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Business coming to Alfred has ties to area: What to know about Lambda Advanced Materials

Business coming to Alfred has ties to area: What to know about Lambda Advanced Materials

Lambda Advanced Materials acquired a new home in Alfred Station's Sugar Hill Industrial Park, marking the park's first new tenant in two decades. Here's what the company is planning for the site.

Chris Potter - The Evening Tribune

For the first time in 20 years, a new manufacturer is planning to move into the Sugar Hill Industrial Park in Alfred Station.

Lambda Advanced Materials on Friday acquired 30 acres and a 30,000-square-foot building on Sugar Hill Road, where it plans to house research and manufacturing operations just down the street from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.

Lambda plans to manufacture and supply advanced ceramic materials to a diverse mix of clients in the technology industry. The new company is aiming to begin operations in the summer of 2024 following a major renovation of the Sugar Hill facility.

The company is also launching a sister enterprise, Lambda Realty, that will develop two solar projects to supply clean energy to the property.

The last company to locate at Sugar Hill was Belvac, which makes the ceramic molds used in the production of aluminum cans and containers. The Belvac property borders Lambda Advanced Materials.


What is Lambda Advanced Materials and its connection to Alfred?

Lambda’s connection to Alfred University is right in the name. The company’s co-founders were both members of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity as undergraduates. Jeffrey Brundage, a Bath native and 1976 graduate of AU, is a ceramics industry veteran. Joseph Sorrentino, originally from Brooklyn, graduated from AU in 1983 and is an attorney and real estate developer.

Sorrentino owns a home on Main Street in Alfred where an informal “alumni fraternity” often gathers and kicks around business ideas, sometimes while watching Saxon football games from the front porch.

“One of those times we came up with some high-tech things we believe can really make a difference not only to Alfred, the Southern Tier, the college and university, but also to the future of materials processing,” said Sorrentino. “We can get away from the supply chain problems and make things here. I think we’re going to hit the ground running and bring pizazz to the ceramic field in the Southern Tier.”

Lambda intends to develop new processes that will lead to the production of a variety of advanced ceramic materials. Brundage said the company will focus on “optimizing materials processing” with practices that are more cost-effective and energy efficient, with lower carbon footprints. The company also hopes to play a role in the recent trend in “re-shoring,” facilitating domestic production of items made from advanced ceramic materials.

“It will really be a game changer in the ceramic field, and it will all happen here,” said Sorrentino.

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How will Lambda impact local jobs, students?

Lambda Advanced Materials is aiming to create between 20 and 30 jobs in Alfred when it is fully operational. It will also provide potential internship and employment opportunities to Alfred University students.

Sugar Hill’s proximity to AU’s Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT) was a critical factor in attracting the business to Allegany County. The CACT, created to speed technology transfers from universities to the marketplace, offers facilities that can accommodate research into ceramic material machining and 3-D printing.

CACT Executive Director John Simmins said the Lambda facility — expected to feature labs, cutting-edge equipment and a clean room — could help AU offer some industry certifications as part of its curriculum.

“There’s not a facility around here you can take students to and show them how (a clean room) works,” said Brundage. “Years ago we were promised a ceramics corridor when Corning (Inc.) and New York state built the two incubator buildings. Corning took a lot of advantage of that, but it never saw much in the way of new businesses coming (to the Southern Tier).”


How will a new solar energy project factor into the development?

A chunk of Lambda’s 30-acre acquisition will be utilized for a solar project through Lambda Realty. The company plans to install solar panels on the Lambda building itself and in a solar panel field on the Sugar Hill property. Both efforts will be overseen by Buffalo Solar.

Lambda intends to have the facility achieve as close to a net zero carbon footprint as possible.

“We want to become a model in New York state,” said Brundage. “We want to be a showplace for New York here in the Southern Tier.”