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Carestream to expand operations at Eastman Business Park

Medical imaging systems and non-destructive testing company Carestream plans to expand its film finishing operations at Eastman Business Park. The company has committed to creating up to 70 new jobs over the next five years while retaining 47 jobs.

The first phase of the project will include an additional 16,000 square feet of space at Carestream’s current location, with the potential for further expansion opportunities. Additional upgrades will include the purchase of new machinery and support upgrades to the buildings’ utility infrastructure, dark rooms, packaging lines and the addition of a new wet lab.

Empire State Development will provide up to $700,000 in Excelsior Tax Credits in exchange for job creation commitments. The total project cost has been placed at roughly $3 million. Renovation work is expected to begin in May and be completed in the second quarter of 2022. Monroe County, the city of Rochester and Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. also will assist with the project.

“Carestream continues to be a leader in the medical and dental film markets. We are excited to be able to grow our team and invest in the Rochester area,” said Carestream Chairman, President and CEO David Westgate. “Our team’s innovation and enthusiasm are a testament to Carestream’s dedication to providing the best products in our market segments. Carestream continues to march forward toward a strong, successful future.”

Last fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Carestream would help in the fight against COVID-19 by investing more than $1.67 million to manufacture135,000 face shields. The CARESTREAM Shield is being manufactured in Rochester and is available for purchase from select distributors and Amazon. The company was awarded $750,000 in grant funds from the state to help alleviate product shortages due to supply chain issues.

“This investment into Eastman Business Park will not only create jobs but continues to expand on the revitalization efforts in a much-needed part of our community,” said state Sen. Jeremy Cooney, D-Greece. “We appreciate the work of Carestream and Empire State Development for their support of this critical project.”

Carestream’s expansion builds on the success of EBP, the site where Eastman Kodak Co. began manufacturing photographic film and paper more than a century ago. The campus continues to be repurposed, and today supports nearly114 companies, employing more than 6,000 people. In addition to Carestream, LiDestri Food and Drink, Kodak, DuPont, L3 Harris, Columbia Care, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Love Beets, Li-Cycle and Acquest Development are among several companies operating at the business campus.

“Kodak built Eastman Business Park to manufacture film and as such we heartily welcome Carestream’s new film manufacturing operation to the site. The infrastructure here provides an ideal environment for making film, but it is also useful for a wide range of innovative high-tech manufacturing approaches,” said EBP President and Kodak CFO David Bullwinkle. “We are pleased to support Carestream’s efforts to support job growth into Rochester at Eastman Business Park.”

With 1,282 patents granted worldwide, Carestream is a worldwide provider of medical imaging systems; X-ray imaging systems for non-destructive testing; and precision contract coating services for a wide range of industrial, medical, electronic and other applications — all backed by a global service and support network. Carestream employs close to 700 workers statewide.

[email protected]/585-653-4021

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Li-Cycle EBP facility up and running

Li-Cycle's Rochester "spoke" is operational. In this photo, a module is being unloaded at the Eastman Business Park facility. (photo provided)
Li-Cycle’s Rochester “spoke” is operational. In this photo, a module is being unloaded at the Eastman Business Park facility. (photo provided)

Canadian lithium-ion battery recycler Li-Cycle Corp. has completed its Rochester “spoke” facility, its largest capacity recycling facility in North America.

The Eastman Business Park facility will produce an intermediate mixed battery material product known as “black mass” from all types of spent lithium-ion batteries. The facility, the second “spoke” for the company, has the capacity to process up to 5,000 tons of spent lithium-ion batteries per year, which brings Li-Cycle’s total recycling capacity to 10,000 tons per year through its two North American spokes.

Ajay Kochhar
Ajay Kochhar

“This is a crucial step in scaling Li-Cycle’s technology and creating a strong foundation for the circular supply chain for lithium-ion batteries in a world where increased electrification is needed to combat climate change,” said Li-Cycle CEO Ajay Kochhtar in a statement. “Our goal is to better manage end-of-life lithium-ion batteries in order to meet the increasing demand for critical battery materials by creating a local source for these materials in North America.”

Li-Cycle was founded in 2016 in Toronto with the vision of solving the global end-of-life lithium-ion battery problem and creating a secondary supply to meet the demand for critical battery materials through innovative recycling technology. Historically, most lithium-ion battery recycling processes have treated the product as waste and a liability.

The company uses an innovative spoke and hub process wherein batteries are shipped to an initial spoke location, where the materials are mechanically processed. The material then is transported to a second hub location where the intermediate product from the spoke is put through a hydrometallurgical, or wet chemistry, process. The resulting components are then returned to their original, battery-grade chemical states for reintegration into the lithium-ion battery supply chain.

Both spokes will supply black mass to Li-Cycle’s future hub, which will be constructed at Eastman Business Park by 2022. The hub will process black mass in order to produce critical, battery-grade materials from recycled sources, as well as other recycled materials that can be returned to the economy.

Li-Cycle recently closed a Series C equity funding round to fund this development and to drive expansion into international markets.

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Biosciences company to construct $17 million plant at Eastman Business Park

Bio-performance company GreenLight Biosciences Inc. plans to construct a pilot plant at a building at Eastman Business Park (EBP). The project will create up to 30 jobs that will support the production of GreenLight’s ribonucleic acid-based solutions for the agriculture and healthcare industries.

Empire State Development will support the project with up to $600,000 through the Excelsior Jobs Program in exchange for job creation commitments. The total project cost is estimated at $16.6 million. Monroe County and Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. also assisted with the project.

“New York State’s strategic investments help position cutting-edge science for commercialization and economic growth,” said Eric Gertler, ESD acting commissioner, president and CEO-designate. “GreenLight Biosciences and its partners are working to create the next generation of environmentally innovative products, which will create jobs and drive economic activity in Rochester and throughout the region.”

The plant will enable GreenLight to bring its cell-free biomanufacturing process, GreenWorX, to market in order to produce low-cost, high-quality RNA. The production of RNA through GreenWorX will help farmers grow food in a way that is natural and safe by targeting specific pests without harming other species or the environment.

GreenLight’s innovations also can be used to hasten the discovery and commercialization of vaccines and antibody therapies, officials noted. Founded in 2009, GreenLight Biosciences is headquartered in Medford, Mass., and its research and development efforts are located at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina.

“We are disrupting the industry by bringing nature and technology together to develop sustainable, precise biocontrol solutions, and it’s critical that we continue to build a workforce that can carry these innovations forward,” said GreenLight’s Chief Operating Officer Carole Cobb in a statement. “Eastman Business Park is particularly attractive to us because of the access to talented scientists and manufacturing experts in the Rochester area as well as the extensive infrastructure and capabilities of EBP.”

EBP, where Eastman Kodak Co. began manufacturing photographic film and paper more than a century ago, is being reinvigorated. The campus supports more than 114 companies employing  6,000 people. EBP is home to Kodak operations and to companies such as DuPont Nutrition & Health, Plug Power Inc., BEST Test and Commercialization Center, LiDestri Foods Inc. and Clearwater Organic Farms LLC, among others.

“Greenlight Biosciences is another perfect fit for the growing family of innovative companies making their way to Eastman Business Park. EBP’s formula is working and we’re giving our full support to their efforts to bring new industry, investment, and jobs to the area,” said Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich. “Greenlight Biosciences is working to bolster the food and beverage and health care industries, which are among the fastest-growing industries in Greece and our neighboring communities. This kind of complementary growth couples EBP’s industrial infrastructure and our skilled workforce, which is a recipe for success. We’ll continue working with economic development partners and prioritizing permits and approvals necessary to bring this project and others like it to fruition.”

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
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Canadian battery recovery company coming to Eastman Business Park

A Canadian battery recovery company plans to set up operations at Eastman Business Park, creating roughly two-dozen jobs in its first year of operation.

Li-Cycle Corp., a North American lithium-ion battery resource recovery company, will establish its first U.S.-based facility in northern Monroe County. EBP was selected as the best location to serve the company’s client base in the South and Midwest.

In exchange for job commitments of at least 23 jobs in its first year, Li-Cycle will receive assistance from Empire State Development of up to $450,000 through the Excelsior Jobs Program. The County of Monroe and Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. also are assisting with the project.

The total project cost is expected to be $23.3 million over a three-year period, but Li-Cycle said it expects the facility to be fully operational later this year.

“As the United States and world enter an unprecedented phase of growth for electric vehicles and electro-mobility, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and the critical materials within them are crucial for the industry’s success,” said Li-Cycle CEO and Co-founder Ajay Kochhar in a statement Tuesday. “The facility will foster the development of closed-loop lithium-ion battery resource recovery in the State of New York and the broader United States market. In turn, we are pleased to support the creation of high-quality jobs in the Finger Lakes region and look forward to our continued growth in the EBP.”

Li-Cycle was founded in 2016 and was awarded a grant through Sustainable Development Technology Canada to construct a demonstration facility. With that facility functional, the company has undertaken the first phase of its commercialization process at EBP.

Initially, Li-Cycle will occupy 57,000 square feet of a pre-existing process building and is considering additional phases for the project in the coming years, officials said.

“The economy of the future will be grounded in innovation and sustainability, qualities embodied by Li-Cycle,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “I’m grateful for its partnership with ESD in bringing its first U.S. based lithium-ion battery recycling center to Eastman Business Park. This is just the latest development to reinforce Monroe County’s expanding role as a home to the emerging technology industry.”

Li-Cycle has developed and validated a process that allows them to recover 80 to 100 percent of all materials found in lithium-ion batteries while maintaining no wastewater discharge and actualizing the company’s zero-waste philosophy. All materials that are recovered from the batteries are either processed to the point of being reusable in battery production, thus closing the loop, or sent for further processing to other recyclers to ensure all materials generated are being returned to the economy. The company is able to process all types of lithium-ion batteries used in electronic devices, e-mobility, electric vehicles and energy storage.

“We welcome Li-Cycle to the energy storage eco-system at Eastman Business Park,” said EBP President and Eastman Kodak Co. CFO Dave Bullwinkle. “Li-Cycle’s battery content recovery operations are the perfect complement to Kodak’s battery coating and cell assembly services and the Best Test & Commercialization Center run by DNV-GL. Li-Cycle joins energy storage tenants including Plug Power, Nohms Technologies, Energy Materials Corp. and Graphenix Development Inc. Li-Cycle operations will take advantage of the amazing utility and service infrastructure available at Eastman Business Park, reducing costs and speeding time to market.”

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Plug Power completes expansion at EBP

Plug Power Inc., an Albany area provider of modern hydrogen and fuel cell technology, has completed its nearly $4 million expansion in Rochester. The move comes less than a year after the opening of the company’s Eastman Business Park facility.

“As CEO of a prominent Upstate New York business, I am delighted that Plug Power has been able to grow its presence in the great city of Rochester,” Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said in a statement this week.

The company in February announced plans to pump $3.7 million into the former American Fuel Cell facility, which it purchased last June. The expansion was expected to add 80 jobs in Rochester.

The new Rochester facilities include engineering and administrative offices, research and development laboratory space and a warehouse location, officials said this week. The new labs come equipped with cutting-edge technology and ample resources supporting Plug Power’s ongoing efforts to reduce costs, improve durability and develop new materials for its proprietary membrane electrode assembly technology.

The Rochester opening comes at an important time for Plug Power, which recently reported its largest second-quarter in company history. Company officials said Plug Power is on target to be the largest MEA producer in the country by year’s end.

“New York State leadership has been incredibly supportive of the work we’re doing, and the Finger Lakes region has proved itself to be not only rife with incredible talent, but also a wonderful place to live,” Marsh said. “We’re absolutely thrilled to be bringing new job opportunities to an area that has been so instrumental to Plug Power’s growth and continued success in recent years.”

In addition to job opportunities, the Rochester expansion also will serve to facilitate Plug Power’s continued collaboration with area schools such as Rochester Institute of Technology, which the company has partnered with in the past on testing and summer internship opportunities.

Founded in 1997, Plug Power focuses on the design, development, commercialization and manufacture of hydrogen and fuel cell systems.

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Eastman Business Park gets approval for rezoning

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. But that parking lot could be turned back into a paradise, of sorts, following Tuesday’s unanimous vote by Rochester City Council in favor of rezoning parts of Eastman Business Park.

Subareas 1 and 2, which will be rezoned for work/live/play facilities, are show on this rendering, which was part of a proposal voted on by Rochester City Council Tuesday evening.
Subareas 1 and 2, which will be rezoned for work/live/play facilities, are shown on this rendering, which was part of a proposal voted on by Rochester City Council Tuesday evening.

A proposal by Mayor Lovely Warren brought to City Council in June to rezone EBP Planned Development District #12 into an area that would facilitate the development of a range of mixed residential, nonresidential and recreation uses for the 170-acre site. The proposal passed with an 8-0 vote.

Large portions of the former Kodak Park have remained unused or underused for some time. In her letter to City Council, Warren noted that in 2010, EBP Planned Development District was created to provide flexible regulations that would promote “high employment and economic development and capitalize on extensive on-site utilities and infrastructure.”

Since that time, EBP has filled several sites, primarily with manufacturing facilities.

“Eastman Business Park is transforming (into) an urban-style, mixed-use innovation district, complete with manufacturing, retail, office and residential space,” Warren wrote in her letter. “Already a hub for high-tech industries, the district is becoming an entertainment destination for visitors as a result of continuing investment in the Kodak Center.”

As development continues, she wrote, it is expected more residents will move into the area, “creating a vibrant, thriving and revitalized community.”

The EBP proposal calls for new development that will “frame and enhance” public and private streets and open spaces in the area, including heavily traveled West Ridge Road and Lake Avenue. The goal, according to the proposal, is to transform the streets from “high volume, high speed” roads to balanced spaces that include pedestrian, bicycle and transit amenities.

The proposal suggests a 30 mile per hour speed limit in the area.

A rendering shows the scope of the Eastman Business Park rezoning.
A rendering shows the scope of the Eastman Business Park rezoning.

Eastman Avenue and new, internal streets east of Lake Avenue will be pedestrian-oriented and include decorative street lighting, trees and other elements to create “a public realm welcoming and comfortable to all users.”

Permitted uses of subarea 1 include animal hospitals and daycare, amusement centers, bars and restaurants, adult daycare, hotels, health clubs, museums, light industrial facilities, corporate offices and others.

Subarea 2 includes much of the same but adds single-family and two-family attached homes, as well as multi-family dwellings. All new buildings in both subareas will require a 100-foot distance from a residential district.

A handful of EBP neighbors expressed concerns with the rezoning, in particular, the light industrial portion of the proposal that would replace parking lots. In a letter from the Maplewood Neighborhood Association, President Wayne Williams Jr. wrote that the group did not support the light industrial plan, stating that the neighborhood “has never held industrial properties, and current homeowners bought their properties believing that industrial activity would be solely on the west side of Lake Avenue—across a ‘moat-like’ multi-lane highway.”

During a June 10 City Planning Commission meeting, EBP Vice President of Development Tim Palmer noted his participation in garnering feedback from residents near the proposed development, stating most residents were pleased with the proposal.

“They liked the ideas,” Palmer said during the meeting, “and wanted to see it move from just acres and acres of parking lot, which is what it is today, to something that’s more attractive and useful for everyone down the road.”

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Eastman Business Park leader to retire

Dolores Kruchten
Dolores Kruchten

Dolores Kruchten, longtime Eastman Kodak Co. staffer and leader of Eastman Business Park,  will retire next month. Kodak CFO Dave Bullwinkle will assume responsibility for EBP and Kodak Corporate Real Estate at that time.

During her 36-year career as a senior executive at Kodak, Kruchten accomplished a number of things, officials said, most recently leveraging the unique qualities of EBP as an ideal location for manufacturers in the chemical processing, biopharma, food and beverage processing, plastics, photonics and energy storage spaces.

“We appreciate the many accomplishments and contributions Dolores brought to Eastman Business Park,” Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to leverage this important asset to our company and the Greater Rochester area.”

Over the last three years, Kruchten grew the number of companies operating in the park by 25 percent, and nearly 50 active opportunities. The Kodak Center is being revitalized with a new marquee, dozens of national acts and a new Kodak Experience Center opening Dec. 6.

“Eastman Business Park is on a strong growth path today; new buildings are going up for the first time in decades,” Kruchten said. “The face of the area is changing for the good and I am very pleased to have had a chance to contribute to the revitalization of this great asset to the Greater Rochester area, to New York State and to the country.”

Bullwinkle, a strong supporter of the park and the work undertaken to date, said Kodak will continue to invest in EBP to accelerate growth and create jobs.

“Kodak operations hired 134 new employees in 2017 for a broad range of jobs, from manufacturing process engineer to plumber/pipefitter to chemical operator and many more roles,” he noted.

Working for Bullwinkle will be Arline Liberti, vice president, asset and property, EBPD and corporate real estate; and Tim Palmer, vice president, development, EBPD and corporate real estate.

Eastman Business Park is a 1,200-acre research and development and manufacturing campus with more than 16 million square feet of multi-scale manufacturing, distribution, lab and office space. There are currently nearly 100 companies onsite employing more than 6,000 people.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
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ON Semiconductor Corp. completes $6.6 million expansion

ON Semiconductor has completed a $6.6 million expansion at Eastman Business Park, a move expected to create 34 jobs and retain 185.
ON Semiconductor has completed a $6.6 million expansion at Eastman Business Park, a move expected to create 34 jobs and retain 185.

ON Semiconductor Corp. on Wednesday officially opened its $6.6 million expansion at Eastman Business Park, a move that is expected to create 34 new jobs at the facility over the next two years.

The expanded test and assembly operation has been several years in the making, beginning when ON Semiconductor in 2014 purchased Truesense Imaging, a Rochester-based provider of high-performance image sensing devices, for some $95 million in cash.

“A few years ago when we acquired Truesense, when I first came (to Eastman Business Park), I can tell you it was a little depressing,” said Mark Goranson, senior vice president of global operations. “We saw the old Kodak buildings that were largely empty and we were talking about trying to make this business cost competitive.”

One of the areas ON Semiconductor officials were considering was Japan, Goranson said, because of the cost-effective nature of doing business there. The company’s now Rochester general manager Michael Miller worked with local and state government, Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. and others to make the move both cost-effective and viable for the long term.

“Many of you know that part of the success in this area comes from the fact that this region—only one of three in the state—won $500 million just a short time ago under an initiative called the Upstate Revitalization Initiative,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a press gathering at ON Semiconductor this week. “The Finger Lakes Forward initiative has brought new money, new energy and new excitement to this area, and that is part of what we’re talking about here today.”

The state’s investment in ON Semiconductor includes a $4.3 million Finger Lakes Forward URI grant, as well as $1.7 million through the Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program, in exchange for job creation commitments.

“These are good-paying jobs that we desperately need in this area so you can support a family (and) send your kids to one of the outstanding educational institutions in this area,” Hochul said. “So this is a quality-of-life place to work.”

Phoenix-based ON Semiconductor is focused on energy efficient innovations in an effort to reduce global energy use. The Rochester site develops and manufactures image sensor devices for commercial, industrial and professional imaging applications, including machine vision, surveillance, traffic monitoring, medical and scientific imaging and photography. (Photo by Velvet Spicer)
Phoenix-based ON Semiconductor is focused on energy-efficient innovations in an effort to reduce global energy use.  (Photo by Velvet Spicer)

Phoenix-based ON Semiconductor is focused on energy-efficient innovations in an effort to reduce global energy use. The Rochester site develops and manufactures image-sensor devices for commercial, industrial and professional imaging applications, including machine vision, surveillance, traffic monitoring, medical and scientific imaging and photography.

The expansion includes both a Class 100 clean room and a Class 10 clean room, a requirement for image sensors. A ballroom design, or open concept, allows flexibility for new products and ease of design change. Automated equipment will help increase output at the expanded facility.

“We understood what it took to keep this facility here. We knew the work that was going to be involved,” Miller said of his pitch to officials. “The grant money that was received … enabled quite a bit of work here.”

The company employs 185 at its Lake Avenue facility and more than 30,000 worldwide. The Lake Avenue facility also houses the American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) Integrated Photonics headquarters and its test, assembly and packaging facility, which is slated to open later this year.

“One of the things I’m really proud of is the teamwork we have in this community because Mark and Michael and ON, they had choices. The fact that they expanded here makes a difference,” said Bob Duffy, president of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, noting that the AIM Photonics center was another factor in ON Semiconductor’s decision to expand in Rochester.

“I want to thank Mark for his leadership and for recognizing that there’s no place like Rochester and nobody does it better than Rochester, New York,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said. “I want to let you know you have a great team here.”

Warren toured the facility a year ago following a chance encounter with Miller, she noted, a tour that enlightened her to the work being done at the facility.

The Rochester site develops and manufactures image sensor devices for commercial, industrial and professional imaging applications, including machine vision, surveillance, traffic monitoring, medical and scientific imaging and photography. (Photo by Velvet Spicer)
The Rochester site develops and manufactures image-sensor devices for commercial, industrial and professional imaging applications, including machine vision, surveillance, traffic monitoring, medical and scientific imaging and photography. (Photo by Velvet Spicer)

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, who grew up in the Kodak Park neighborhood, said she remembered the area in its heyday, as well as during its downturn.

“To see the transformation and what’s happening now in Kodak Park is a testament to what we all know: that Monroe County and the City of Rochester and the people in Rochester and Monroe County have the heart, we have the spirit, we have the talent,” Dinolfo said. “The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well right here at Eastman Business Park and you are really making it happen.”

The ON Semiconductor project builds on and continues the success and rebirth of EBP, the site where Kodak began manufacturing photographic film and paper more than a century ago. Today, the campus supports about 100 companies, employing more than 6,000 people.

“What this is going to end up doing for us is make us more competitive, because we’ll have assembly test operations here now so we can have faster time to market. We’ll actually have much improved quality because we don’t have to ship the product back and forth,” Goranson said. “So we expect much improved quality operations and costs.

“So with all of these advantages we decided to go with the investment here and expand the factory here, largely due to Michael and his team and the government of New York,” Goranson said.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer