The company’s Mason, Ohio, Campus will be the site of a Global Production Center and expanded Technology Engineering Center.

August 17, 2022

ISLANDIA, N.Y.—Festo U.S. is planning to expand its 47-acre campus in Mason, Ohio. The company will dedicate a new production facility and expanded research and development center to U.S.-centric automation components, systems, and solutions, Festo said in a release.

Festo U.S. is a major manufacturer of pneumatic and electric automation systems, components, and controls for process and industrial automation. Its campus, 30 miles north of Cincinnati, will be the site of a new Festo Global Production Center (GPC), the designation for the company’s most advanced automated manufacturing facilities. The GPC will focus on flexible automation in response to Festo customers who have indicated they want custom solutions that “maximize performance and differentiate their machines and systems from the competition,” the company said in the releasee.

The Mason GPC is scheduled to begin production by year end. It will be the first of its kind in North America for Festo and the twelfth within the company. In 2019, Festo dedicated its most recent GPC—a provider of high-volume automated production—in Suncun, China.

The Mason campus is also the location of the newly expanded Festo Technology Engineering Center (TEC). Festo TECs are research and development centers where customers collaborate with Festo personnel to co-develop solutions. Festo personnel also engage in market-focused product and system development at a TEC, the company said.

The Technology Engineering Center is the second Festo TEC in the United States. The first facility opened in 2018 in Billerica, Massachusetts, and is devoted to Life Science solutions, including precision liquid handling and mechatronic systems for high-speed automated laboratory equipment. Personnel at the Billerica TEC developed solutions for automating COVID vaccine production and high-speed automated testing for COVID infections, according to the release.

The 47-acre Festo Mason campus currently comprises three buildings totaling 565,000 square feet. The seven-year-old complex houses the Festo North America logistics and warehouse center, a fully automated replenishment and inventory facility that receives, stores, and ships a large selection of the 30,000-item Festo catalog throughout North America. According to Festo, systems within the center can pick 10,000 products per day without an error.

The Mason campus is also the site of the Festo North America production center, where products are assembled and customized. These products include valve terminals, gantry robots, robotic surgical arms, automated pipettes for laboratory devices, and systems for semiconductor manufacture, to name a few. Festo said its personnel at the production center have the expertise and available digitized systems to enable a high level of customization. The new GPC will expand these capabilities exponentially through flexible automation, the company said.

“As Festo builds on its remarkable past as an automation innovator, we confidently forge ahead toward the future,” said Carlos Miranda, CEO, Festo Business Region North America, in the release. “Festo U.S. is growing year over year. We are penetrating new markets as we continue to build on our strong position in the U.S.”

Festo Didactic North America recently relocated to the Mason facility. Festo Didactic supports educators, educational institutions, and industries to develop the workforce of today and tomorrow through both hands-on and digital learning experiences.

“The post-Covid world is changing,” Miranda continued. “Supply-chain issues and other disruptions are causing regionalization and localization to rise. This means the U.S. must expand manufacturing. With a shortage of skilled labor, automated production and training of automation technicians will play an increasing role in U.S. manufacturing growth. As an automation provider and training specialist, Festo’s mission is to support our customers in becoming more productive, more efficient, and more competitive.”

Festo was founded in 1925 by Gottlieb Stoll in Esslingen, Germany, near Stuttgart. The company started as a machine shop that manufactured specialized woodworking machinery. In 1950, Gottlieb’s son, Kurt, realized the potential of pneumatics while at a U.S. trade show.

Festo U.S. was established in Port Washington, New York, in 1972 to provide parts and services for the company’s woodworking equipment and line of pneumatic automation components. Eleven years later, Festo U.S. began producing pneumatic cylinders in the U.S. and launched mobile showrooms that demonstrated the company’s automation technology. Investments in distribution, manufacturing, personnel development, and training steadily followed, the company said.

“Being an automation provider requires more than just supplying components,” Miranda added. “Competitiveness for our customers means aiding them in lowering engineering costs and speeding time to market. Adding value requires a supplier that can speak intelligently with customers about their markets and applications in order to offer the components and solutions that are suitable for their end-use customers. Everyone who engages with Festo U.S. knows these are our qualities.”

Festo U.S. said it is currently developing automated products for the commercial space industry, electric vehicle manufacture, warehouse automation, and the fast-food industry.

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