Schenectady County

Von Roll expansion finally a go in Rotterdam

A global manufacturer of electrical insulation products is finally moving forward on a $21 million e
Vonbol at 1 West Campbell Avenue in Rotterdam Tuesday, Janaury 20, 2015.
Vonbol at 1 West Campbell Avenue in Rotterdam Tuesday, Janaury 20, 2015.

A global manufacturer of electrical insulation products is finally moving forward on a $21 million expansion at its Rotterdam manufacturing plant with the help of nearly $1 million in incentives from the state.

Swiss company Von Roll USA Inc. announced Tuesday it’s consolidating work from its New Jersey facility into its Rotterdam operations and expanding the plant on West Campbell Road to accommodate new machinery, equipment and 18 new jobs. The company currently employs 155 in town.

Empire State Development will provide the company with $900,000 in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits for creating new jobs. It is also eligible to apply for 670 kilowatts of ReCharge NY power from the New York Power Authority.

“This is an exciting time for Von Roll,” said Jonathan Roberts, chief operating officer and general manager of the company’s North American operations, in a news release. “We are fully committed to our strong workforce, the community and our global trading partners. This investment in our New York facility is an investment in the future of Von Roll and will help us expand our growth into the North American market.”

The company makes products and systems for power generation, transmission and distribution, including resins, flexible laminates, magnet wire, mica and glass-based insulating materials, and is a leading supplier in the electro-mechanical market. It has a presence in 20 countries and employs 2,520 across more than 30 sites.

It put roots down in Rotterdam in 1995 after acquiring Insulations Materials Inc. (previously a division of General Electric). The local plant mostly handles resin and varnishes, mica, surge rope, shrink film and silicone-coated fabrics. The New Jersey plant also handles resins and varnishes.

In 2007, Von Roll announced it would move its North American headquarters from Atlanta to its 22-acre Rotterdam campus, with a $20 million investment and 50 new jobs planned over five years. But later that year, as company executives became embroiled in a federal lawsuit involving alleged breach of contract, the company suspended expansion plans as it underwent a massive turnover in management. The plan has been on hold ever since.

“Everything stopped, so it was back to the drawing board,” said Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority. “We’ve been working on it ever since with the state. We have never given up.”

The investment is finally moving forward, he said, and will involve both expansion and modernization of the West Campbell Road facility.

The state is touting the expansion plan as a major win in job retention, since the company could have consolidated operations anywhere in the country.

“New York state’s support will help Von Roll expand its existing facility and purchase and install new machinery and equipment, allowing the company to increase production and operate more efficiently,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Ken Adams, in the release. “The company’s job commitment will also retain 155 jobs and create 18 new, good-paying jobs in Schenectady.”

Employees are represented by IUE-CWA Local 301, which also considers the jobs high paying and with good benefits.

“Retaining Von Roll USA in Schenectady County is a major win for our economic development efforts,” said Schenectady County Legislature Chairman Anthony Jasenski in the release. “This global company could have located these jobs anywhere in the United States, and we are excited that they have chosen to stay and grow in Schenectady County.”

Categories: Business, News

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