Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Apple Puts the Cool Back in Manufacturing

So Apple announced it's new laptop updates yesterday and a significant portion of the buzz was focused on how they are manufactured. Apple's design aesthetic is know for being seamless and the main casing of the new Macbook's benefit as they are created out of a signal piece of aluminum that is cut down using a milling process from a brick of metal to the footprint of the laptop - all one seamless piece which Apple calls the unibody. The benefits are lighter and a more simple assembly process for starters, not to mention just a more pleasing design.

You can watch a video of the manufacturing process here. The manufacturing part starts after about 45 seconds and shows the steps from raw materials to the finished product.

This video should be shown at job fairs because it can do for manufacturing what the movie Top Gun did for the US Airforce and Navy, which was boost recruitment to record highs.


Christian said...

Interesting concept. I would however like to know what the energy and CO2 implications are from having to mill all that aluminium out of the original plate. It looks like more than 50% of the aluminium needs to be stripped of. What energy does that consumes and then what energy is required to melt all the scrap into another aluminium block. Any idea? In a low carbon world, we may want to look at other approaches.

Christopher Sciacca said...

Great question Christian. It's really boils down to, when does the carbon footprint start? When the aluminum is mined? You could say the same about plastic though when its first developed, which requires a lot of petroleum.

Regarding the aluminum being stripped, I think its closer to 90%. I recall reading that it goes from 5 lbs to .6, or something like that. I certainly hope its remelted. I'd love to see a comparison between plastic and metal.