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Olympus begins consolidating U.S. medical device output at new site

Kyodo

The U.S. medical technology unit of Olympus Corp. has started consolidating its production from five separate facilities to a new, larger site in a suburb of Minneapolis.

The company on Tuesday transferred the first five of 23 production lines to the Brooklyn Park facility with plans to continue the relocation through next year. The new site will officially open next spring when the majority of operations have moved there.

Olympus broke ground on the 16,700-sq.-meter facility last December after choosing the site to consolidate the operations now at five buildings in the nearby suburb of Maple Grove.

The new facility is built around a 2,230-sq.-meter production room where more than 250 medical device products, such as surgical cutting instruments, will be made once the relocation is complete.

With the production room located at the center of the building instead of the current facility’s two separate rooms, the company hopes the new layout will contribute to innovation as all employees will be able to see into the room.

About 300 employees currently work at Olympus in Minnesota and the company says it may add about 100 jobs as it expands production at the larger site.

Known for its endoscopes as well as digital cameras, Olympus has been in the Minneapolis area since buying Gyrus Group PLC in 2008.

When deciding to set up a new site to consolidate its U.S. business, it chose to stay in the region to take advantage of the bustling medical device industry there and the geographic benefits of being in the center of the country.

“There is an abundance of medical device talent here in the Minneapolis area with a great infrastructure and plenty of companies to support our industry,” Scott Larson, vice president of operations for the Maple Grove and Brooklyn Park sites, told a group of Japanese reporters during a tour of the new facility on June 24. “It’s a pretty significant list of benefits to having our business in this region.”