30 May 2011

UK Business Secretary opens Edwards Vacuum factory in Korea

Vacuum and exhaust-management equipment maker Edwards Ltd of Crawley, UK has opened its new manufacturing facility in Cheonan, Korea to serve its Korean and other global customers. The UK Government’s Business Secretary Vince Cable and Edwards’ CEO Matthew Taylor officially opened the site in the presence of the Governor of Chungchungnam-do; the Mayor of Cheonan; and British Ambassador Martin Uden.

Edwards has invested about $100m in the site, which is not only a factory but also a technical center, allowing more local technical applications support for customers as well as the development of product derivatives and the rapid introduction of new products. The facility will be a key hub for the firm's growing range of dry vacuum pumps and systems for the most demanding processes in the semiconductor, solar, LED, liquid-crystal display (LCD) and flat-panel display (FPD)markets. It also has the latest manufacturing equipment to assure product quality, together with lean manufacturing techniques to reduce production times, as well as a range of energy-saving features, says the firm.

The new facility, which will have a manufacturing capacity in excess of 25,000 units per year, will employ 300 staff initially, growing to 400 by 2012. Edwards expects total staffing in Korea to be up to 700 in 2012.

The new facility brings Edwards’ total number of manufacturing sites around the world to seven, including sites in the UK, Czech Republic, and Japan. The firm also has 15 service centers worldwide.

Founded in 1919, Edwards has been present in Asia for more than 40 years (with nearly 60% of revenue now deriving from there) and in Korea for 27 years. The firm has a long history in Korea and a strong customer base both there and across Asia, says Taylor. “We have invested heavily in the development of our technology support capability in Korea,” he adds. “It is not only a factory but also a great centre of technological excellence which enables us to manufacture closer to customers, improves our response times and customer service as well as providing the leading technology, product quality and sustainable manufacturing which ensures we remain leaders in the global vacuum market,” he claims.

“This is a momentous occasion for the company and cements our position as an important business partner for Korea as well as a strong part of the local community,” says Edwards Korea’s president Sung-Min Lee. “We look forward to recruiting the next generation of engineers.”

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Visit: www.edwardsvacuum.com

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