[bc]AO/SOLA Closing U.S. R&D Facility[/bc]
(OptiBoard News Service) AO/SOLA has announced that it is closing it's U.S. based R&D facility in Petaluma, CA. About 30 Petaluma employees will be laid off as a result of this move.

According to a company spokeman, "One of our priorities over the last several years has been to improve efficiency through consolidation on a global basis. We have been doing this primarily with manufacturing. Recently we identified an opportunity to do this with R&D."

The two primary functions of Petaluma R&D had been mold-making and product development. The company says the mold-making effort is being moved to a new, multi-million dollar mold development and manufacturing center in Mexico. This move is designed to improve the overall efficiency of the manufacturing process.

The company's remaining R&D facility in Australia will continue as the focal point for product development activities, and AO/SOLA says that 'new product efforts will continue unabated.'

AO/SOLA also said there are no further plans to shut down or move the remaining operations in Petaluma. These operations include all of the company's U.S. marketing, finance and information technology functions.