Advanced manufacturer expanding into former toolmaker building

Greenfield-based Photon Automation, Inc. is expanding into the Stanley Black & Decker building at 501 W. New Road. File photo Mitchell Kirk | Daily Reporter

GREENFIELD — Photon Automation, Inc. is expanding into the former Stanley Black & Decker building, where it has plans to launch a battery-manufacturing line for an electric vehicle company.

Ron Pritzke, a lawyer with Greenfield-based Pritzke & Davis, LLP, representing Photon Automation, said at a Greenfield City Council meeting Wednesday, Aug. 26, that the company is in the process of leasing and moving into Stanley Black & Decker’s former building at 501 W. New Road. Photon Automation, which manufactures automated machinery using robotics and industrial lasers for welding, drilling, cutting and marking, plans to bring about $1.5 million in new equipment into the 221,000-square foot space and create 20 jobs with annual wages and salaries of about $1.4 million.

Bill Huffman, CEO and one of the founders of Photon Automation, recalled how the company was granted a patent in 2015 for welding dissimilar metals. That led to receiving business from an electric vehicle company whose identity he cannot reveal due to a nondisclosure agreement, he continued. Photon Automation has developed a process for a battery-manufacturing line for the electric vehicle company. Huffman’s company is currently building the prototype for that project and in the process of adding and building new equipment for the first production line, which will be located in the Stanley Black & Decker building.

“We’re trying to build ourselves as the leader in laser technology in the Midwest, if not in the United States,” Huffman said.

Photon Automation’s 20 new employees will be high-wage engineers, technicians and scientists, Huffman also said.

Along with the battery-manufacturing line, the company plans to equip its new spot on New Road with a laser lab. It will include the world’s first 1,500-watt blue laser, Huffman said, which he expects to draw projects that call for tasks like welding copper, a skill he added is very elusive and in high demand in the manufacturing of various electric devices.

City council members unanimously passed a declaratory resolution for a 10-year tax abatement on the new equipment Photon Automation is bringing to its New Road facility. The tax break will be 100% in its first year and decrease by 10 percentage points over the following years. The council will vote on a confirming resolution for the abatement at its Sept. 9 meeting.

Stanley Black & Decker cut most of the workforce at its Greenfield plant in November 2019. It has since ceased all operations there, Hancock Economic Development Council executive director Randy Sorrell confirmed.

Photon Automation’s operations in the New Road facility will be in addition to its existing Greenfield locations at 275 Center St. and 420 Osage St. The company also has locations in Newburgh and Frankfort.

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Photon Automation, Inc. expansion

  • Stanley Black & Decker building at 501 W. New Road
  • $1.5 million in equipment
  • 20 new jobs
  • Annual wages and salaries of $1.4 million