Industrial News Updates
First Solar Test Site Ground Breaking Ceremony
First Solar Inc is investing RM10mil in a five-acre solar panel test site in Kulim Hi-Tech Park (KHTP).
Senior vice-president (global manufacturing operations) Tymen de Jong said the test site in KHTP would be bigger than its existing test sites in Arizona and Ohio.
“The Kulim test site will have the capability to generate 1,050MW per year and test some 8,000 solar modules annually. This is sufficient to power up to 300 households,” he said.
De Jong said this after the ground-breaking ceremony of the test site by Kedah Science, Innovation, Information Technology, Communication and High-Tech Committee chairman Norsabrina Mohd Noor. Also present were First Solar vice-president and managing director P’ng Soo Hong and Kulim Technology Park Corp president Annuar Mohd Saffar.
De Jong said the construction of the first phase of the Kulim test site would begin in October and would be completed next year.
P’ng said the Kulim test site would be used to study the effects of the hot and humid climate on First Solar’s state-of-the-art modules and single-axis tracking systems.
“The test site demonstrates First Solar’s commitment to keeping high-tech innovation in the community, bringing new capabilities to its global research and development efforts.
“We already have land reserved at KHTP for two more phases, which will be launched when demand kicks in,” he added.
First Solar, currently occupying a 160-acre site in KHTP, produces 1.5GW annually, which is equivalent to about 16 million solar modules per year, according to P’ng.
“The entire First Solar group produces 2GW of electricity annually,” he said.
Abbott Ground Breaking Ceremony
Abbott, one of the world's leading healthcare companies, is investing US$60mil (RM192mil) to build a facility at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park (KHTP) to manufacture intraocular lens (IOLs) used to treat cataracts.
Diane Beno, Abbot Medical Optics divisional vice president of global operations, said the facility marked the first manufacturing investment in Malaysia to broaden the group's presence globally.
She said the plant was expected to begin operations next year, with the first products available in the second half of 2016.
"The facility will supply the global IOLs market. An intraocular lens is implanted in the eye after the removal of natural lens that has become clouded by a cataract," she told reporters after the ground-breaking ceremony for the facility in Kulim.
The event was officiated by Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir.
Beno said about 22.7 million cataract surgeries were forecast to be performed worldwide this year, and the number was expected to grow to 27.1 million by 2019. "Given the technical expertise and resources available in Malaysia, Abbott is pleased to expand its intraocular lens manufacturing operations here.
"The facility will provide high-quality, dependable products, helping people maintain active, healthy lifestyles with clearer vision after cataract surgery," she said.
Upon completion, Beno said, the facility was expected to employ some 500 workers in Malaysia. It was also projected to play a key role in providing innovative solutions to physicians treating cataract patients globally.
"Absolutely, we can see the growing trend for IOLs. To support this growth, Abbott needs this new facility, and the land covering 8.64ha will provide the needs for the short- and long-term," she said.
Beno said the same technology used currently to produce Abbott's IOLs would also be employed at the new state-of-the-art facility in Malaysia, ensuring a level of quality equivalent to the IOLs manufactured at its other manufacturing plants in Anasco, Puerto Rico and Groningen, The Netherlands.
"We chose Malaysia, and specifically Kedah and Kulim Hi-Tech Park, because of the availability of skilled workers and the infrastructure," she added.
Abbott serves people in more than 150 countries and employs some 69,000 workers.