By Barbra Murray
Apple Inc. has given a second award from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund, and the winner is Finisar—and the City of Sherman, Texas. The optical communications components provider will receive $390 million from the $1 billion fund for the transformation of a 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant into a production hub for high-tech vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, and a source of 500 new high-skill jobs.
The Apple funding could put Sherman, a town located roughly 45 miles outside the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, on the map. “Technology is only as good as the people behind it, and Finisar is a company with a long history of putting its employees first and supporting the community it’s a part of,” Jeff Williams, COO of Apple Inc., said in prepared statement. “We’re extremely proud that our involvement will help transform another American community into a manufacturing powerhouse.”
Finisar’s new Apple-financed plant will emerge from an existing structure sited on 78.5 acres at 6800 U.S. Highway 75. Originally developed in 1997, the building encompasses approximately 460,000 square feet of manufacturing space, 130,000 square feet of office space, in addition to clean rooms, and chemical storage facilities. Finisar acquired the property for $20 million from SunEdison Inc., which had utilized the space for the manufacturing of silicon wafers until several years ago.
Precious little time is being wasted preparing for the new Finisar project; planning and infrastructure upgrades have already commenced at the site.
A bite of the Apple
Apple created the Advanced Manufacturing Fund to promote innovative production and high-skill positions in preparation for a new era of technology-driven manufacturing. In May of this year, the tech giant chose Corning Inc. as the first recipient of proceeds from the fund, providing the innovator of materials science with $200 million for cutting-edge glass processing at its facility in Harrodsburg, Ky.
Finisar is already hiring employees for its Sherman plant. “In the second half of calendar year 2018, we expect this facility will allow us to produce VCSEL arrays using six-inch wafers for both consumer and automotive applications,” Jerry Rawls, CEO of Finisar, noted in prepared remarks on the company’s recent quarterly financial results.
Image courtesy of Apple