Umicore lays off 34 at Quapaw plant
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Thursday, January 24, 2013
1/24/13 at 4:13 AM
QUAPAW - Umicore Optical Materials USA has laid off 34 people at its Quapaw plant where it makes parts for the solar energy industry, a company official confirmed Wednesday.
"This is a response to very challenging conditions in the market for terrestial photovoltaics," said a statement from Umicore. "We had been operating at a reduced shift pattern for some months, but this proved inadequate in the face of such reduced levels of demand."
Before the layoff, Umicore employed 137 people at its two plants in Quapaw, in far northeastern Oklahoma. The other factory makes night-vision lenses for BMW vehicles.
The layoffs took place at the company's germanium substrate factory, which was constructed in 2010. The products made there are used as semiconductors on solar cells. But that industry has been under heavy pressure in recent years after a massive buildup and a subsequent lack of demand for solar products.
Silicon wafers have proven to be a cheaper alternative to the more efficient germanium products.
Umicore Group also operates a plant at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, where it makes catalysts for automotive catalytic converters.
Original Print Headline: 34 laid off from Umicore plant in Quapaw that makes parts for solar energy industry
Kyle Arnold 918-581-8380