Apple’s sapphire plant likely ramped up production significantly by the middle of February

Posted: April 10, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Mesa Sapphire Plant
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

by Matt Margolis

I’ve had a bit of time to do some more digging (a few hours) and here is what I know so far about Project Cascade aka the secret sapphire project in Mesa, AZ.  The permit dates are an approximate date in some cases because the Mesa, AZ Development Services Division did stamp all applications with a received date.  However, to determine the permit date I was able to look up the permit numbers above and below the permits for Project Cascade to come up with a very reasonable permit grant date.

Based on the building permit description below for permit # BLD2014-00886 it appears that the Mesa, AZ sapphire plant likely ramped up production significantly by the middle of February.  The building permit granted on (approximately 2/13/14) indicated the need for MV (Medium Voltage) Fuse Changes due to tool (furnace) load, which clearly indicates the installed and operational furnaces were putting some pressure on the power grid inside Mesa by the middle of February.    As you can see from my furnace deliveries below, I am estimating that over 1,500 furnaces were delivered to Mesa by the end of January 2014.  I have confirmed deliveries of 1,060 external furnaces and I estimated 500 furnace deliveries from GT Advanced as part of their $180m Q4 2013 deployment of assets.

ADDENDA TO PACKAGE A03E. REF BLD2013-06025. – DRB023 INCLUDES I & C ADDITIONS AND REVISIONS, MV FUSE CHANGES DUE TO TOOL LOAD, UPDATE TO LIGHTING AT J-K LINES, TELECOM IDF CABINET UPDATES AND FENCE ENCLOSURES AROUNG ELECTRICAL SWITCH GEAR.

I have tracked 1,265 ASF furnaces delivered to Mesa through 3/10/14.  GT deployed $180m of PPE in Q4 2013 and if I assume $150m of that PPE was for ASF furnaces it would equate to another 500 furnaces inside Mesa.  Assuming 1,265 furnaces purchased and delivered as of 3/10/14 plus 500 furnaces deployed from GT brings my estimated total furnaces count inside Mesa to 1,765 as of 3/10/14.  My total by month would be 1,172 in December 2013, 388 in January, 191 in February and 14 in March.   The total imports reported by Import Genius for all imports to GT Corporation (see image below) illustrate that GT’s imports spiked in December 2013 and leveled off some in January and February.

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The total imports reported by Import Genius  (see image below) illustrate that GT’s imports spiked in December 2013 and leveled off some in January and February.

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Mesa Facility 6 modules/phases referred to as 1 through 6 and  A, B and C

 

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Mesa Facility Module Sizes and Stages

Module 1 – 12,500 square feet

According to Building Permits filed Module 1 measures 12,500 square feet and will house 140 tools (ASF growth furnaces) and is referred to as the Quick Start 140 Area.  Temporary/Partial C-of-O for Quick Start 140 Area was issued on 1/10/14.  Upon execution of this C-of-O the Owner and the Owner’s tenant shall have the ability to commence with occupancy and production within the above mentioned space for an undefined period of time.  Module 1 has 1 ASF furnace for every 89 square feet of manufacturing space assuming the building permit square footage is accurate.

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Modules 2 – 12,500 square feet

According to Building Permits filed Module 2 measures 12,500 square feet.   Additionally, a different permit received on 1/27/14 requested approval to provide protection for new tools platform for Module 2.  I am estimating 140 furnaces could be up and running inside module 2, since the listed square footage is identical to module 1 at 12,500 square feet.

DEFFERED FIRE SPRINKLERS – MOD2 – REF BLD2013 06025 PROTECTION BELOW TOOL PLATFORMS IN MOD 2. DESIGN DENSITY 0.2 GPM OVER ENTIRE PLATFORM. BUILDING OCCUPANCY F1 CONSTRUCTION TYPE IIB.

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Module 3 – Size N/A

According to Building Permits I have reviewed Module 3 does not include a square footage measurement but I will keep looking. (it’s a shame that not each form was completed consistently!)

Module 4 – 163,483 square feet

According to Building Permits filed Module 4 measures 162,483 (nearly 13 times the size of Module 1).  If we assume the same space to furnace ratio, Module 3 can accommodate 1,800 furnaces.  A building permit requesting installation of fire alarms was received on 2/10/14.

(2/10/14 Building Permit) FIRE SPRINKLERS – MOD4 – REF BLD2013 06025 PROTECTION BELOW TOOL PLATFORMS & TRESTLES IN MOD 4. DESIGN DENSITY 0.2 GPM OVER ENTIRE PLATFORM AND 0.2GMP/3000SF FOR TRESTLES. BUILDING OCCUPANCY F1 CONSTRUCTION TYPE IIB.

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Below are some interesting building permit descriptions and timelines

Module 1 Go-Live 1/10/14 and commence construction on Module 2,3 and 4

Apple/GTAT was granted the approval to begin production in Module 1 on 1/10/14.  The approval was a temporary C-of-O because Module 1 still had some items to complete.  The entry below with approval granted on 1/17/14 indicates that Module 1 needs to be finished off and Module 2, 3 and 4 have not started construction but would commence construction of the manufacturing area to complete architectural, mechanical, electrical, process and systems.  This entry also indicates that Module 5 is not as far along and will only have the shell space completed once construction begins.

PACKAGE A04E. FABRICATION AREA BASE BUILD PACKAGE. INCLUDES MECHANICAL DUCTING AND PIPING AND PLUMBING AND PROCESS PIPING. DRB 009 HAS BEEN ADDED TO THIS PKG. FIRE SPRINKLERS DEFERRED – MECHANICAL DUCTS > 48″.

 

PACKAGE A03E. WORK FOR THIS PKG INCLUDES CONSTRUCTION OF THE ARCHITECTURAL, MECHANICAL, ELECTRICAL, PROCESS AND SYSTEMS FOR THE MANUFACTURING AREA INCLUDING THE BALANCE OF MOD 1, MOD 2,3,4 AND THE SHELL SPACE OF MOD 5. FIRE SPRINKLERS DEFERRED. NOTE THAT DRB010 FOR THIS PKG, ISSUED JAN 17, 2014 ADDRESSES ARCHITECTURAL AND ELECTRICAL CHANGES.

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Pump House, North and South Electric Building Permits Issues (1/27/14 and 2/7/14)

PACKAGE A02H – CONSTRUCT 2126 SQ FT PUMP HOUSE. OCCUPANCY CLASSIFICATION F-1, CONSTRUCTION TYPE IIB, FIRE SPRINKLERS DEFERRED.

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PACKAGE – NORTH ELECTRIC BUILDING. JOB #14-B-35380. BUILDING IS A 3600 SQ FT, F-1 OCCUPANCY, TYPE IIB CONSTRUCTION, FIRE SPRINKLERS.

 

PACKAGE FOR E HOUSE SOUTH BUILDING. STEEL BUILDING, 1440 SQ FT, F-1 OCCUPANCY, CONSTRUCTION TYPE IIB.

Centrifuge Platforms and Build out of Fabrication Office Permit (2/10/14)

 

ADDENDA TO BLD2013-05895, A04D DRB018, FABRICATION AREA BASE BUILD. INCLUDES CONSTRUCTION OF CENTRIFUGE PLATFORMS AND BUILD OUT OF FABRICATION OFFICE AND CONFERENCE, COPY, AND BREAK ROOMS.

 

I & C Additions, MV Fuse Changes due to Tool (Furnace) Load  Permit (2/13/14)

ADDENDA TO PACKAGE A03E. REF BLD2013-06025. – DRB023 INCLUDES I & C ADDITIONS AND REVISIONS, MV FUSE CHANGES DUE TO TOOL LOAD, UPDATE TO LIGHTING AT J-K LINES, TELECOM IDF CABINET UPDATES AND FENCE ENCLOSURES AROUNG ELECTRICAL SWITCH GEAR.

 

FABRICATION AREA BASE BUILD PKG, (MECH, PLUMBING, PROCESS PIPING AND ELECTRICAL WORK Permit (2/18/14)

ADDENDA DRB019 TO PACKAGE A04E. REF BLD2013-06024 – FABRICATION AREA BASE BUILD PKG, (MECH, PLUMBING, PROCESS PIPING AND ELECTRICAL WORK). Add break rm light/power, updated tool breakers, updated lighting in Coolant Reclaim rms, add a/c units, add power factor correction cabinets, clean rm ceiling, CDA piping, RODI piping, Coolant Reclaim piping.

 

Piping Support and Rooftop Equipment Support for Pump House Piping and Tanks Permit (2/25/14)

PACKAGE A05E. STRUCTURAL STEEL FOR TRESTLES FOR PIPING SUPPORT, FOR ROOFTOP EQUIPMENT SUPPORT, FOR PUMP HOUSE PIPING AND TANKS AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS PIPING.

4,752 Product Recycle Room Permit (3/4/14)

REF BLD2014-00161 & BLD2014-00263. Double interlock pre-action system to cover 4752 s.f. approx PRODUCT RECYCLE ROOM within building.

Central Utility Plant, Heat Exchangers, Cooling Towers, New Exhaust Fans Permit (3/24/14)

ADDENDA TO PACKAGE A02K – DRB016. REF BLD2014-00440. WORK IN CENTRAL UTILITY PLANT INCLUDING HEAT EXCHANGERS, COOLING TOWERS, AND ASSOCIATED PIPING AND ELECTRICAL FOR ADDITIONAL FAN COIL UNITS, I AND C POINTS FOR THE CENTRAL PLANT AND NEW EXHAUST FANS FOR THE UPS AND BATTERY ROOMS. LIGHTING FOR N AND S E-HOUSE AND PUMP HOUSE ALSO INCLUDED.

 

Full Disclosure I am long GTAT and have no plans to  buy or sell any holdings in the next 72 hours

 

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Comments
  1. awisecpa says:

    Nice work again Matt! Thank goodness for public availability of documents like this. Between this and online job postings, companies create a nice trail! you continue to put it together so well.

    Like

  2. […] Apple’s sapphire plant likely ramped up production significantly by the middle of Februar… […]

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  3. […] Apple’s sapphire plant likely ramped up production significantly by the middle of Februar… […]

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  4. […] Apple's sapphire plant likely ramped up production significantly by the middle of February […]

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  5. Mira Inbar says:

    Hi Matt, I really love your posts. Do you know what GTAT’s planned furnace cycle ramp-up is (number of ingots per furnace from 2014-2016) and their planned furnace size ramp? Many thanks!

    Like

  6. […] tools (sapphire growth furnaces) on January 14th and further evidence that the sapphire plant had rapidly ramped up sapphire production by the middle of […]

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  7. The Ouya started right up, but required us to both establish a network connection and
    update the console”. i – Pad Air, Retina i – Pad mini coming to India on Dec 7.

    But the mere fact that stories are coming from alleged
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    such a product is certainly good news for shareholders and Apple fans.

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