NEC Electronics America Inc. announced today it has hired 60 employees for its recently expanded semiconductor manufacturing operations in Roseville, Calif., where it recently added a line capable of fabricating eight-inch wafers using a 0.15-micron process to complement its existing line, which is used to fabricate six-inch wafers with 0.35- and 0.25-micron processes. The eight-inch pilot line is ready to begin operation and is expected to reach mass production levels this summer, NEC said. Its work force there now totals approximately 850. The expansion is a key component of Santa Clara-based NEC Electronics Corp.'s Multifab manufacturing strategy announced in November, which will enable customers to qualify multiple manufacturing and assembly and test facilities in one process, NEC said; it added that it expects to see increased demand for 0.15-micron-based products from customers in the automotive industry and from designers using general-purpose semiconductors in consumer devices such as digital cameras, memory sticks and mobile and handheld products. "Our company has been impressed by the caliber of talent available in the greater Roseville area," said Gabe Kim, vice president of manufacturing operations and plant manager, NEC Electronics America.