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Watlow Announces Columbia Layoffs and Plans for High-Tech Production Facility

Meiying Wu / KBIA

Watlow, which creates and designs thermal systems, will be moving some production from its Columbia facility to a plant in Queretaro, Mexico.

The Columbia facility will cut 41 workers on May 3. Additionally, another round of layoffs will take place in July. In total, the company will retain about 70 percent of its current workforce.

Watlow spokesperson Bob Moore says that this comes in part due to the volatile nature of the industry.

“The semiconductor industry is notorious for very rapid and aggressive business cycles, both up and down,” Moore said. “Right now, they’re in a bit of a downward cycle, and it’s been deeper and longer than we anticipated. We’re just taking this time to accelerate the transformation plan that we’ve had in place for a long time.”

Staff members who are cut will receive severance packages and help from outplacement services.

In a news release, Director of Operations at the Columbia facility David Fawer said that the move would ensure that the production of these items would stay feasible.

“The semiconductor market downturn has dropped faster and lasted longer than we expected, so moving these legacy components will enable us to continue producing these products profitably and extend their life by 10 years or more,” Fawer said.