A closer look at Apple’s Mac Pro production process


At yesterday’s media event, Apple released a video highlighting the production process for the upcoming Mac Pro, a machine that will see Apple bring Mac production back to the United States and already sees more than 2,000 people in it. 20 states are working on the project.

The video showed a number of steps in the production process, taking a first piece of aluminum and sculpting it into the shape of the Mac Pro’s case before subjecting it to polishing, anodizing, and other steps. Brief segments also gave an overview of the massive heat sink in production and the chips placed on boards to be installed in the machine.

Product designer Greg Koenig has offered expert insight of what exactly is shown in the video, explaining to the layman the tools and processes Apple uses. Koenig notes that the “big story” is Apple’s use of hydraulic stamping for the Mac Pro case, a process that stretches the initial piece of aluminum into the overall shape of the case.

Deep drawing is a process that very efficiently produces a “clean shaped” part. Apple could have just thrown a large chunk of aluminum into a lathe and created the same part, but that amount of metal removal is extremely inefficient. Deep drawing effectively creates a piece of metal very close to the final shape of a Mac Pro in just a few operations. After that, the Mac Pro case is rotated to clean the surface and achieve the desired tolerance, polished, placed back into a machining center to produce the I / O, power button and chamfer functions and finally anodized.

Koenig goes on to share a number of stills from the video with captions explaining what happens at each step, including turning, polishing, grinding, applying a protective film, milling cutouts. I / O and anodizing.

Other images capture production on some of the other parts of the new Mac Pro, including shot peening of the main triangular heat sink, pick-and-place assembly of circuit boards, and delivery of parts for final assembly to the hand of the machines themselves.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Flextronics was in the process of hiring 1,700 workers at its Austin, Texas facility to work on a “next-generation desktop computer.” This computer is presumed to be the Mac Pro, given that Apple previously revealed that the machine would be assembled in Texas, that Apple and Flextronics had previously been reported to be working together on the project, and Flextronics’ facilities in Austin are no longer available. only a kilometer and a half from those of Apple. large and growing operating campus in the region.

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