GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) advancing into sapphire space, Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW)
The solar industry doesn’t seem to be such a bright place any longer. Most companies have been going through a dismal time and so has GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), which has seen an 80 percent drop in orders for solar equipment. Hardly any company in the sector has gone untouched and the losses have fallen faster than it was possible for costs to be rationalized. In 2010-2012, the solar industry expanded at a very rapid pace. At that point its capacity had touched 60 GW while in 2012, the demand for solar touched only 30 GW.
Diversifying for profitability
This resulted in a drastic dip in prices for solar components and companies ceased new equipment orders. In addition to this, solar equipment manufacturers were faced with the possibility of competing with their own second-hand equipment which was being sold at a fraction of the cost. The company has now forayed into the LED and electronics industry with the acquisition of Crystal Systems which manufactures sapphire production equipment. GTAT is developing technology for manufacturing sapphire touch-screens which will definitely be the opening point of a massive opportunity.
Gorilla Vs Sapphire
While GTAT makes efforts to find a place in the sapphire space, Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) shrugs all claims from sapphire manufacturers, that their product can beat Corning’s indefatigable Gorilla Glass. This glass is now the face of over 1.5B consumer-electronic devices. Its image clarity, durability, strength, thickness and touch performance has had mobile manufacturers taking to like a fish take to water.
Who is the winner?
There has been a lot of debate around whether sapphire crystal has the potential to replace Corning’s Gorilla Glass. It is being used for high-end watches and that is in most probability the root of the speculation. However, it has to be understood that watch covers have a much smaller surface area and are distinctly thicker than those that are found on phone screens. Sapphire is also a definite environment hit and the cost factor is not in its favor.
And so, while Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) and GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) fight it out in the consumer electronic field, consumers can still thumb their gorilla glass screens and sport their Breitlings.