CALIFORNIAN optical components manufacturer Kaiam Corporation is set to grow the headcount at its Livingston base to 450 by the end of this year, bringing the site back to the largest it was under previous owner Kymata.

The business, which in Scotland manufactures parts that are used in the technology that allows data to be sent at high speeds between multiple servers in datacentres, will take on an extra 35 staff between now and the end of December.

The bulk of those will be on the manufacturing side but a small number will be focused on research and development.

The company’s San Francisco-based vice-president of engineering Craig Ciesla, who joined Kaiam in July from Tactus Technology, said the hires are being made in response to a surge in demand from the company’s datacentre customers.

“We are currently at 415 people in Livingston and we are expected to grow that to at least 450 by the end of the year,” he said.

“We are busy with that and have a lot of positions open - they are mainly manufacturing positions.

“We are doing this because we are having tremendous commercial success with our products and are therefore growing the size of our team to meet demand.

“Demand doesn’t look like it will slow down any time soon and we are forecasting further growth in the engineering team beyond what’s in that 450.”

This is a reversal in fortunes for the Livingston plant, which had a headcount of just 65 when Kaiam purchased it in 2013.

Having started out as a spinout from the universities of Glasgow and Southampton, predecessor company Kymata built the Livingston base after carrying out a £140 million fundraising in 1998.

At its peak the site employed 450 people, but that figure was stripped back to 300 after telecoms equipment company Alcatel, which is now part of Nokia, acquired Kymata in 2001.

When the business was sold on to optical network developer Gemfire in 2004 it employed just 100 people, with that number being scaled back even further during Gemfire’s nine-year ownership.

Kaiam, which was set up by Edinburgh-based chief executive Dr Bardia Pezeshki in 2010, transports the technology made in Livingston to its base in Silicon Valley, where it is used to make fibre-optic transceivers that allow information to be sent between servers at superfast speeds.

Mr Ciesla, who left the company he co-founded to join Kaiam, said he did so because “it was clear that Kaiam is in a position to be one of the leaders” in that space.

“It has core technologies that put it in a leading position in the DC transceiver market and the team is very capable of delivering that innovation,” he added.

Having begun life as a university spinout, the company is keen to maintain links with the higher education sector in the UK and this summer offered a number of internships to students at Scottish universities.

Mr Ciesla said that the company “has a number of ongoing projects with Scottish universities”, adding that “one of the things that has come out of that is that we had summer interns this year”.

“We are looking to expand that as we go into the next stage of our growth and expand the number of projects we work on - we’ve got a very innovative business here in Scotland and it’s something we can tap into,” he said.

Although he is based in California, Ciesla, who is responsible for Kaiam’s development and engineering teams in both Scotland and the US, is familiar with the Scottish education system, having been brought up in St Andrews and educated at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University.

With a doctorate in physics, he is well versed in the development of technology for the telecoms industry.

His previous company Tactus developed a tactile layer that makes physical buttons appear on touch-screen devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Dr Pezeshki, meanwhile, relocated from Silicon Valley to Edinburgh last year and is working on developing Kaiam’s existing relationships with Scottish universities.