In 1956, at 5 years of age, Randy Epner, founder of PMPC, could be found on the plating floor of his family’s plating company, Cohan-Epner Co. The company was founded in 1911 by Mr. Epner’s grandfather, Louis Epner and his brother-in- law Emmanuel Cohen, and is still in operation today under the name of Epner Technology, Inc. (visit Epner Technology) In the late 1970’s Cohan-Epner was plating thousands of pieces of flatware and watchbands every day. At their height of gold consumption, the company consumed 1000 ounces of gold a month. It was in this environment that the early electrolytic systems for recovery of precious metals from drag-out solutions and other rinse waters were conceived. However, those early systems had many draw-backs. The most severe being the explosions that would occur without warning with a force that was far from insignificant. Besides this problem, the systems were very large and unwieldy.
Mr. Epner left the family business in 1978 in order to “do his own thing.” He wanted to build a better “mouse trap,” and with the introduction in June of 1979 of the Gold Bug® metals recovery system, seems to have done just that. His system has literally changed the way the entire industry recovers their precious metals. For the first time, a totally-reliable system could be put in a drag-out tank and suck out the metals just as quickly as they were being added to the tank. However, the biggest advantage of this system was the ability to be able to determine exactly how much was recovered prior to having it actually leave the plant. These advantages were readily acknowledged by happy customers, as evidenced by the great success of the product from the first day it was introduced.
The success of PMPC’s Gold Bug® system begged for similar systems but of greater capacity. Thus the Ionnet™ was introduced in 1985 with an equivalent power and capacity of about 20 Gold Bug® systems and then the IonnetX™ in 2009 with the power and capacity of about 45 Gold Bug® systems. As a result of the ability to quickly recover both heavy and precious metals to insignificant concentrations from large volumes of solutions with equipment of relatively small size, new paradigms for the treatment of heavy metals are now possible and are occurring in factories large and small. Because of this, Mr. Epner has expanded the focus of PMPC to include heavy metals recovery and anti-pollution applications. He believes that the type of impact that his Gold Bug® has had on precious metals is now attainable with heavy metals.