Spectra-Physics reduces staff at Tucson laser diode facility

August 22, 2008--According to an August 20 article in the Arizona Daily Star, the Spectra-Physics facility at 3321 E. Global Road, near South Country Club and East Bilby roads, is cutting its work force primarily in assembly, testing, and packaging operations for its laser diodes, said general manager Scott Dunbar. The facility has laid off 29 of its employees and has plans to let go of about 50 more through the first quarter of next year.

August 22, 2008--According to an August 20 article in the Arizona Daily Star, the Spectra-Physics facility at 3321 E. Global Road, near South Country Club and East Bilby roads, is cutting its work force primarily in assembly, testing, and packaging operations for its laser diodes, said general manager Scott Dunbar. The facility has laid off 29 of its employees and has plans to let go of about 50 more through the first quarter of next year.

Competitive pressure forced the company to move those operations to a subcontractor in Asia, he said. The company had about 200 employees before the layoffs, he added. The company will continue to make wafers in Tucson that will be cut into the chips that are the laser diodes, he said. The diodes themselves can be used as a laser or they can be a component in a larger system.

Engineers, technicians, and wafer-fabrication operators will continue working here, he said. There are no plans to close the Tucson facility. "We're very dedicated and remain very committed to Tucson," he said.

Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA), which provides parts for makers of semiconductor processing equipment and automated assembly systems, acquired the local Spectra-Physics facility for $5.6 million in 2004 when it purchased Thermo Electron Corp.'s optics-technology division for $300 million. Dunbar said the Spectra-Physics facility has been here since the early 1990s.

Manufacturing companies have seen a fair share of layoffs this year, said Jim Mize, a consultant who handles employer outreach for the Pima County One-Stop employment centers. The number of layoffs has increased since last year, but it's not unexpected given the state of the economy with layoffs occurring in industries throughout Tucson, he said.
A separately owned high-tech manufacturer, KLA-Tencor, cut about 100 jobs when it decided to close its Tucson facility and consolidate operations at its headquarters in Milpitas, CA, and Singapore.

Positions in engineering, manufacturing, management, and research and development will all be affected by KLA-Tencor's closure. The layoffs are projected to come at the end of October, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security. KLA-Tencor makes manufacturing controls and test products used by computer-chip makers.

For more information, go to www.azstarnet.com/sn/business/253597.phpspie.org.


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