Irvine-Based NuMachine to Close by June

Times Staff Writer

Texas Instruments confirmed Monday that it will close its NuMachine development and manufacturing division in Irvine by June, a move that will eliminate the jobs of 50 employees and consolidate the company's engineering computer operations in Texas.

The Dallas-based company said it will retain sales and service staff at its leased Irvine plant.

According to a spokeswoman, the company is halting production of the NuMachine system in favor of pursuing a more advanced computer system designed for use by engineers and other technically oriented professionals.

The other system, which incorporates artificial intelligence in its operations, is manufactured in Austin, Tex., where a majority of the Irvine employees will be offered jobs when the Orange County plant closes later this year.

"Hopefully, a lot of people will join us in Austin, but it's up to the employees," the spokeswoman said.

More Demand Foreseen

The spokeswoman said the company decided to abandon the NuMachine operations because it foresees more demand for the artificial intelligence-aided machine, dubbed the "Explorer" system. The "Explorer" is aimed at so-called "computer professionals," people who need a sophisticated machine to solve complex problems, not the average business users, the company said.

In closing its NuMachine operations, Texas Instruments is leaving a field it entered just two years ago when it acquired the assets and royalty rights to manufacture the system from Western Digital Corp. in Irvine.

Texas Instruments unveiled its first system early last year and, according to industry sources, produced about 300 systems until deciding to shut down operations.

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