Apple might be behind New York chip factory pitch

14.12.2012, 8:57

A proposed plan for a chip manufacturing plant in upstate New York is generating a lot of buzz, with rumors that Apple may be behind the new factory.

The 3.2-million square foot facility has reportedly been pitched to New York state economic development officials by an undisclosed company.

State Governor Andrew Cuomo hinted that Apple is at least on the list of companies interested in the factory during a recent radio interview, though wouldn’t go so far as to say any plans are set in concrete.

“We’re shopping a lot of different companies at any given time,” Cuomo said. “Apple has a lot of competition, obviously, for their location. I don’t think that they’re anywhere yet in the decision-making.”

The leading theory seems to be that while the upstate New York factory will be used to manufacture chips for iPhones and iPads, it may not necessarily be an Apple factory.

Instead, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is thought to be at the helm following reports that Apple is shifting away from Samsung and toward TSMC as its primary chip supplier for the future.

Talk of a new Apple chip factory is timed conveniently with the firm’s declaration that starting in 2013, one of the existing Mac lines will be made wholly in the U.S.

Of course, this new factory is still a long ways off, making it unlikely to be involved in the plan for stateside Mac production next year.

While Apple and TSMC are getting the most attention as a candidate for the plant, Cuomo’s radio comments don’t make it sound like such a slam dunk.

A company like Intel could still be on the table, either using the site to open its own plant or taking the place of TSMC in a partnership with Apple.

Upstate New York is already home to a GlobalFoundries chip fabrication plant, which began production of IBM chips in Jan. 2012.

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Foxconn rumored to be planning US factory

09.11.2012, 9:06

Foxconn, the electronics manufacturer that is as famous for the iPhone 5 as it is for controversy, just may set up shop with at least one factory in the U.S.

According to a DigiTimes report, so take it with a grain of salt, market watchers say that the Chinese manufacturer is in the process of evaluating U.S. cities for a potential factory site, including Los Angeles and Detroit.

The unspecified market watchers claim that the U.S. Foxconn factory would likely be used to make LCD TVs, since the manufacturing process can be largely automated and requires fewer actual workers.

Earlier this year Foxconn made a significant investment in Sharp, including talks to acquire two of its LCD TV factories in Mexico and China.

While the rumor sparks an immediate response of skepticism, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou has recently said the company plans to start a training program for U.S. engineers.

The program would bring engineers to plants in Taiwan and China, where they would get first-hand experience with the manufacturing process.

Foxconn made news last month when between 3,000 and 4,000 employees were reported to have gone on strike, though the company denied the riots.

Workers reportedly claimed that unfair demands were being placed on them, along with inadequate training in preparation for assembling the iPhone 5.

The company has a notoriously poor reputation when it comes to working conditions, with the US Fair Labor Association reporting “serious and pressing concerns” after visiting an Apple Foxconn plant earlier this year.

With U.S. companies typically outsourcing their electronics production to Foxconn overseas, it is certainly an interesting rumor to consider a more local Foxconn factory taking root.

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Nikon reveals D800 production targets

15.02.2012, 11:55

Nikon is aiming to produce
30,000 D800 cameras a month

Nikon has revealed how many units of the new Nikon D800 semi-pro camera it intends to manufacture at its Sendai factory in Japan.

According to a report which appeared on Bernama, Malaysia’s National News Agency, Nikon is aiming to produce 30,000 units of the D800 per month, while it also revealed that it is hoping to produce 5,000 Nikon D4 units every month.

Several Asian journalists visited the Sendai factory, with Nikon President Jiro Saito telling them that it had spent US$100 million repairing the factory after the devastating earthquake of March last year.

Camera every minute

Currently, the factory has around 1,600 workers, having the ability to produce one unit of camera per minute on a daytime shift. According to the report, a D800 can be produced in around four hours, while the D4 takes five.

Some components for camera production are sourced from overseas factories including Nikon China, with around 1600 component parts required to produce both the D800 and D4.

Both the new cameras were announced this year, with the D4 back at the beginning of January and the D800 just last week.

The D800 features a 36 million pixel sensor, making it the highest resolution full-frame camera in the world.

Originally slated for a mid-February release, recent reports have suggested that the D4 could be delayed until the middle of March. Meanwhile, pre-orders for the D800 were frozen in the US leading to speculation that there could also be a delay on those too.

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