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Making the machines that glue the world together

Tony Hynes started the international company Precision Valve and Automation in his basement in 1992 because he recognized a gap in the durability and design of how products were assembled.

In the early 1990s, the digital revolution seemed to be in full swing — the CD was overtaking the cassette tape, the fax machine was transforming electronic communications, and some people had even figured out how to set the clock on their VCR.

Looking back some 25 years later, however, it’s easy to see we were only in the beginning stages of what has become known as the information age.

The technology advances made in the final decade of the 20th century were critical to realizing the high-definition, mobile-connected world of today. While Silicon Valley and Seattle gave us Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, respectively, Tony Hynes was across the country, making his mark on the future of product design and durability in his Latham, New York, basement, where he started Precision Valve and Automation in 1992. His focus: designing and building dispensing valves for the application of adhesives.

“You likely don’t ever think about it, but the things that we buy and use every day — from cell phones and vacuum cleaners to coffee makers and even cars — are put together using glue,” said Hynes. “I saw a gap in the marketplace. There were people who made dispensing equipment and there were people who made robots, but when they tried to marry them together it was not seamless and it didn’t work well.”

A Precision Valve and Automation fluid dispensing machine in action.
PVA’s robotic machinery is used by manufacturers to precisely bond products together and protect electronic circuit boards.

With both a growing family and business competing for space in his home, Hynes moved PVA’s operations to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Incubator Center in Troy, New York. It was there that PVA expanded to building actual robots to automate its growing valve technology.

“So, what the market needed was a company that knew a lot about fluid management, metering and dispensing, and also factory automation and robotics — and doing it all under the same roof,” said Hynes.

His first automated dispensing system robot — the PVA1000 — was sold on Oct. 26, 1992, and from there the company established itself as an industry leader in fluid dispensing solutions, custom automation products, and conformal coating systems — which protect electronic circuit boards from moisture or chemical contaminants.

International banking services for a global company

Over the past 25 years, PVA has grown from six employees to over 225, built a 105,000-square-foot headquarters in Cohoes, New York, and has sales and service locations in the U.S., Asia, Mexico, and Europe.

With an expanding global footprint, Hynes wanted to see what additional bank services were available to help PVA navigate the complexities of operating an international business. So in 2017, after hearing pitches from nearly a dozen financial service companies, PVA selected Bryant Cassella and Wells Fargo Middle Market Banking.

“Our previous bank did not offer the worldwide banking services that our expansion overseas demanded,” said Hynes. “So when Bryant showed us what Wells Fargo could provide in that area, it made it a very easy decision to move our business.”

Cassella and his team at Wells Fargo have also helped PVA secure a working capital line of credit, provided a full suite of domestic and international treasury services, and are assisting Hynes in estate and succession planning as he looks ahead to retirement.

“Banking is a relationship business,” Hynes said. “And the people we know at Wells Fargo — Bryant and his team — are people that we want to work with and people we trust to help us take PVA into the future.”

Contributors: Christopher Frers
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