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ON Semiconductor to invest $15.7M in Idaho

| November 8, 2010 8:00 PM

POCATELLO (AP) - ON Semiconductor will buy $15.7 million in new production equipment for a manufacturing plant in Pocatello, the manager of the eastern Idaho plant said.

Manager John Spicer said the new equipment should be installed by the end of the year and be operational by June.

He said the equipment will be used to make 8-inch silicon wafers, and that it will increase production by 35 percent. The company makes chips used in cars and cell phones.

The equipment purchase announced on Thursday is in addition to $11 million in production equipment for the Pocatello plant the Phoenix-based company announced last summer.

The company is hiring additional workers for Pocatello but how many will be needed is unclear.

"We are actually working on that right now," Spicer said. "It certainly will add some jobs to the plant. It will secure jobs that are here now. We are hiring engineers. We're hiring technicians. We're hiring facility engineers, industrial engineers. It's the whole gamut."

About 635 workers are now employed at the Pocatello plant.

"As a business grows and as the needs arise, the company will put additional capital into the operation here in Pocatello," Spicer said. "We're thrilled about this announcement for this $15.7 million. It certainly marks a continuation of the work we started at the beginning of the year to expand the operation."

Spicer said the semiconductor business dropped off 18 months ago but has rebounded with the a surge in the automotive industry and cell phones.

"We want to continue to grow here," Spicer said. "I'm hoping we'll have more announcements in the future as demand increases and technology continues to grow. It puts us in a position to do this stuff."

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