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Philips Sleep & Respiratory Care combines distribution functions in Westmoreland

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Philips Sleep & Respiratory Care's new distribution and service center in East Huntingdon.

Philips Sleep & Respiratory Care has combined distribution functions at five leased Westmoreland County buildings into a new, 260,000-square-foot center on the largest parcel the county’s industrial development agency ever has sold.

The unit of Netherlands-based Royal Philips that sells products under the Respironics name plans a grand opening on Tuesday for its Philips SRC Distribution Center in the Westmoreland Distribution Park North in East Huntingdon.

Royal Philips acquired locally based sleep apnea products maker Respironics Inc. in 2008 for $4.9 billion and maintains a regional headquarters in Murrysville and manufacturing operations in Westmoreland County. About 1,400 employees are in the region.

The 225 to 250 workers at the new center had been at three buildings in a Youngwood business park and two other sites close to Greensburg, said David Butler, vice president of global operations for Philips Sleep & Respiratory Care.

“We got those because we were growing so fast that the one building (in the Youngwood park) wasn’t large enough,” he said, adding that a single center to improve efficiency had been discussed for years. Most of the workers live within 10 miles of the new location, he said.

The center cost $4 million to $6 million, Butler said. The move began in September, and the facility became fully operational around Thanksgiving.

The location — close to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate 70 — will help the company to get products to most North American customers, typically medical equipment providers, more consistently within two days, he said.

The Philips unit makes continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, equipment used in treatment of sleep apnea, a condition in which people temporarily stop breathing during sleep. Its product lines also include ventilators, diagnostic and oxygen equipment.

Sleep and respiratory care usually is done at home, and the health business in general is moving to more home-based treatments, he said.

The center is the first business to open in the Westmoreland Distribution Park North, which became available in 2008 “at the height of the recession,” said Jason Rigone, executive director of the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp.

The county has 16 business parks, and the north park is one of four close to the former Sony plant now known as RIDC Westmoreland. It is home to multiple tenants.

Philips’ $2.6 million purchase of the 44-acre distribution center site, with a 31-acre pad for building, is the “largest land sale of any in our history,” Rigone said. The two other sites in the north park remain available.

Kim Leonard is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4674 or [email protected].

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