Festo bringing unprecedented growth in advanced automation technology to Mason, Ohio, almost tripling existing facility. Festo also announces leadership transition.
April 11, 2018
by Canadian Packaging staff
MASON, Ohio—The City of Mason, Ohio and Festo, a German-based global corporation specializing in advanced automation technology for more than 40 industries, has announced the company will expand its existing state-of-the-art regional service and manufacturing center in Mason by approximately 350,000 square feet, nearly tripling the company’s capacity in logistics, production and industrial training solutions offered through its Festo Didactic Learning Center, which serves manufacturing companies and colleges throughout the Tristate.
Construction will be conducted in two phases and is expected to be completed by 2024.
The company also plans to add 350 jobs in the fields of engineering, mechatronics, purchasing and material management, as well as production and logistics operations, over the next five years.
Festo, which maintains United States and North American regional headquarters in New York, first announced its move to Mason in 2013, opening doors in 2015 to a $50 million, 150,000 square-foot facility located along the I-71 Innovation Corridor.
Festo’s leadership team credits the strong foundation established with city, regional and state officials, as well as the opportunities the regional ecosystem provides in terms of talent, connectivity and innovation in Industry 4.0/Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), as the impetus to locate and expand here. This new investment is a next step in maximizing the 47-acre campus acquired by Festo to meet growing demands in the North American market.
“Strong market growth in the U.S. and other North American countries requires us to expand our capacity in logistics and production to ensure product and service excellence for our customers,” says Oliver Ring, Festo’s global senior vice-president of supply chain and logistics. “We are pleased and proud to announce this substantial expansion here in Mason, where our team feels welcome and at home. We look forward to a long future of collaboration and success with our customers and partners.”
Festo, North America chief executive officer Carlos Miranda adds: “As we continue to grow in the U.S. and North America, this strategic investment in production, logistics and supply chain excellence will enable us to better supply our customers long term.”
Festo U.S. president and chief executive officer Rich Huss states, “Digitalization trends around Industry 4.0 (IIoT) are driving fast-paced changes in the automation industry. To keep up with and meet our customers’ high expectations, this investment will allow us to increase local production and strengthen our regional supply chain long term.”
City of Mason mayor Victor Kidd explains that, “While this may seem like a traditional economic development announcement on the surface, this investment represents far more. Our four-year friendship with Festo runs deep. Through its incredible generosity to our community and schools, Festo has redefined what it means to be a partner, helping to inspire curiosity in STEM education in our youngest residents.”
The City of Mason, REDI Cincinnati and JobsOhio are collaborating to create an incentive package for Festo. The expansion is contingent upon the approval of those incentives at the local level and from JobsOhio, which will be made public after review from the appropriate approval bodies.
“Festo’s expansion is an example of how talent, collaboration and commitment to innovation can help a global advanced manufacturing leader thrive in Ohio,” says JobsOhio Director for Advanced Manufacturing Glenn Richardson. “Festo has been a fantastic partner in Mason, investing in cutting-edge technology, creative training solutions and hundreds of new jobs for Ohioans.”
Kimm Coyner, vice-president of business development and project management at REDI Cincinnati notes: “Festo has a passion for transforming the way people work with their innovative technology solutions. Their increased investment in our region helps advance our leadership in IIoT. We are proud of our partnership, which has focused on strengthening our talent, including sponsorship of the City of Mason’s Innovation Week.”
Local Leadership at Festo Transitioning
Festo also will mark a leadership transition at its Mason campus. Yannick Schilly, the chief operating officer and vice-president of product supply for North America who successfully relocated and established Festo’s regional service and manufacturing center in Mason, will step down.
Dr. Nikolas Gebhard is Schilly’s successor. He has served since 2012 in various positions at Festo in engineering and with the supply chain division. Schilly will stay on through June to ensure a smooth transition.
“After four successful years, I have decided to establish my own business venture here,” says Schilly. “Mason has become the perfect home to my Festo family, as well as my own family.”
Adds Gebhard, “Having worked in Italy and Germany, I am excited about this investment and my new professional and personal challenge here in the U.S. After several months of close collaboration with the local Festo team in Mason, I now look forward to taking the Mason campus to the next level and to fostering the wonderful partnerships Festo has forged here. My family and I look forward to joining this community, which has already embraced our Festo family.”
Festo and City of Mason Provide Model for Strong Public-Private-Partnership
Under Schilly’s leadership, Festo has worked closely with the City of Mason to foster a strong public-private-partnership that supports community education and talent development; inspires students of all ages to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields; and brings economic benefits to the technology ecosystem already present in the city and region. Festo served as a founding partner in launching the City of Mason Innovation Week in 2015 with its Bionic Learning Network, which illustrates how principles from nature provide inspiration and creative solutions to technical and industrial applications. Last year, Festo showcased its Mobile Mechatronics Lab, featuring the latest advancements in energy-efficient automation technology.
Festo is a leading worldwide supplier of intelligent automation solutions including pneumatic and electromechanical systems, components and controls for process control and factory automation. Festo’s products and services are available in 176 countries. With approximately 20,000 employees in more than 250 branch offices in 61 countries worldwide, Festo’s sales exceeded US$3.5 billion last year. Actual figures for 2017 will be released in late April. Each year, Festo invests approximately eight percent of its revenue in research and development. For more information, visit www.festo.com.
About Festo Didactic
Festo Didactic is the world-leading equipment and solution provider for technical education. The company designs and implements learning laboratories, educational equipment and programs that train people to perform in highly dynamic and complex industrial environments. Festo Didactic’s Learning Center in Mason, Ohio, serves manufacturing companies and colleges in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, offering a wide range of industrial solutions training and qualifications related to Industry 4.0 (IIoT). The company worked together with Sinclair Community College to create an accredited two-year Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program to help employers develop skills that are missing in the workforce today by combining theoretical education, hands-on training and on-the-job training. For more information, visit www.festo-didactic.com.