Toshiba to Double Size of Orange County Operations

Times Staff Writer

Toshiba America announced plans Wednesday to double the size of its Orange County operations, to begin making office copiers in Irvine and to hire 840 more workers locally by 1991.

In an interview, Kiichi Hataya, president of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., said the Orange County moves are part of rapid expansion of Toshiba operations in the United States.

The Japanese electronics giant is also considering moving manufacturing of computer printers and facsimile machines from Japan to Orange County during the next several years, he said.

“Manufacturing copiers here in Irvine is the latest in a long series of steps . . . to locate manufacturing closer to its markets,” Hataya said. “We are experiencing increased market for our office automation products” in the United States.


The company initially plans to produce 1,000 office copiers in Irvine, doubling production in six months. Within two years, production is expected to reach 8,000 units per month.

The copier manufacturing operation will create 150 additional jobs. The additional job growth through 1991 would come from an expected expansion of the company’s current products and addition of unannounced new ones, Hataya said.

In all, Toshiba America expects to add 1,200 jobs in the United States by 1991, Hataya said. About 70%--or 840--of those new jobs should be in Orange County, where Toshiba now employs 800 people, he said.

The firm makes laptop computers, cellular telephones, business telephone products and other electronic equipment at its Irvine plant.


Also Wednesday, Toshiba America announced that the Irvine division will become one of five newly formed independent subsidiaries. Three of those units are in Orange County.

The five subsidiaries “will have their own corporate research and development, production and marketing facilities, and will be able to respond more quickly and efficiently to market needs,” Hataya said.

Besides the Information Systems group, the five units include the company’s medical diagnostic and imaging business in Tustin and its semiconductor business in Irvine. The other units are in San Francisco and Wayne, N.J.

Toshiba America began operations in Orange County in 1981, when it moved its industrial electronics group from Wayne, N.J., to Tustin.

In mid-1987, Toshiba America moved production of portable laptop computers to Irvine, its first local manufacturing operation. The company has since begun producing business telephone systems and cellular mobile telephones in Irvine.