Laser diode manufacturer cuts its workforce

Spectra-Physics has laid off 29 of its employees and has plans to let go of about 50 more through the first quarter of next year

The Spectra-Physics Tucson facility, which manufactures laser diodes for industrial and medical uses, has laid off 29 of its employees and has plans to let go of about 50 more through the first quarter of next year. The company is cutting its workforce primarily in assembly, testing and packaging operations, said General Manager Scott Dunbar.

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, Dunbar said.

The company will continue to make wafers in Tucson that will be cut into the chips for the laser diodes, Dunbar 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 Corp., 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, according to the Arizona Daily Star archives.

Dunbar said the Spectra-Physics facility has been here since the early 1990s.

This information was released in The Arizona Daily Star, www.azstarnet.com.

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