Small Business Success Story: Ceramic Missile Domes

Original Article: Marlborough

MARLBOROUGH – Passing around a transparent ceramic missile dome made at CeraNova Corp. last Wednesday, local leaders marveled at the work the eight-person company is doing on a daily basis.

“I’m really impressed,” said U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas while touring the facility with company leaders, Mayor Arthur Vigeant and state Rep. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough.

The domes, which are made with ceramic powders and go through a process to make them transparent, protect infrared sensors on the front of heat seeking missiles traveling at speeds upwards of Mach 3. The domes must be transparent to ensure the sensors receive and transmit signals, said Mark Parish, technical director at CeraNova.

“It has to stay intact,” said Parish. “It only has to work once. It has to work and nothing can stop it.”

Officials at CeraNova  have spent the past decade researching, testing and perfecting the domes.

“We’re a small business, but we’re doing exciting work,” said Marina Pascucci, president of CeraNova.

Founded in 1992 and originally located in Hopedale, CeraNova moved to Marlborough in 2003. The company, whose facility is on Hayes Memorial Drive, has partnered with numerous businesses and branches of government, including Raytheon, the Army, Air Force, Navy and NASA.

John Gannon Jr., vice president of engineering and product development, said the company is also working on other markets segments, such as touch screens for smartphones, watches and industrial equipment. Manufacturers using touch screens are interested in working with CeraNova, he said.

“The performance of the materials is much better than what’s in use now,” Gannon said. “The problem is getting the cost down. We’re hopeful it’s an area we can get into.”

Pascucci hopes CeraNova can expand its workforce once the company moves into other markets.

After Wednesday’s hour-long tour, Gregoire, D-Marlborough, described the work as “fascinating.”

“They’re doing so many amazing things,” she said. “We hope to keep them in Marlborough and help them succeed.”

Tsongas, D-3rd, is also excited about CeraNova’s future.

“I find there’s no substitute to getting into these companies and seeing the innovative processes,” she said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

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