by Alan Quick

A CREDITON firm which currently employs 180 people in the town is expanding and between 15 and 20 news jobs are likely to be created in the town in the near future.

Printed circuit board manufacturing business Graphic plc is investing £3 million in an extension to its factory on the Lords Meadow Industrial Estate and, when complete, even more jobs are likely when it becomes fully operational.

Work on constructing the new three-storey building has begun and it is expected that the size of the factory will be increased by 15 per cent.

Graphic is owned by Rex Rozario who was part of the team that developed the first circuit board in the 1950s.

He founded the company in 1968, moving it to Crediton three years later.

He said that the new extension will not only provide valuable employment but would also secure the company’s future in the town.

Mr Rozario said he valued the fact that Graphic had always been a major employer in the town.

“I’m glad we are still here,” he said.

He explained that he likes to recruit people locally and train them in the hope that people would stay with the business long-term.

Explaining that this had been a success, he added that some people have been with Graphic for 40 years.

Graphic grew from a small company and it is now the leading manufacturer of printed circuit boards in the UK.

It is the only British-owned manufacturer at such a high level and its printed circuit boards are used in, for example, Formula One racing cars, submarines and aircraft.

Mr Rozario said that Graphic was able to stay ahead of competitors due to a continuous investment programme.

He said: “We don’t take dividends from the company - everything goes back into the future.

“This new extension is a huge investment for us in the latest technology.

“The building should be finished by September and I’m hoping everything will be in full production by the end of the year.”

Princess Anne opened the last extension to Graphic on the Lords Meadow Industrial Estate in 2002 and Mr Rozario hopes there will be another royal visit early next year for the opening of the new extension.

Graphic plc has a factory in Dongguan, Southern China, which employs about 500 people who live in accommodation on site.

The company also has a factory in Santa Fe Springs, California.

Mr Rozario was a protégé of Dr Paul Eisler working with him at Technograph-Telegraph, the UK’s first PCB manufacturer in the 1950’s and subsequently branching out on his own.

The Graphic motto is “Where People Make The Difference”.

Mr Rozario is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, the Institute of Directors, the Institute of Circuit Technologists, the Institute of Sales and Marketing and Chairman of the European Institute of Printed Circuits.

He is also a Board Member of Intellect (UK), IPC (USA), CBI (South West), the Science and Industry Council and Governor of Exeter College.

He is Deputy Director General of the World Electronic Circuits Council.  Rex was also pleased to be awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List in 2001 for his contribution to the electronics industry.