Volex Ltd. receives government support for fibre development

Oct. 16, 2001--The Irish government announced a grant aid package for Volex Ltd. to assist in the funding of a Fibre Optic development Laboratory in Castlebar, Ireland.

On October 8, the Irish government's Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Harney, announced a grant aid package for Volex Ltd. to assist it in the funding of a Fibre Optic development Laboratory in Castlebar, Ireland. The funding by the government will represent 33 percent of all eligible capital and intellectual investment made by Volex in this center.

In launching the new development, the minister said that this was an example of a company development in line with Irish Development Authority strategy to achieve higher value and more research based activities.

The Fibre Optic Development Centre will provide support to individual business units and regions of the company for the research and development of optical fibre products and processes while also concentrating on delivering automated production systems and equipment for fibre optic cable assemblies and components.

The current downturn in the market has resulted in a change in priorities with Volex's customers. While the emphasis to date has been on volume patchcord supply, the demand for metro bandwidth and speed will increase the range and complexity of the technical requirements from customers. Specifically Volex recognizes the growth in devices requiring specialized terminations in the form of pigtails such as amplifiers, couplers, attenuators, switched, gratings, optical backplanes etc. In addition, increased repeater distances before signal boosting or conditioning has seen the development of Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) and erbium doped amplifiers as repeaters. Volex is positioning its capability to meet the expected market needs in device termination.

The initial investment will concentrate on positioning the capability within Volex to:

* Develop the technical capability to service customer requirements

* Provide technical support and services to business units and regions in the Group

* Define the repeatable and robust process methodology for cost effective production

* Develop standard automated processes for fibre cable assembly

* Offer fibre optic design services to CEM's and OEM's

* Manage equipment specification and develop the strategic supply chain

* Provide analytical and environmental test facilities

In a response from the company John Corcoran, Managing Director Volex Ltd., outlined that Volex in Ireland had entered the third phase of its development. Initially established as a manufacturing location, it subsequently adopted a role as the headquarters for European Infocom Operations and was now positioning itself as a research and development center, supporting Volex locations and its customers globally.

About Volex:

Volex Ltd., Castlebar is a subsidiary of Volex Group plc, England. Established in 1987, it is now the headquarters for Volex Infocom Operations in Europe and was originally focused on the manufacturing of data cable assemblies. As the I.T. hardware industry developed, Volex refocused to the networking/server and telecoms segment of the I.T. industry. Functions being undertaken in Castlebar have been enhanced to include design, prototyping, material procurement, manufacturing and process development.

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