The brainchild of cousins Dave Evans and Charlie Dewey, the Evans Capacitor Co. in East Providence has been inventing, developing and producing unique, high-energy, density capacitors since it opened its doors in 1996. Today, Evans Capacitor’s hybrid capacitors have established a niche for very high-power, high-reliability pieces with aerospace and defense applications.
A capacitor is a device used to store an electric charge, consisting of one or more pairs of conductors separated by an insulator. Evans Capacitor sells directly to every major aerospace and defense company in the country, as well as overseas.
“Dave has a considerable patent portfolio in capacitor materials and methods,” said Dewey, Evans Capacitor’s CEO. “He has developed unique capacitor designs that utilize this technology to provide our customers with enabling solutions to their power needs.”
In fact, the Tantalum Hybrid Capacitor that company president Evans developed ultimately became the enabling technology for advanced phased-array surveillance radars for defense. It is one of Evans Capacitor’s highest volume products, with sales to companies including Northrop, Lockheed and Raytheon.
“Our focus is sharp, and we are innovators,” Evans said. “Some [of our capacitors] are used in defense applications and on missions in space. We must build them all like our lives depend on it.”
With 29 employees, more than 100 customers from the giants of aerospace to small development houses, and $13.4 million in revenue in 2013 (a figure expected to grow by as much as 20 percent this year), business at Evans Capacitor is strong.
In just the past 12 months, Evans Capacitor won a contract with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California on a new, high-power laser program – a huge gesture of approval for Evans Capacitor’s newest model of hybrid capacitor, called the TDD. Livermore tested the devices and determined them to be the highest-power density capacitors available and the key to Livermore’s pulse power requirements.
The company has also passed several key qualifications with customers in the oil and gas exploration markets and is developing a family of high-temperature hybrid capacitors specifically designed for the environments of oil and gas exploration and drilling tools. In addition, Evans Capacitor passed two new qualifications with NASA for use of hybrid capacitors in space systems.
“We are able to manufacture our products here in Rhode Island because we have a unique, niche product that has little labor content compared to the high material cost and value,” Dewey said. “We are able to highly train and compensate our employees because the product value is so high.”