New furnace provides a 40% increase in boule size compared to current ASF115.
GT Advanced Technologies (Nasdaq:GTAT) announced that it will be making its next generation ASF®165 sapphire growth furnace, for the production of high volume and high quality sapphire material, commercially available in Q3'14.
The new system will deliver a 40% increase in boule size when compared to the ASF115, extending GT's leadership as a provider of low cost high quality sapphire production tools. The ASF165 is expected to be the only commercially available sapphire production furnace capable of producing high quality 165 kilogram boules in high volume.
The product is currently in the beta testing stage and is expected to be ready for volume shipments beginning in Q3 2014. Customers with installed ASF units, or those who opt to take delivery of new ASFs out of backlog prior to the general availability of the ASF165, will be able to upgrade to the larger capacity system when they become available. ASF165 units will also be available to new customers targeting the LED and industrial markets.
"The ASF165 gives customers a competitive advantage and lower cost of ownership by providing a sapphire furnace that significantly increases capacity and reduces cost," said Tom Gutierrez, GT's president and CEO. "Several industry analysts are forecasting an increase in demand for sapphire material and we believe that ASF customers who take advantage of the larger capacity ASF165 will be well positioned to serve this anticipated demand."
The company indicated that it has developed more advanced ASF technology capable of producing boules significantly greater than 165 kg. The company intends to keep this more advanced ASF system captive for some extended period of time.