Growth continues for Festo Corp.’s North American manufacturing operations, as it announced, along with the City of Mason, Ohio, that it will expand its existing state-of-the-art Regional Service and Manufacturing Center in Mason by approximately 350,000 square feet. This will nearly triple 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.
Festo has been rapidly expanding its Mason facilities, which is now home to its custom assembly and kittings operations and is the base for its apprenticeship programs. With this latest announcement, the company said it 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.
Construction will be conducted in two phases and is expected to be completed by 2024.
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,” said 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.”
“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,” said Carlos Miranda, chief executive officer of Festo, North America.
“Digitalization trends around Industry 4.0 (IIoT) are driving fast-paced changes in the automation industry,” said Rich Huss, president and chief executive officer, Festo U.S. “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.”
“While this may seem like a traditional economic development announcement on the surface, this investment represents far more,” said City of Mason Mayor Victor Kidd. “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,” said 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.”
“Festo has a passion for transforming the way people work with their innovative technology solutions,” said Kimm Coyner, vice president of business development and project management at REDI Cincinnati. “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.”
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 was announced as Schilly’s successor earlier today during the company’s Town Hall Meeting. Gebhard 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,” said Schilly. “Mason has become the perfect home to my Festo family, as well as my own family.”
“Having worked in Italy and Germany, I am excited about this investment and my new professional and personal challenge here in the U.S.,” said Gebhard. “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.”
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.