Corning Incorporated, a provider of precision glass for iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad, has been awarded $45 million from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund. This fund would be used to expand Corning’s manufacturing capacity in the United States, as well as research and development on new advanced technologies that support product durability and long-term product life, building on Apple and Corning’s shared dedication to environmental protection.
Corning has also received $450 million from Apple’s $5 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund over the last four years. Corning’s US operations in Kentucky and other facilities employ over 1,000 people, due to Apple’s investment. Ceramic Shield, a new material that is stronger than any smartphone glass, was created as a result of the investment, which aided research and development into cutting-edge glass processes.
Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams said, “Apple and Corning have a long history of working together to accomplish the impossible.” “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 US workforce,” he added.
A high-temperature crystallization phase that forms Nano-crystals within the glass matrix allowed the development of the new material. The substance is translucent due to the small size of the specialized crystals. The resulting material is known as the groundbreaking Ceramic Shield, and it was used by Apple to create the new front cover for the iPhone 12 lineup. Until Ceramic Shield, embedded crystals had a negative impact on the material’s transparency, which is critical for the front cover of the iPhone because so many features, such as the display, camera, and Face ID sensors, need optical clarity to operate.
“We are incredibly proud of our collaboration with Apple on Ceramic Shield, made possible in part through the Advanced Manufacturing Fund and the hard work and dedication of hundreds of individuals at Corning and Apple,” said Wendell P. Weeks, Corning’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We thank Apple for our longstanding product-development partnership and for their continued commitment to supporting the American workforce. The deep investment they’ve provided for new manufacturing technology in our Harrodsburg, Kentucky, facility is not only fueling life-changing innovation, it’s also helping us sustain vital communities where we live and work – a fundamental objective at both of our companies. Together, we’re developing a world-class workforce, engaging them in new technologies, and creating opportunities for learning and training.”
Jason Alexander has been working at Corning’s Harrodsburg plant as a mechanical maintenance associate for more than 20 years and is a graduate of the company’s mechanical maintenance apprenticeship program.
He said, “It means a lot to me — personally and professionally — to be part of a company that invests as much in its employees and its community as it does the latest innovations.” “This year has been incredibly challenging for so many, and I am proud to be part of this team and grateful to have had new opportunities to further develop my skills through the apprenticeship program and be part of so many cutting-edge projects. Thanks to Apple’s support and Corning’s leadership, the future is bright here in Harrodsburg.”
Corning’s ten-year partnership with Apple is built on the company’s unique experience, broad community presence, and dedication to environmental protection. Corning is a part of Apple’s Clean Energy Program, which aims to increase the use of green energy through the company’s supply chain and is a key component of Apple’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. Corning has implemented a number of renewable energy solutions as part of this commitment, including the recent installation of a solar panel system at its Harrodsburg, Kentucky, plant. The company has purchased enough renewable energy to power all of Apple’s US operations.