Apple plans to dramatically expand Arizona sapphire plant to boost output

“Apple and sapphire manufacturing partner GT Advanced Technologies are looking to expand operations at the companies’ Mesa, Ariz., facility, possibly to accommodate higher yields for an as-yet-unknown component,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“While construction of the joint Apple-GT Advanced sapphire manufacturing facility is not yet complete, multiple companies are already posting bids to build out a proposed expansion, according to people close to the project,” Campbell reports. “The plant and its grounds, collectively dubbed “Project Cascade,” occupies an 83-acre plot of land in the City of Mesa’s designated foreign trade zone.”

“According to the most recent public records published by the U.S. International Trade Administration, adjacent parcels of land appear to be vacant and are large enough to replicate the size of Apple’s existing facility,” Campbell reports. “Despite being under construction, the plant is powered by a massive array of temporary generators and is already churning out product… Maximum output is largely unknown, but the site will be equipped with some 1,700 furnaces to make sapphire boules in bulk, sources said. Previous reports citing import/export records claimed the number of furnaces in use would be capped at around 950.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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  1. In the same foreign trade zone in the Mesa/Gilbert area, the newly opened Orbital Sciences will fulfill a contract to build 81 satellites through 2017.

    The 135,000 sq ft Gilbert facility is one of the largest spacecraft assembly and testing operations in the US.

    Just sayin’…

  2. GTAT is gonna produce a lot of sapphire, looks to me.
    I still want a unscratchable touchscreen front and back at 4.7
    with tickers, texts, emails, etc. streaming on the sides. The back of the iPhone is a huge wasted area of real estate!
    If the whole unit is unscratchable, it would work, but would put the case industry out. Apple, please finally show how beautifully made the iPhone really is!
    Will need an iOS that supports it. Talk about radically customizable, but should be doable with the gyroscope.
    Samsung would have difficulty even trying to copy that.

  3. A new facility “to accommodate higher yields”? The writer obviously knows nothing about manufacturing. Higher yields means less scrap and higher output. Volume is the word that should have been used – to accommodate higher volume for an as yet unknown new product.

  4. Now who was the vocal butthead on this forum who repeatedly posted that Apple was not going to product huge quantities of sapphire substrate and that sapphire was too expensive for an iPhone?

    Do you recognize yourself? Well, either everyone else is wrong, or you are…

    Apple takes bold technological steps. Touch ID, 64-bit A7 CPU (soon the new A8), and sapphire displays will continues to set Apple’s iPhone apart from the followers/copiers. Apple is far from doomed.

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