With a $390 million investment from Apple in hand, FInisar offers a rare peek into its VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser] manufacturing facility.
From an Apple’s press release issued Wednesday:
Sherman, Texas — Apple today announced the latest award from its $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund. Finisar, a leading manufacturer of optical communications components, will receive $390 million as part of Apple’s commitment to support innovation and job creation by American manufacturers…
Apple has rapidly adopted depth-sensing technology in recent years, leading to the development and production of the most advanced VCSELs used in the history of consumer electronics. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Apple will purchase 10 times more VCSEL wafers than were previously manufactured worldwide over a similar time period.
As a result of Apple’s commitment, Finisar will transform a long-shuttered, 700,000-sqare-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas, into the high-tech VCSEL capital of the US. Apple’s award will create more than 500 high-skill jobs at the Sherman facility, including engineers, technicians and maintenance teams. When combined with the company’s nearby plant in Allen, Texas, Finisar’s payroll in Northern Texas is expected to be $65 million. Hiring, capital equipment planning and infrastructure upgrades are already underway at the Sherman facility, which is expected to begin shipping in the second half of 2018.
The release includes a link to a video that takes you inside the Allen facility. Click here.
My take: Finisar has crossed my radar screen a couple times before (see here and here). This was my first peek into their operations. You’d never guess from the dozens of videos Finisar has posted in the past that this is what they do. This snoozer from Oct. 2017, for example, makes excellent industrial camouflage:
Anyway, it’s nice to see Americans making this stuff.
UPDATE: From Loup Ventures’ Gene Munster:
This investment shows the company is doubling down on AR [augmented reality] again, and locks down the VCSEL market, which will make it tough for other smartphone players to compete in AR.