17:02 GMT +3 hours28 August 2016
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Russian Apple Watch Supplier Ranked World’s Largest Sapphire Glass Producer

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The Russian company “Monocrystal”, a manufacturer of synthetic sapphire for high-tech applications in electronics, optical devices and metallization pastes for solar cells, which supplies sapphire glass for the Apple Watch, has been recognized as the largest manufacturer in the world; the annual revenue of the company reached $87 million.

According to the recent report of the market research and technology analysis company Yole Developpement (YD), Russian “Monocrystal” is one of the few companies in the segment that have managed to show an operating profit by the end of 2014.

The company has ended up ahead of Japanese competitors, taking the lead in the production of sapphire.

In July, the factory, based in the Russian city of Stavropol, grew a 300-pound sapphire crystal, a world’s first, using the kyropoulos method based on its own technology.

The company, with 30 years of experience in the production of sapphires, has previously grown sapphires weighing 100 kg and 140 kg.

By the end of the year, it plans to increase production capacity by more than 20% and take 30% of the global market of artificial industrial sapphires.

Monocrystal now holds 27% of the world market sapphire for optoelectronic applications and 11% of the world market of aluminum pastes for solar energy.

It is one of the main suppliers of 2-inch sapphire wafers, which is made for heavy-duty panel displays for Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition.

Due to the depreciation of the ruble, the Russian company’s products have become more competitive, enabling it to increase monthly the production of 2-inch wafers from 4 to 5 million units by the end of 2015.

According to the company’s website, 40 percent of its shipments are 2-inch wafers, and 60 percent — 4-inch. It also produces 8 and 10-inch sapphire wafers.

Sapphire, the second in hardness after diamond stone, has excellent mechanical, optical and chemical properties. That is why sapphire is used in watches and mobile devices. In addition, the crystal structure has allowed sapphire to become a major component of the LEDs (light-emitting diode), used in the lighting of LED TVs and general lighting.

Sapphire, which is almost entirely scratch-proof, must have seemed like a perfect material for a smartphone screen. It has long been used as a cover for luxury watches, and Apple has used it to cover the cameras and fingerprint sensors in some iPhones since October 2013.

The only material that's harder than sapphire is diamond — it can't be scratched by any other substance.

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Tags:
sapphire wafer, sapphires, Apple Watch Edition, Apple Watch, Monocrystal, Apple, Russia, Stavropol
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