Apple announced that it will award Corning, its long-term iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch glass supplier, an additional $45 million from the Advanced Manufacturing Fund on the basis of $200 million in 2017 and $250 million in 2019. The total investment of US$495 million will support Corning’s continued research and development of “the most advanced glass process”, which previously led to the birth of Ceramic Shield, a new material that is harder than any smartphone glass.
“Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams said: “Apple and Corning have a long history of cooperation, working together to accomplish impossible tasks. From the earliest iPhone glass, the iPhone 12 series of revolutionary Ceramic Shield, our cooperation has changed the smart phone case design and durability of the structure. Ceramic Shield is the best example of how technology is possible when deep innovation meets the power of American manufacturing. We are very proud to work with Corning. Corning’s 170-year tradition is a testament to the wisdom of the American workforce.”
With the support of Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, experts from the two companies have jointly developed a new glass ceramic whose strength comes from nano-ceramic crystals. It is produced at Corning’s Harrodburg, Kentucky plant. Every generation of iPhone glass.
This new material is achieved through a high-temperature crystallization step, which forms nanocrystals in a glass matrix. These special crystals are kept small enough that the material is transparent. The resulting material constitutes the revolutionary Ceramic Shield, which Apple uses to shape the new front cover in the iPhone 12 series. Before the Ceramic Shield, embedded crystals traditionally affected the transparency of the material, which was a key factor for the front cover of the iPhone, because many functions, including the display, camera, and Face ID sensor, required optical clarity. Play a role.
Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund was established in 2017 to “promote and support innovative production and high-skilled jobs to help advance a new era of technology-driven manufacturing in the United States,” according to Apple.
The award from the $5 billion fund has led to breakthrough innovations, from supporting the development of advanced laser technology in Texas to accelerating the provision of COVID-19 sample collection kits for American hospitals, and more.