GT Solar International, Inc. (NASDAQ: SOLR), a global provider of polysilicon production technology, and sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems and materials for the solar, LED and other specialty markets, today celebrated the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art sapphire production facility located in Salem, Massachusetts. The opening of the newly expanded plant concludes a project that began in the fall of 2010 that triples the sapphire production capacity in its Salem facility. GT invested $27 million to create a high volume production facility to provide sapphire material for the fast-growing LED market and other industrial material industries.
GT Solar's expanded sapphire production facility in Salem, Massachusetts, opened in June for production. (Photo: Business Wire)“The investment in this new plant is a testament to our belief in the growth of the sapphire market and our ability to capture a leadership position in this industry,” said Tom Gutierrez, GT Solar’s president and CEO. “We’ve leveraged forty years of crystal growth expertise from Crystal Systems and combined it with GT’s successful track record of rapid scale-up of commercial crystalline growth technology to create a new state-of-the-art sapphire manufacturing facility capable of producing predictable and repeatable high quality sapphire crystal run after run.” “We are extremely proud of having constructed our world-class manufacturing facility in such a short amount of time, and it is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the team that drove the planning and construction,” said Cheryl Diuguid, vice president and general manager of GT’s sapphire equipment and materials business unit. “We are also proud to be able to generate high quality employment opportunities to the people of Salem and throughout the North Shore area. Since the completion of the acquisition of Crystal Systems last summer, we have doubled our employment within our business unit. Our sapphire business is growing, and at a time of high unemployment for so many Americans, we are pleased that we are in a position to offer high quality manufacturing employment opportunities.”