Reed gets a closer look at Ferro plant in Dresden

John Christensen The Chronicle-Express
Ferro Corp. Operations Manager Wayne Besler took Congressman Tom Reed on a tour of the Penn Yan facility near Dresden recently.

Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) recently paid a visit to Ferro Corporation’s plant near Dresden. “I’ve driven by the sign a million times and always wondered what you do here,” Reed told the assembled group of managers and workers. Following a catered lunch and presentation by Ferro Operations Manager Wayne Besler, Reed was taken on a tour of the plant floor.

Located on 63 acres south of Dresden with 1,100 feet of Seneca Lake frontage since 1976, the 320,000 square foot facility houses Ferro’s Global R&D Center: Dielectrics and Surface Technologies production lines, and is the Customer Service Center for Cleveland, Ohio, Vista, Calif., and Penn Yan. Currently employing 144 skilled workers, Ferro Corporation products are used to make automotive polish, as well as polishing prescription contact lenses and glasses.

“Additionally, we may have polished your microchip in your cell phone, or polished your flat screen TV in your home. Any electronic device that you use at home or work may contain our high purity engineered powders for the multi-layer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) industry. The products manufactured in Dresden enhance your life, and our skilled employees manufacture precision-engineered ceramic materials that you use in your home and work life every day,” says Besler. Ferro Corporation is one of the community’s largest employers and a financial supporter of many local charities.

Reed was impressed with Ferro’s employee loyalty and retention. The average tenure of the employees he met was over 20 years. “These jobs pay well (average $22/ hour), but we struggle to find qualified workers with the work ethic and social ethos it demands,” says Besler. Other members of the workforce talked about the intangible parts of Ferro: the family feeling that exists between the employees and the managers, and the freedom to say what they think might improve operations.

Committed to safety, everyone on the Ferro site is a trained “Behavior-Based Safety” observer. Ferro conducts peer-to-peer reviews throughout the plant and lab, and conducts weekly safety meetings. Besler says as of 2015, the plant has 937,714 hours without a loss of time accident.

Ferro is also committed to the environment an the protection of nearby Seneca Lake. It is ISO 14000 compliant; the standards established by the International Organization for Standardization to help manufacturers minimize how their operations negatively affect the environment; to comply with laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements; and to continually improve environmental safety.

Reed asked one interesting question: “If this were a virgin site, do you believe you would be able or allowed to build this plant today?” Despite Ferro’s excellent environmental safety record without a single incursion to the lake, the answer was generally, “no.”

When Reed asked Besler how he could help Ferro, Besler asked for assistance with any possible subsidies, grants, and federal tax or trade benefits to help Ferro with a potential $2.3 million expansion project to increase production, and thus employment. Reed committed to that help, and then asked for Ferro’s support of President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership Tax and Trade Policy that Reed wholeheartedly backs.

Ferro Facts

Ferro was founded in 1919 in Cleveland, Ohio. Porcelain enamel was the Company's original business, and it remains an important product line today. A leading, global producer of performance materials and chemicals sold to manufacturers worldwide, they have customers in more than 30 industries and over 100 countries, and have manufacturing facilities in 26 countries in the Americas, Europe, North Africa, and Asia with approximately 4,600 employees. Ferro's product lines include tile coatings, digital inks, porcelain enamel, glass enamels, conductive pastes, forehearth colors, inorganic colored pigments, and surface polishing oxides

Penn Yan Site History

• 1946-1957........Site operated by DuPont

• 1960..................Transelco, Inc founded

• 1972............Acquired Tizon Corporation

• 1976......Purchased by Ferro Corporation

• 1992..........................Acquired Cercoa

• 1999......Joined other Ferro sites as EMS

• 2007.......NF Dielectrics Business Added

• 2009..........Joined Ferro ECGM Division

• 2010...........Uden MLM Business Added

• 2014........CBT process transfer from SPF

The Penn Yan plant manufactures ceramic powders and slurries for:

• Dielectrics

High purity engineered powders and formulations for the multi-layer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) industry

• Surface Finishing Material

Zirconia, Ceria and Alumina based powder and slurry formulations for the LCD glass, glass ceramic hard disk, flat glass, cover glass, precision glass, sapphire, plastic lens, metals and automotive polishing applications

• CMP

Ceria based powders and formulations used in semiconductor applications

Ferro was founded in 1919 in Cleveland, Ohio. Porcelain enamel was the Company's original business, and it remains an important product line today. A leading, global producer of performance materials and chemicals sold to manufacturers worldwide, they have customers in more than 30 industries and over 100 countries, and have manufacturing facilities in 26 countries in the Americas, Europe, North Africa, and Asia with approximately 4,600 employees. Ferro's product lines include tile coatings, digital inks, porcelain enamel, glass enamels, conductive pastes, forehearth colors, inorganic colored pigments, and surface polishing oxides

Penn Yan Site History

• 1946-1957........Site operated by DuPont

• 1960..................Transelco, Inc founded

• 1972............Acquired Tizon Corpora?on

• 1976......Purchased by Ferro Corpora?on

• 1992..........................Acquired Cercoa

• 1999......Joined other Ferro sites as EMS

• 2007.......NF Dielectrics Business Added

• 2009..........Joined Ferro ECGM Division

• 2010...........Uden MLM Business Added

• 2014........CBT process transfer from SPF

The Penn Yan plant manufactures ceramic powders and slurries for:

• Dielectrics

High purity engineered powders and formulations for the multi-layer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) industry

• Surface Finishing Material

Zirconia, Ceria and Alumina based powder and slurry formulations for the LCD glass, glass ceramic hard disk, flat glass, cover glass, precision glass, sapphire, plastic lens, metals and automotive polishing applications

• CMP

Ceria based powders and formulations used in semiconductor applications

FERRO FACTS