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Lured by Ireland's Incentives : Unit Instruments Opens Dublin Plant

February 23, 1986|GREG LUCAS | Times Staff Writer

Unit Instruments Inc. of Orange, a subsidiary of Autoclave Engineers Inc., has opened a new facility in Dublin, Ireland.

Gabriel J. Byrne, who directs European operations for Erie, Pa.-based Autoclave, said that Unit Instruments was lured to Dublin by the incentives offered by Ireland's government and by the chance to expand its share in the growing European market for the mass flow controllers Unit manufactures.

When it becomes fully operational within the next few months, the plant will serve customers in Western and Eastern Europe and Israel, Byrne said. With the new facility, Byrne said, Unit could increase its 20% European market share to 30% and "offer its European customers the same service the domestic market gets from Unit in Orange."

Production will begin March 1 at the 4,000-square-foot Dublin plant, which has 20 employees. The plant will employ 70 workers when it becomes fully operational. Fifty of them will be involved in manufacturing the controllers, which are used to regulate the flow of gas in creating semiconductors and other products. Another 10 employees will concentrate on research and development, Byrne said, and the remaining 10 will manage and administer the facility.

The facility cost Unit $500,000 to establish, and, Byrne said, the cost could have been four times as high elsewhere in Europe. He cited grants from the Irish government covering up to 50% of capital start-up costs and all labor, prototype design and consulting involved in research and development as well as leasing arrangements through the Irish banking system which allow Unit to lease capital equipment at negative interest rates of 5% to 11%.

Byrne said the Irish government also provides training grants which pay up to eight months of an employee's first-year salary, including all expenses related to training. All of the Irish employees at the new facility will be trained at Unit's Orange headquarters.

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