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Raychem to Expand Silicon Valley Plant

<i> Associated Press</i>

Raychem Corp. has unveiled the first phase of a $70-million plan to turn an existing factory into an automated plant that will employ 500 and produce more than 400 million circuit protectors each year.

To save time getting the devices to market, the specialty materials company decided to expand at home rather than move the plant to an area where costs are lower.

“You can assemble a multitalented technical team more quickly in Silicon Valley than almost anyplace,” said Elbert Brown, general manager of Raychem’s circuit protection division.

The tiny devices act like fuses to protect cars, batteries, computers and other equipment from electric overloads. Raychem sold $50 million worth of the circuit protectors during the fiscal year that ended June 30--a 28% increase over the previous year.

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The company acknowledged that local expansion is an exception in Silicon Valley, where wages, land and housing are more expensive than in many places.

Raychem already builds products in North Carolina, and Chief Executive Robert Saldich said circuit protectors eventually may be made in other states or even overseas.


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