HP Opens $30M R&D Lab in Singapore

Hewlett-Packard Wednesday opened the doors to a new R&D laboratory to develop its ProCurve Networking product line.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker said it is investing approximately S$55 million (USD$30 million) over the next three years to set up the lab at HP’s existing facility. The plant already serves as HP’s only global manufacturing center for ProCurve products.

HP’s ProCurve Networking products targets wired and wireless network managers. The line includes chassis, stackable, managed and unmanaged switches, hubs, wireless access points and network management solutions. The products are based on HP’s Networking Adaptive EDGE Architecture, which is also the basis of the Intel Itanium 2 processor, which HP helped develop in the 90s.

The company said its new facility will bring new R&D capabilities in HP networking hardware, including the design of high-speed digital and analog circuits. The 10,000 sq. ft. facility will employ more than 50 electrical and mechanical engineers when fully operational; 80 percent of these employees are expected to be in place by the end of the calendar year. Engineers at the lab will work on high-end networking products, including Ethernet switches, routing switches and wireless access devices.

“Locating R&D at the existing manufacturing site is intended to increase knowledge transfer to the production facilities, improve quality of product manufacture, enhance design process efficiencies, and speed time-to-market,” HP said in a statement.

HP’s ProCurve line has taken a backseat to the company’s more prominent printers, PCs and servers, but the group is still key to the success of HP’s $4.1 billion Enterprise Systems division.

Recently, HP announced plans for its ProCurve Networking lineup to introduce 802.3af-compliant stackable switches with integrated power with 7.5 watts per port and fully loaded external power supplies and power management this fall. The products are expected to compete heavily with similar offerings from Cisco Systems and 3Com .

HP has invested more than $2 billion in Singapore since it first began making calculators locally in the 70’s. The company remains one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the region. Earlier this month, Cisco opened a $40 million 10,000-square-foot lab in Singapore to gauge how its Internet protocol networking hardware and sofware will perform in large deployments.

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