Strasbaugh, an international high-tech manufacturing business based in San Luis Obispo, has laid off eight of its employees, a move the company hopes will help it remain on sound financial footing.
The company, which makes equipment for use in the semiconductor and LED and precision optics industries, has about 76 employees, and most have worked for Strasbaugh for many years, said Alan Strasbaugh, chairman of the board and chief executive officer. The layoffs were across all departments.
Employees received severance packages, and Betsey Nash, the company’s human resources manager, is actively working with the employees to find other employment in the area. Employees would have an opportunity to work for the company again if the situation improves, Strasbaugh said.
The company’s last layoffs were about eight years ago, he said.
“These are all great people, and it really hurts when you’re laying off excellent employees,” he said. “But it will help to keep the company stable and cash flow neutral.”
The layoffs occurred because the semiconductor and LED industries have been in the “doldrums” for the past year and a half, Strasbaugh said. He attributed the slump to overbuilding of the LED lighting industry in China, with too many factories sitting idle, and a semiconductor industry that has been in a “slump.”
Strasbaugh, who declined to give the company’s annual revenues, believes the economic conditions are temporary, and he anticipates growth this year. Among other things, the company designs and manufactures wafer-polishing and precision surfacing equipment for the semiconductor industry, and Strasbaugh said firms need thinner and more precise semiconductor chips before they can be stacked, which allows companies to get more capacity out of each chip. Strasbaugh is developing new processes and chip grinding equipment to meet the needs of the semiconductor industry, with the first models expected to ship this year.
“We’re hoping things will turn around,” he said.
Founded in 1948 in Los Angeles, Strasbaugh has been in business locally since 1992.