RICHMOND TWP., Pa. — East Penn Manufacturing has been manufacturing batteries in Berks County for more than seven decades.
“We make batteries for wheelchairs, for trucking, for forklifts, for emergency telecommunications systems” and much more, said Larry Miksiewicz, director of manufacturing for the company.
Most of it is done locally on its 500+ acre campus.
Most batteries here start with lead.
“It’s like in your house, you have copper wires carrying current,” Miksiewicz said. “We use lead in this part of the process.
Although much of the process is exclusive, positive and negative cells are created, arranged and wired together in a variety of combinations.
“We put six in a row, in a box, and that creates a 12-volt battery,” Miksiewicz explained.
The cover is then heat sealed and the battery is acid treated before it is ready for inspection and shipment.
“99% of lead acid batteries can be reused, and we’re very lucky here on campus,” Miksiewicz said. “We have a foundry, so we can take expired, used, end-of-life batteries, and we can actually break them down.”
The company ships approximately 40 million batteries annually, with a team of 8,500 people locally, making it the largest employer in Berks County.
Eugene Farley is one such employee. He has been with the company for 22 years.
“East Penn accepted me,” Farley said. “They treated me well all these years. They gave me the opportunity and they haven’t let me down yet.”
“It’s a new start for the [Pennsylvania German Cultural] Heritage Center.”
The former rapper, who went by the same name as the company’s founder, DeLight, even rapped about Deka Drums: “The facts are there, it’s all there. Quality is key when it comes to from the inside. Extra, Extra. Have you heard the latest news. Expect nothing less, just the best of the greats. Don’t hate us. We’re on top of the game. Deka is the name.
Deka hopes to continue growing in the region.
“We’re so proud to be able to continue this operation, to be able to show off all the growth we’ve had. To make a product like no other,” Miksiewicz said.
East Penn is hosting an open house on Saturday, October 1 to honor its 75th anniversary.