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Sony to cease operations in Westmoreland site

Posted: 15 Dec 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TV Sony manufacturing? Westmoreland Sony operations? production LCD TV?

Sony Electronics has advised its employees at its Pittsburgh Technology Center on Dec. 9 that the company will be discontinuing all of its operations at the Westmoreland County facility over the next 16 months, beginning with TV manufacturing by the end of February 2009.

This action is one of the first of several plant closings Sony Corp. recently announced that will take place worldwide through March 2010 as part of a global profit recovery plan. A recorded media plant in France will also be closing in this fiscal year. Sony announced on Dec. 9 that 10 percent of its current 57 manufacturing sites will be closed.

Economic climate's call
First opened in 1990 to produce large rear projection TVs, Sony's facility in Southwestern Pennsylvania currently has about 560 employees, who are primarily involved with flat-panel LCD TV production, repair service and logistics.

"The current economic climate was a key factor that led us to make the strategic business decision to streamline our manufacturing operations not only in the U.S. but worldwide," said Stan Glasgow, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics.

Glasgow noted that Sony's remaining North American TV manufacturing centers in Baja, Mexico, will be able to handle anticipated market demand in the region for the foreseeable future.

The company also advised local employees that repair and logistics operations at the Westmoreland facility will wind down by March 2010.

The Sony plant currently assembles 46-inch and 52-inch Bravia LCD HDTVs. There are also TV and Blu-ray disc player repair operations on the site. In addition, the site currently serves as the company's East Coast distribution center for consumer TVs.

It had previously been the home for the production of both Sony rear projection televisions and Trinitron CRT-based TVs. The production of these models ended in 2007 and 2006, respectively, as the company exited these markets in favor of newer, more efficient and lighter LCD flat-panel, HDTVs.

The Sony Technology Center-Pittsburgh was once the world's first vertically integrated TV manufacturing plant, using sand from Central Pennsylvania and West Virginia to make TV glass at another facility on the site for color picture tubes, and ending with the finished sets produced for shipment throughout the world. The glass was made at the former American Video Glass Company, a joint venture between Sony Electronics and Corning Asahi Video Products in State College, Pa., which has since been closed.

"The dedicated people who have worked here contributed to a legacy of excellence and commitment for which I am grateful," said Chuck Gregory, deputy president of Sony Electronics' flat TV operations of the Americas and president of Sony Technology Center-Pittsburgh. "By the nature of our business, Sony has to be a company of constant advancement and innovation, even in challenging economic times. This means we must adapt to change and make difficult decisions to make way for new successes based on worldwide market dynamics."

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