Incorporated in 1974, K-Rain Manufacturing started on the path to become one of the largest manufacturers of irrigation rotors, sprays, valves and controllers in the world.
The Early Years
As a young man, Carl Kah excelled in physics and chemistry and had a keen interest in electronics and aerodynamic design. While still in high school, he designed and built an early version of a cyclone vacuum cleaner. It would be the first of many inventions to come.
From Rockets to Rotors
With a degree in Chemical Engineering and after graduating first in his class from the U.S. Army Artillery Corps Guided Missile School, Carl began work in the Applied Research and Propulsion Division of Pratt & Whitney. His contribution there helped develop the early reusable rocket engines – a technology that is still used by NASA today.
In the evenings, out of concern for his own residential lawn, he used a lathe in his garage to design and machine a valve that cycled from zone to zone thus eliminating the need for multiple valves. Carl patented the valve in 1966.
In 1970, he invented and patented the Modulated Pressure Control. This allowed for the control of the entire irrigation system of a golf course without wires or tubes. The patent was later sold to a manufacturer of golf course irrigation systems. That patent sale was the catalyst to founding K-Rain Manufacturing in 1974.
It’s a Family Affair
Twelve years later in 1986, Carl’s son Chip joined the business and led the development and growth of indexing valves for the wastewater disposal industry. And as early as 1991, K-Rain introduced its first gear drive. By 1993, Chip would be at the helm as president of the company.
1995 was a new turning point for the company. K-Rain began expanded their products to retail and Carl’s two daughters, Gretchen and Deb joined the family business. Gretchen would eventually lead the west coast sales division. Deb, an attorney, would be managing intellectual property and human resources.
Christopher Kah, Chip’s oldest son, joined the business in 2016 and as recently as 2017 son Trevor officially came on board making it three generations driving the company.
K-Rain has always been an “engineering first” environment that continually seeks to pair ease-of-use with industry-leading technology. The commitment to quality has led the company to an ISO9001 quality certification in 2006. ISO is the quality standard for manufacturing and process control.
Carl himself holds over 80 patents specific to the irrigation industry including the three-spring reversing mechanism still used today in most gear driven sprinklers. He continues to use his engineering expertise and creativity to further develop innovative technology.
Sustainability is one of the top priorities at the company with a full range of products for reclaimed/recycled water. “Doing our part for a greener future is just part of our DNA,” says Erica Bauman, Chief Operating Officer. “We’re environmentally conscious about the materials we select and ensuring our manufacturing processes are highly energy efficient as well.”
K-Rain persists in leading the industry globally with new developments in rotor and nozzle engineering. “Our RPS 75i with Intelligent Flow Technology® is the only rotor of its type to significantly reduce water waste by regulating flow and distance proportionately and simultaneously,” notes Chip. “Also, the RPS Select is another unique rotor with 4 built-in nozzles—select the pattern and select the equivalent nozzle for matched precipitation. And in the past few years, we’ve introduced new items such as blue tooth controllers for use with smart phones and WiFi enabled controllers.”
Over 300 men and women make up the K-Rain team, serving customers in the United States and more than 60 countries worldwide. Beyond any technical advancement, people are at the heart of all we do. Every day we go to work with one thought: Make it better.