Beckman to Trim 53 More Positions : Firm Cites Lower Revenues, Change in Product Focus

Times Staff Writer

Beckman Instruments Inc. in Fullerton said Wednesday that it will lay off an additional 53 employees as it continues to focus its product line more on health care and life sciences than on its hard-hat industrial instruments.

Lower revenues for spectrometers, devices that analyze chemical compounds, also contributed to the latest round of layoffs, said Robert Crittendon, the company’s director of communications.

All the layoffs are at the company’s Scientific Instruments Division in Fullerton, which manufactures a number of industrial devices besides spectrometers. The layoffs consist of 35 spectrometer manufacturing workers, 8 quality control workers and 10 marketing and administrative workers, Crittendon said.

In addition, he said, the division is scrapping nine budgeted but unfilled positions as it discontinues manufacturing of another industrial spectrometer. The last of those spectrometers will be produced later this month, he said.


The layoffs, which represent about 15% of the division’s manpower, follows the company’s decision two weeks ago to sell its sales, service and marketing functions for a third type of spectrometer to Applied Research Laboratories of Sunland. About 25 employees, mostly salespersons, are expected to transfer to ARL, Crittendon said. The same Beckman division will continue manufacturing that spectrometer, which identifies elements in solutions.

212 Employees Laid Off

Earlier this year, Beckman laid off 212 employees, including 91 from Orange County facilities, and consolidated its production of chemical mixtures from a Brea facility to its Carlsbad plant. The consolidation affected 100 other employees, most of whom transferred to Carlsbad.

Soon after it was merged with SmithKline Corp., a pharmaceutical company, in 1982, Beckman began transforming its product line from the industrial instruments to life sciences devices, Crittendon said. Life sciences always had been a part of Beckman, but it had taken a back seat to the industrial line.

Since the merger, Beckman also shrunk its Orange County work force to 2,500 from 5,000. Beckman, now a subsidiary of SmithKline Beckman Corp., employs about 7,000 people worldwide, Crittendon said.

While industrial products continue to be phased out, said Jim Quirk, a Beckman vice president and division manager, “sales and company products serving the life sciences market are progressing according to plan.”