U.S.-based optical components company Kaiam Corp. is moving its production facilities to Scotland from China.
The move is expected to create 103 new jobs in Livingston, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said. The project is being supported by a Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant of £850,000 from the development agency Scottish Enterprise.
Kaiam develops optical components based on photonic integrated circuits, using micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology to overcome the coupling issues getting light on and off the chip. Kaiam previously had an agreement with contract manufacturer Sanmina-SCI to build its products at Sanmina’s facility in Shenzhen, China.
A year ago, Kaiam bought the assets of GC Holdings, Inc., the parent corporation of Gemfire Corp. and Gemfire Europe, Ltd., and acquired Gemfire’s 8-inch wafer fabrication plant in Livingston as part of that deal.
Gemfire’s Livingston plant was originally set up in 1998 as Kymata, a manufacturing spin-out from the universities of Glasgow and Southampton, before being sold to Alcatel in 2001 and then to Avanex in 2003. Now it looks as though Kaiam plans to crank up the factory’s output again.
Chief executive officer of Scottish Enterprise, Lena Wilson, said: “We’ve worked closely with Kaiam to support the expansion of their Livingston facility with a £850,000 RSA grant which in turn will create 103 new jobs and safeguard another 65.
“With Scottish universities undertaking about 50 per cent of the UK’s optoelectronics/photonics research we have no shortage of graduates in this area, making us an ideal location for optoelectronics/photonics inward investment.
“We have 39 optoelectronics companies operating in Scotland, generating a turnover of £660 million, making this a significant industry for Scotland’s economy. By investing in Kaiam’s future now, the firm can accelerate its growth plans in Scotland and create real value for the local community and Scotland’s economy as a whole.”
By Pauline Rigby
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