ECD to shift some assembly operations from Auburn Hills Uni-Solar plant to Tijuana; 140 to lose jobs

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As part of its overall cost reduction strategy, Energy Conversion Devices is realigning solar manufacturing capacity in its United Solar business among its existing facilities. Effective this fall, the company will shift certain final assembly operations for its laminates from the Auburn Hills, MI, campus to the Tijuana, Mexico, facility, while continuing to manufacture its proprietary flexible triple-junction amorphous-silicon thin-film solar cells at the Auburn Hills site.

“We are aggressively reducing our cost structure to operate more effectively in the highly competitive, global solar market, and, through these actions, we will better utilize our existing capacity in Tijuana, without any additional capital costs,” said Mark Morelli, ECD’s president/CEO.

“Our Auburn Hills campus remains an essential part of our manufacturing footprint for our solar cells. In fact, we are now retrofitting one of our Auburn Hills manufacturing lines with our next-generation technology, and we expect to have this retrofitted line in commercial production in the spring of 2011,” he added.

The company said that the Auburn Hills changes will result in the elimination of approximately 140 jobs, and that employees impacted will receive severance and outplacement. ECD indicated that it will be adding personnel to its Tijuana facility, including rehiring workers who had previously been laid off because of global market conditions.

ECD previously phased out the manufacturing operations of its Solar Integrated Technologies unit in Los Angeles, deciding that the acquired company’s approach to flexible solar roofing products was not worth pursuing, according to company sources.

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