James Dyson, the British inventor and maker of a bagless cyclone vacuum cleaner, has joined the stream of European manufacturers lured to Asia in search of lower-cost production.
Dyson Appliances Ltd. will cut 800 jobs at its Malmesbury, England, headquarters plant later this year when it shifts production of its entire range of dual-cyclone vacuum cleaners to the Far East. The company already operates a vacuum manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Production may go to a new plant in Asia, not necessarily in Malaysia, said a spokeswoman in London.
The company intends to keep its research and development group, which employs 350, and its line of twin-tub washing machines in Malmesbury.
The shift coincides with a new push by Dyson into North America. The firm, which in 1987 licensed its dual-cyclone technology for the region to Fantom Technologies of Welland, Ontario, in 1987, announced it has bought back the rights to sell its products in the United States.
Dyson has invested £32 million ($45 million) in Malmesbury during the past two years. Just last year, Dyson completed an $18 million investment at its British molding shop. The project included 20 new Sandretto, Negri Bossi and Krauss Maffei injection molding machines with 220-450 tons of clamping force, taking its in-house molding capacity to 36 presses.
Previously, the plant relied on outsourced production of most parts such as casings, bins, and motor and other covers, although some bins were molded in-house.
Dyson's Malaysian plant opened in 2000. The operation produces most plastics molded components in-house, although it also uses some local custom molders, the spokeswoman said.
``This is a sad day and a very difficult one,'' James Dyson said. ``We have spent the last six years building up production here at Malmesbury.''
The company blamed the shift to Asia on the high cost of manufacturing in the United Kingdom.