Bren-Tronics eyeing more expansion
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A manufacturer of rechargeable batteries used by soldiers has moved into a new factory in Commack and is contemplating building another, officials said Thursday.
Bren-Tronics Inc. recently opened a 32,000-square-foot plant at 8 Brayton Court, adjacent to its headquarters. The $5-million project will add 47 jobs to a worldwide payroll of about 250. The company employs 217 locally.
The new factory allows Bren-Tronics to produce lithium-ion batteries in Suffolk County instead of importing them from Asia, and to develop large-scale energy storage systems for homes and businesses that lose power temporarily.
About 90 percent of the company's sales come from military contracts. Its batteries and chargers are found in radios, sensors, robots and jammers used to combat roadside bombs in Afghanistan and other war zones.
"We're not stopping, we're going to continue to expand, to add jobs and add technology on Long Island," said Kyle Roelofs, business development director.
Earlier this month, Bren-Tronics announced plans to move production from a company it purchased in Allentown, Pa., to Commack and Gainesville, Fla. Roelofs said Thursday another facility could be built in Commack, at 6 Brayton Court, in about a year.
The board of directors of Empire State Development Corp. approved unanimously a $500,000 grant to Bren-Tronics for the just-completed plant. Since 2010, the company has received state tax credits as part of the former Empire Zones program, but that aid will end in six years.
Kenneth Adams, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's economic development czar, said New York competed with Florida and other states for the Bren-Tronics expansion. In recent years, the company has bought battery makers in Pennsylvania, California and Florida.
In addition to Long Island, Bren-Tronics also has a small operation in upstate Downsville.
Barry Greenspan, an official in Empire State's Hauppauge office, told the corporation board about Bren-Tronics' deep local roots, having been founded in 1973 by Vietnam-era veteran Leo A. Brenna, who remains chief executive. Greenspan said, "The company's batteries are used by combat soldiers on battlefields."