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Unifrax celebrates expansion of Town of Tonawanda facilities

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Michael Mroziak
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Town of Tonawanda company Unifrax is thanking National Grid and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for the incentives that made it possible to carry out a major expansion of its area facilities.

The company, which manufactures high-performance fiber for applications including fire protection, insulation and other thermal needs has opened a second facility on Pirson Parkway, where it is producing a line of polycrystalline support mats for use with emission control products.

 

"This is the first of this type of facility, anywhere in the world outside of Japan," said Unifrax president and chief executive officer John Dandolph. "Where the Japanese have really pioneered some of the processes that we're doing here, Unifrax is now actively inventing and participating in those areas."

Its other, larger facility on Fire Tower Drive was expanded to 265,000 square feet, an increase in capacity by about 50 percent. Between the two facilities, an estimated 350 people are employed.

Dandolph credited help from National Grid and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for making the expansions possible. 

"We got two grants for $500,000 each and $323,000 of energy efficiency incentives that really made a significant difference in enabling us to aggressively invest to grow and do so at this location," he said.

The Erie County IDA, meanwhile, reported it provided more than $1.9 million in tax incentives and breaks for the expansion.

Unifrax operates more than 30 facilities in 13 countries, most of them manufacturing centers, but Dandolph said the Tonawanda facilities have been the focus of most of their investment in recent years. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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