A supplier of MacBook Air aluminum casings, Catcher Technology, recently had to shut down a plant in Eastern China following complaints by neighbors of "strange odors" emanating from the facility. While this could have been a concern for a critical part of the supply chain for one of Apple's most popular Mac products, the manufacturer says the plant should be back up and running by November.
A Catcher spokesman noted yesterday that the company is spending between US$2 - 3 million to resolve the environmental issues, cutting back on gas emissions from the plant. Realizing that dependence on a single plant could be a major risk, Catcher is planning on adding some production space in Tainan, Taiwan.
The quick resolution of the environmental issues should be reassuring to Apple. The MacBook Air accounted for a large part of the 4.89 million Macs sold in the 4th fiscal quarter ending September 30, 2011, and a slow response by Catcher might have resulted in shortages or worse, Apple moving to another long-term supplier.