Factory Stories January 25, 2016

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Fire last night at Foxconn’s main iPhone manufacturing plant “spanned several floors of the factory”

Update: A video from the People’s Daily does make it seem surprising that production would be unaffected.

A fire broke out last night at Foxconn’s main iPhone manufacturing plant in Zhengzhou, China, with the WSJ noting that it spanned several floors of the factory. Foxconn confirmed reports, but said that there were no casualties and production was not affected.

Local authorities said they are investigating the cause of the fire. The fire began in the central air conditioning fan and ventilation ducts on the roof of one of Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plants, according to a statement on the website of the Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone.

There have been previous fires and explosions at Foxconn factories, the most serious of which was at an iPad 2 production facility in 2011, when three workers were killed and fifteen injured. That incident also had a major impact on iPad production.

Photos: 163.com and Weibo user chengdu

Factory Stories November 19, 2014

In the aftermath of GT Advanced filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the sapphire maker reached a $439 million settlement with Apple in which the supplier will repay the iPhone maker up to $290,000 per furnace sold. GT Advanced creditors aren’t happy with the proposed settlement, however, arguing that the sapphire company may have received too little in the deal. expand full story

Factory Stories October 10, 2014

GT Advanced closed court hearing was to seek permission to close the sapphire plant

The motion GT Advanced filed earlier for a closed hearing was to seek court permission to close its sapphire manufacturing plant, reports Re/code.

Sapphire crystal maker GT Advanced Technologies, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this week, has asked the court’s permission to “wind down” operations at its manufacturing plant, less than a year after announcing a high-profile deal to supply the material to Apple.

As we noted earlier, the reason for the company’s failure appears to be that it was unable to meet Apple’s requirements for sapphire displays for the iPhone 6, though it remains unclear whether this was a quality issue or an inability to supply the volumes needed.

The court will hear the company’s motion on 15th October.

KGI stated earlier this week that the bankruptcy of GT Advanced is unlikely to have any impact on the Apple Watch as there are other suppliers able to provide sapphire screens in the sizes needed, but it may be that Apple will rethink its plans to use sapphire for future iPhones.

Image credit: azcentral.com

Factory Stories November 4, 2013

The State of Arizona today announced that Apple is planning to build a new manufacturing facility in the city of Mesa, Arizona. The facility will create 700 jobs for manufacturing, and an additional 1,300 jobs for the construction and management of the new facility, In total, Apple will be bringing at least 2,000 new jobs to the United States thanks to this new facility.

In addition to the manufacturing facility, Apple will be constructing a new solar power grid in the city to power the manufacturing operations, according to Arizona’s announcement:

expand full story

The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

Factory Stories February 6, 2012

Vodpod videos no longer available.

After The New York Times published a lengthy two-part piece covering the controversial working conditions of Apple’s supply chain within Foxconn factories in China, other publications are doing their own investigative work to find out more informtion. The NYT’s second installment brought us the backstory of Foxconn worker Lai Xiaodong leading up to his death at a factory explosion in Chengdu. Today, CNN published a video of journalist Stan Grant who recently sat down for an interview with a current Foxconn employee and iPad display assembler:

“I can’t bear it anymore. Everyday was like, I get off from work and I go to bed. I get up in the morning, and I go to work. It became my daily routine and I almost felt like I was some kind of animal.”

The video starts off with Grant showing “Miss Chen,” who requested her name be changed for the interview, and the finished iPad she helps assemble on a daily basis but has never used. Miss Chen told CNN her Foxconn bosses informed her not to talk with media or “criminal liability shall be investigated according to law.” Chen, a poor Chongqing university student, said she took the one-month job with no experience on promises of “great benefits and little overtime.” Chen described her experience upon arriving at Foxconn: expand full story

Factory Stories November 24, 2011

Despite Apple vowing to audit fifteen of their suppliers following accusations of pollution from Chinese NGOs, a report from China Labor Watch says 1,000 employees of a Jingmo Electronics Corporation factory in Shenzhen staged a strike earlier this week. The factory is owned by one of the world’s largest keyboard manufacturers, Jingyuan Computer Group, and happens to be an OEM for Apple, among others including LG and IBM. The Chinese Labor Watch organization is particularly urging Apple to take responsibility:

“China Labor Watch calls upon Apple, IBM and the other clients of this factory to assume responsibility for these workers’ dissatisfaction and work with the factory to improve the working conditions in the factory. We particularly urge Apple to take responsibility, as there are more than 300 workers working on the Apple keyboard assembly line.” 

The workers decided to strike over management’s decision to enforce nightly overtime, adding a 6 p.m.- 12 p.m nightly shift to their regular hours of 7-11:30 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. That accounts for approximately 120 hours of overtime per month. They were also refused the right to work this overtime on the weekends, which would have required the company to pay workers double time under Chinese Labor Law. Chinese Labor Watch explains there were other concerns raised by employees as well: expand full story

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