Posts Tagged ‘Apple Sapphire Expansion’

by Matt Margolis

Analyst Stephen Chin from UBS, indicated in his April 29th report that his checks indicated that GTAT shipped out approximately 2,200kg of sapphire ingots to China to be processes into sapphire screens.  GT is currently recruiting for Inventory Control Analysts as evidenced by the company’s April 24, 2014 job posting on the company website.  Inventory control analysts typically monitor inventory (in this case sapphire) to ensure that levels of inventory are adequate as well as to monitor sale orders and overall production.  I spent some time in one of my previous “full-time” jobs, doing inventory audits and visiting various manufacturing locations.  It is very important to tag, monitor and count inventory levels.  Additionally, since GT is growing and accumulating massive amounts of sapphire inventory it is critical to understand expected deliveries as well as logistics.  Just like the UPS commercial, “What can brown do for you,? knowing your logistics is very important since Apple operates a just in time assembly process.  Apple’s just in time assembly process keeps carrying costs low and does not tie its precious cash by holding large amounts of inventory.

One interesting bullet point within the key duties and responsibilities section is the mention of “releasing and logging new part number releases”.  The key duties and responsibilities seem to indicate that GT will be producing multiple part numbers i.e. variations of cored sapphire inside the Mesa, AZ sapphire plant.  If GT is indeed coring ingots and shipping to China for processing this bullet point would likely indicate that GT is making sapphire for not just one Apple device but multiple Apple devices.  Any thoughts I have related to GT producing sapphire for multiple devices always forces me to revisit the 9 phases (sections) of the Mesa, AZ sapphire plant.  Is each phase in the Mesa sapphire facility dedicated to the production of sapphire for a specific Apple device?  What I can tell you is that Module 1 through Module 4 have been delivered to GT for possession based on my review of the issued permits and descriptions.

 

1.2.1       Phases. Landlord anticipates that it will deliver possession of the Premises to Tenant in multiple phases as each phase of the Premises (each, a “Phase”) becomes ready for delivery to Tenant.  As used in this Lease, the term “Current Demised Premises” shall mean, at any given time, the Premises or the Phase(s), and the portion of the Premises corresponding to such Phase(s), of which Tenant has accepted delivery in accordance with Section 1.4.  Exhibit C describes each of the nine (9) Phases of the Premises.  The Phases are designated on Exhibit C as “Phase 1”, “Phase 2”, “Phase 3”, “Phase 4”, “Phase 5”,”Phase 6”, “Phase A”, “Phase B” and “Phase C”.  Except as expressly set forth in Sections 1.2.2, 1.3 and 1.4, Landlord shall deliver each Phase of the Premises to Tenant in its then “as-is” condition without any representations or warranties regarding condition.

 

Inventory Control Analysts Key Duties and Responsibilities

  •  A dynamic individual that can interact with Engineering, Logistics, and Operations to ensure that the inventory counts and numbers are up-to-date and accurate to the best of their ability.
  • Maintain orders and inventory in SAP in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Maintain and distribute a real time order report.  Track inventory orders and report to management.
  • Modify as necessary.
  • Work with Operations Analyst to identify BOM changes and SAP part number changes that directly affect open and pending sales orders that directly affect inventory.
  • Work with Operations order team for releasing and logging new part number releases for engineering and operations in SAP.
  • May interact with Finance and Logistics to provide customer specific product information on Inventory related issues.

                         Inventory Control Analysts Required Skills

  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail. High level of accuracy is required.
  • Working knowledge of capital equipment production.  Strong familiarity with the sales order process in a production environment.  Clear understanding of part numbering systems, bills of materials, revision control, engineering interface and Logistics.
  • Competent user of SAP with strengths in order entry and sales order process.
  • Clear communicator that can address all management levels of the organization.
  • Strong computer skills capable of producing Excel spread sheets and reports that may be distributed widely.   Able to generate reports directly out of SAP.
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by Matt Margolis

Based on my review of the Mesa sapphire plant building permits it seems likely the sapphire manufacturing plant is active within modules 1 through  module 4.  Tool platforms (platforms that hold ASF sapphire growth furnaces) have been installed within the first 4 modules and each of first 4 modules (areas) appear to have been equipped with fire alarms and FS/TS monitoring at each Tool platform.  I’m taking an educated guess that FS/TS is referencing flat screen (FS) and touch screen (TS) monitors on each Tool platforms, which would seem to make a lot of sense.  Module 1 and Module 2 are known to be 12,500 square feet, Module 3 square footage is unavailable and Module 4 measures 162,483 square feet, which is large enough to hold well over 1,500 ASF growth furnaces.

Mesa Module 4 Building Permit Image 162,483 square feet

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The most recent building permit issued on 4/17/14 indicates that a request to work on the “central utility plant” to work on heat exchangers, cooling towers and installation of additional fan coil units. The images below that were taken on 4/10/14 indicate the exterior construction on the cooling towers and electrical station appear complete.

The 4/17/14 building permit description indicates that Apple is requesting additional work inside the uninterruptible power systems (UPS) and battery rooms (yes plural).  For any of us who have not been inside a battery, this room within a manufacturing plant houses battery backup for uninterruptible power systems (UPS) and is critical to provide power if any outages were to occur. If Mesa loses power the UPS would kick in and deliver the necessary power to the ASF sapphire growth furnaces.   Also, an additional request was also made to add exhaust fans with spark proof motors and H2 sensors in the battery rooms.
Mesa Cooling Towers from 4/10/14

April 10 West Water Towers

Mesa Electrical Statio  from 4/10/14

April 10 West Electrical Station

Sample Battery Room image from bsn and is not directly related to the Mesa plant in any way!

battery room sample

Fan Coil Unit Sample image and is not directly related to the Mesa plant in any way!

Fan Coil Unit Example

 

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.

 

ADDENDA TO PACKAGE A04E – DRB042. INCLUDES EXHAUST FANS WITH SPARK-PROOF MOTORS AND H2 SENSORS IN BATTERY ROOMS.

 

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Fabrication Area with Centrifuge Platforms

Another interesting item is the fact that the Mesa facility includes a fabrication area that has been outfitted with centrifuge platforms.  Centrifuges are usually used to separate liquids but other forms of centrifuges include analytical centrifuges, which can study just about anything including proteins and sediment.

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.

 

Sample Centrifuge Image from (Huada) and is not directly related to the Mesa plant in any way!

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Product Recycle Room 4,752 square feet

The Mesa facility is equipped with a 4,752 square foot product recycle room.  A permit was issued on 3/4/14 to install a Pneu-Lectric double interlocked preaction system (these are fancy words for a very expensive integrated alarm/sprinkler system).  If you are bored you can read about an existing Pneu-Lectric model here.

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