At Coarc Manufacturing Inc., the employees are as important as the customer — even as its projects take on more complexity.
The Mellenville, N.Y., manufacturer does injection molding, assembly and all of the work of traditional manufacturer, but it also serves as part of Coarc Inc. a nonprofit agency that provides work and training for about 500 disabled adults.
“For manufacturing, we employ 125 with disabilities,” said executive director Bruce Drake, during a Plastics News conference call with company executives. “Some are extremely independent but some need a great deal of assistance.”
He said the company works with all the individuals to find them the right job.
The mission, according to John Menegio, Coarc’s director of manufacturing, is to “find a job that we can adjust according to their capability so they can complete the task.”
He said that they will build a fixture to help an employee perform a task if it is needed. That is all part of the program.
William Schwaikert, president of First Preference Products Corp. has worked closely with the organization since moving in 2005 to Hudson N.Y.
“We’ve had a good partnership. We found them to be a reliable supplier — their part quality is excellent,” he said.
First Preference supplies products for laundries and has used Coarc to produce its proprietary closures that are used on cleaning products. Coarc employees have also made plastic laundry products for the company.
“They are a very solid organization and a very valuable source for the community. They are very positive, very caring and they do it well — their molding is very good,” said Schwaikert.
Coarc Inc. was founded in 1965 by a small group of parents of children with disabilities. Since its manufacturing subsidiary was added in 1989, it has succeeded because it has honed its ability to help companies make their products.
Coarc got its start molding simpler products like lipstick containers and food trays, according to Tom Vantassel, director of engineering, and “we used the molding work to create more work.”
The company added more machinery to take on more business, and it also offered assembly and other secondary services
“A lot of our stuff is getting more complex and we are going to the full-service model — molding, assembly, warehousing and shipping — that is where we have grown the most, offering more services,” said Vantassel.
Coarc operates two climate-controlled facilities offering a combined 84,000 square feet of space — one in Mellenvllle and the other in Hudson, about seven and a half miles away. It has 12 molding machines, ranging up to 440 tons of clamping force.
Menegio said the second facility, which is 20,000 square feet, was added to handle the more intricate assembly projects that included electrical wiring, sonic welding, hot stamping and other things. It does have a noncertified clean room for assembly.
“One of our missions is to get people working in the community. People who are successful at Coarc may go out in the community to work elsewhere,” Drake said.
Menegio said Coarc takes pride when workers leave to work for another company. Some of the workers are now working at First Preference.
Drake said the organization does receive some money from the state and that they’ve used it for training and for transportation — 95 percent of the workers need help getting to and from work. He added that funding is being reduced and more difficult to obtain.
Coarc makes all sorts of products for customers, ranging from trays and cups for the prison system to allergy test components, and caps, closures and flanges for blow molding.
Menegio said that they can handle complex parts and have worked with customers to provide even more services — for example, they can mold components, assemble them, warehouse them and ship them when needed.