“While significant startup challenges have slowed progress on Apple’s sapphire-glass factory in Mesa, the massive facility is nearly finished and is ramping up production of the scratch-resistant material, GT Advanced Technologies CEO Tom Gutierrez recently said,” Parker Leavitt reports for The Arizona Republic. “”

“Both Apple and GT Advanced Technologies have been tight-lipped on details about ‘Project Cascade,’ a joint effort to mass-produce sapphire glass at the former First Solar building in east Mesa,” Leavitt reports. “During a quarterly-earnings call with investors on Tuesday, Gutierrez declined to give specifics about the timing or volume of sapphire production but provided an update on efforts to get the 1.3 million-square-foot factory up and running. ‘The build-out of our Arizona facility… is nearly complete, and we are commencing the transition to volume production,’ Gutierrez said. The company expects to reach “full operational efficiency” in early 2015, he said.”

“Apple bought the vacant building near Elliot and Signal Butte roads from First Solar for about $113 million and is leasing it to GT,” Leavitt reports. “The plant is expected to employ 700 workers over the next five years.”

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