc. (Watts) – a global manufacturer of water-centered products focusing on key aspects of water quality, safety, comfort, conservation and control – licensed Emabond’s technology, which is a big deal as LaMarca is proud to emphasize that Emabond is “… a domestic, homegrown business.”

Watts operates in four strategic product platforms: residential and commercial flow, HVAC and gas, water quality, and water reuse and drainage. Contractors, system design engineers, civil planners and codes officials are demanding plastic pipe and fitting systems to address performance, value, safety and environmental concerns. Watts listened and delivered with a welded pipe system solution called TRITON. Emabond strives to work with manufacturers within the U.S. to support the nation’s economy, and cut back on international manufacturing and shipping, which are both costly and time-consuming.

Drawing on all these opportunities to partner with WATTS and DOW with the new PE-RT (Polyethylene of Raised Temperature [180oF], with superior chlorine resistance) will offer better value and service to contractors and homeowners. Emabond has a lot to look forward to in the next 12 month. “Every year we celebrate the anniversary of the buyout,” explains LaMarca. “This one [in 2012] means we’ve paid off the loan for our purchase.” With this milestone comes further opportunity for growth, which is just what LaMarca has in mind. “The next step is our push to the homeowner,” he says.

“We’re working with specialty polymers and plastics,” LaMarca continues. “It’s all about taking geothermal to the next step. We want to work with refrigerants using new engineered thermoplastic materials.” Using the earth to cool homes or businesses can cut an electric bill in half, and afford homeowners carbon credits. “Homeowners can expect to find a payback on their investment in two or three years,” LaMarca adds.

LaMarca’s team is excited to push forward in its efforts to make geothermal energy widely available to American homeowners. Tapping this resource offers an investment in renewable energy with built-in savings for people who want to escape being dependent on oil and electricity for heating and cooling. If the plan is a success, Emabond could manage to open up some serious market space in the energy industry. Throughout this and all other endeavors, Emabond Solutions LLC maintains a commitment to quality, guarantees an inventive response to the needs of the industry, and displays a passion that sets the company apart.

Published on: March 16, 2013

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