Apple Awards Corning $200 Million Funding from Its Newly Announced Advanced Manufacturing Fund

Gorilla Glass maker Corning Incorporated shall receive a cool $200 million from Apple’s new $1 billion fund aimed at creating advanced manufacturing jobs in the United States.

The investment will support the Kentucky-based company’s R&D, capital equipment needs and “state-of-the-art glass processing,” Apple said Friday.

Corning’s primary 65-year-old Harrodsburg facility will be the main focus of Apple’s investment as it has played an integral role in the strong partnership between Apple and Corning.
“Corning’s longstanding relationship with Apple has not only led to significant glass innovations that have enabled new capabilities for consumers, it has also helped create nearly 1,000 American jobs and allowed us to continue growing and expanding in the US,” said Wendell P. Weeks, Corning’s chairman, chief executive officer and president. “This investment will ensure our plant in Harrodsburg remains a global center of excellence for glass technology.”
Corning recaptures glass material for use in the production process and to help reduce waste.
Aptly dubbed Gorilla Glass, it was a financial flop at the time so the company stopped making it. Fast forward to 2005, when Corning CEO Wendell Weeks gave Steve Jobs a demonstration of his company’s glass material.

Jobs was impressed and decided to use Corning’s glass protection for the original iPhone, as explained in Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of the late Apple co-founder:
Jobs said he wanted as much Gorilla Glass as Corning could make within six months. ‘We don’t have the capacity,’ Weeks replied. ‘None of our plants make the glass now.’
‘Don’t be afraid,’ Jobs replied.
This stunned Weeks, who was good-humored and confident but not used to Jobs’ reality distortion field. He tried to explain that a false sense of confidence would not overcome engineering challenges, but that was a premise that Jobs had repeatedly shown he didn’t accept.
He stared at Weeks unblinking. ‘Yes, you can do it,’ he said. ‘Get your mind around it. You can do it.”
As Weeks retold this story, he shook his head in astonishment. ‘We did it in under six months,’ he said. ‘We produced a glass that had never been made.’
Corning’s facility in Harrisburg, Kentucky, which had been making LCD displays, was converted almost overnight to make Gorilla Glass full-time.
‘We put our best scientists and engineers on it, and we just made it work.’
In his airy office, Weeks has just one framed memento on display. It’s a message Jobs sent the day the iPhone came out: ‘We couldn’t have done it without you.’
 While Apple and Corning have shared a decade-long relationship, Apple had reportedly switched to using its own strengthened glass on the iPhone and Apple Watch.


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