ASML shows new testing facility

It’s true that some workers in Connecticut have job jitters over worries about their company’s ability to survive and compete, but Michael Opuszynski of Beacon Falls is not one of them.

Opuszynski, an engineer, works for ASML in Wilton, and talked about his long-term career prospects during a tour of the company’s new 7,600-square-foot testing facility at 59 Danbury Road, just down the street from the main plant.

The grand opening of the $5-million testing facility took place Sept. 5 with a ribbon cutting, and was the latest in a series of improvements introduced since the company announced a massive investment and build-up in capacity and employees.

ASML General Manager Bill Amalfitano led the tour.

“The company is growing, and that gives me a good feeling,” Opuszynski said while demonstrating some of the new high-tech testing equipment at the new facility.

He demonstrated a high-speed camera that can show the fastest movements in super slow motion, which is an important part of testing the company’s main product, lithography machines used to make microchips for the computer industry.

He held an air-filled balloon in front of the camera, and punctured the balloon with a needle. The balloon popped in less than a blink of an eye, but the camera caught it in super slow motion and showed every step of the deflation.

Demonstrations like that were exciting for Bart Kollen, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, who attended the ribbon cutting and tour.

It shows the company is digging in for the future, and that will mean jobs and economic productivity down the road, he said.

Workers also demonstrated a 3D printer and a laser-testing device that is so accurate it can distinguish a clear view from fog.

State Rep. Gail Lavielle attended the ribbon cutting and tour, and saluted the company for its commitment.

“ASML brings highly developed, international expertise to this community, region and state. We’re deeply grateful ASML has chosen to grow here, as it enriches our community,” she said. “ASML has our gratitude and thanks, and we encourage ASML to continue to grow and contribute to the community.”

ASML is  a world leader in computer chip lithography machines with a facility in Wilton that employs more than 1,200. It will be the recipient of $14 million in Department of Economic and Community Development grants through Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s First Five Plus program to support expansion.

The total amount of funding the company will receive is based on the creation of new jobs within specific time frames over the next eight years, according to a statement from the governor’s office. The company is also eligible to utilize up to $6 million in potential tax credits. In return, pursuant to the definitive agreement, ASML will agree to retain 1,222 jobs and create up to 524 new jobs.

Signed into law in 2011, the First Five Plus program supports large-scale economic development projects to encourage job creation, new capital investment, and business expansion or relocation.

The total value of the ASML expansion is $100 million.

The company intends to expand its Wilton operations to include the construction of a parking garage, expansion of its manufacturing and engineering operations, and substantial interior renovations.

“The state has been a true partner in helping us to expand. The expansions we are doing are not temporary. We’re committed to Wilton and Connecticut,” said Amalfitano. “We are hiring to support our growth and have many opportunities for talent across the state of Connecticut.”