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Face ID component-maker’s plant could close as Apple ends orders

Face ID component-maker’s plant could close as Apple ends orders

The future of Coherent‘s facility in County Durham, England is in jeopardy following the loss of its primary customer, Apple. Accounts filed by the U.S. semiconductor company Coherent revealed that the cessation of orders for the iPhone’s built-in facial recognition from Apple has impacted the plant’s operations.

Sources from The Sunday Telegraph have disclosed that the County Durham plant specializes in manufacturing components used in the iPhone’s Face ID biometric system. However, Apple has recently announced upcoming changes to the face biometrics features in the next iteration of the iPhone, leading to a discontinuation of orders from Coherent.

This move aligns with Apple’s rumored introduction of thinner bezels in some iPhone 16 models, achieved through the new Border Reduction Structure (BRS) technology, as reported by The Elec. The next version of Apple devices’ native facial recognition is expected to be implemented under the screen.

Coherent recently secured $15 million in funding from the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act of 2022. This act provided the Department of Defense (DoD) with $2 billion to bolster and revitalize the U.S. semiconductor supply chain, aiming to reduce reliance on foreign manufacturers and ensure national security.

The funding is intended to support Coherent’s efforts to adapt to the changing market conditions and diversify its customer base. Despite this financial boost, the future of the County Durham plant remains uncertain.

The potential closure of the plant would have a significant economic impact on the region, affecting jobs and the local economy.

Last year, the company reduced its workforce in Newton Aycliffe, UK, by more than 100 employees by June 2023, initially blaming weakening business conditions for the job cuts, prompting a restructuring of operations with a focus on reducing costs.

Coherent is a player in the semiconductor industry, and has a global presence, with manufacturing facilities and research centers across several countries, including the critical plant in County Durham, UK.

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