Apple has announced that it’s awarding US$45 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to Corning Inc., a supplier of precision glass for iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad.
Corning is an American manufacturer of glass, ceramics, and related materials, primarily for industrial and scientific applications. It’s been one of the main suppliers to Apple since working with Steve Jobs in 2007 to develop the iPhone. It was the first company to receive funds from the tech giant’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, getting $200 million in 2017.
The latest funding will, in Apple’s word, “expand Corning’s manufacturing capacity in the US and drive research and development into innovative new technologies that support durability and long-lasting product life, building on both Apple and Corning’s deep commitment to protecting the environment.”
“Apple and Corning have a long history of working together to accomplish the impossible,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in the company’s announcement. “From the very first iPhone glass, to the revolutionary Ceramic Shield on the iPhone 12 lineup, our collaboration has changed the landscape of smartphone cover design and durability. Ceramic Shield is a prime example of the technologies that are possible when deep innovation meets the power of American manufacturing. We’re so proud to work alongside Corning, whose 170-year-old legacy is a testament to the ingenuity of the U.S. workforce.”
With support from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, experts at both companies worked together to develop a new glass-ceramic, which gets its strength from nano-ceramic crystals, produced in Corning’s plant in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, the facility where every generation of iPhone glass has been made.
The new material was enabled by a high-temperature crystallization step which forms nano-crystals within the glass matrix. Those specialized crystals are kept small enough that the material is transparent.
Williams said the resulting material makes up the revolutionary Ceramic Shield, which Apple used to fashion the new front cover featured on iPhone in the iPhone 12 lineup. Prior to Ceramic Shield, embedded crystals have traditionally affected the material’s transparency, a crucial factor for the front cover of iPhone because so many features, including the display, the camera, and sensors for Face ID, need optical clarity to function.
Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today