Kentucky Plant Benefiting From Latest Apple Investment

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Apple deepened its ties to a Kentucky plant on Monday by awarding another $45 million to support Corning Inc.'s work to supply glass for the tech giant's iPhones and other devices.

The latest investment will expand Corning's manufacturing capacity and “drive research and development into innovative new technologies that support durability and long-lasting product life,” Apple said in a news release.

Glass for every generation of iPhone has been made at Corning’s plant in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Corning also supplies glass for iPads and Apple Watches.

Corning previously received $450 million from Apple's $5 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund in the past four years, the tech giant said. Apple said Monday its investment helps support more than 1,000 jobs across Corning's U.S. operations. Corning employs about 400 people at its technology development and manufacturing operations at Harrodsburg in central Kentucky.

The companies teamed to develop a new glass-ceramic at the Harrodsburg plant that led to the Ceramic Shield, which Apple used to fashion the new front cover featured on the iPhone 12 lineup.

“Since the first iPhone, we've partnered with Corning in Kentucky to create the most durable glass in a smartphone,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a tweet. “Ceramic Shield on the iPhone 12 lineup takes US innovation to new levels & we're investing across America to find the next breakthrough.”

Wendell P. Weeks, Corning’s chairman and chief executive officer, said Apple's “longstanding product-development partnership” and its ongoing investment in manufacturing technology at the Harrodsburg plant "is not only fueling life-changing innovation, it’s also helping us sustain vital communities where we live and work."

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear hailed Apple's investments in the Kentucky plant.

“That’s really exciting, a company like this seeing us as a part of their future,” he said Monday.

Apple established its Advanced Manufacturing Fund in 2017 to support innovation and high-skilled manufacturing jobs across the United States.