Both Foxconn iPad 2 Factories Exploded For The Same Reason

Both Foxconn iPad 2 Factories Exploded For The Same Reason

Yesterday, we reported about an explosion at a Shanghai iPad 2 factory owned by Foxconn that injured 61 people, some seriously. It’s the second time in the last year an explosion has rocked an iPad 2 factory, and it’s now been seemingly confirmed that both explosions happened for the same reason: a build-up of aluminum dust in the factory area that eventually combusted.

The revelation comes from China Labor Watch, a nonprofit organization that collaborates with unions and labor orgs in China to make sure factories have safe working conditions.

“The blast in Riteng is a result of aluminum dust in the workshop where iPad cases are polished,” China Labor Watch said in a press release. “A similar blast happened in the same workshop of a Foxconn’s factory in Chengdu, killing 3 workers and hurting another 15.”

According to Businessweek, Apple’s working with Foxconn to “understand the causes of the accident” but frankly, it seems pretty clear what the issue is. In fact, it’s shocking that after the first accident, a similar one could have even occurred.

In both cases, a factory that specialized in polishing the iPad 2’s case assembly suffered an explosion from a build-up of combustible aluminum dust in the air. Clearly, Apple and Foxconn need to figure out a safer way to polish iPads. No one wants the alternative: a plastic iPad case like some sort of Honeycomb tablet. Let’s hope this problem now gets solved.

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  • dan king

    HELLO!!! Everything that is made in China is made by near slave labor,
    in hype unsafe conditions. Doesn’t anyone remember when those photos of
    little kids sewing nike shoes hit the news stands? This isnt news. This
    is BS hype that someone is drawing light to because they want to put
    some black marks on apple products.

    People keep stating that Apple needs to solve this problem… Why would Apple have even a single tiny thing to say about how Foxconn wants to run their business?!? This is how contract manufacturing works, “Hi, I’m Steve from Apple and I need 10K iPad Cases made from aluminum, I need them to these specs and to this quality. Whats it going to cost?” That is about as much involvement that Apple has.

  • Captain Snicklefret

    It is a shame that China does not provide basic human rights to their own people.

  • Captain Snicklefret

    It is a shame that China does not provide basic human rights to their own people.

  • Tim Levesque

    Exactly.  Apple has no control over China’s labor laws and policies…and yet people continue to blame them.

  • ??nD ??os??A

    But Apple could choose to build the products in a country that does have better protection for workers and humans in general….like maybe the US?
    Apple (and 99% of corporate America) is basically guilty of outsourcing slavery. 
    Yes, the products would cost more.  So what.  Freedom does not come cheap, and frankly there is no reason that Apple couldn’t build products in the US and use that as a differentiator.  

  • GMA, inc

    Yesterday, we reported about an explosion at a Shanghai iPad 2 factory owned by Foxconn that injured 61 people, some seriously. shouldn’t this be Pegatron?

  • Agree (with Alumnus)

    I agree that the problems with protecting workers do exist in China… Based on second hand documentation… However, the Republicans would like to do that here too: they want to eliminate labor unions, they want to repeal the minimum wage… What happened to the “good old days” when companies could be satisfied with a reasonable profit margin, but not an obscene one…

    Someone much more knowledgeable in economics than I once pointed out that IF you make LESS THEN 1 MILLION DOLLARS per year, you have NO business voting for a reTHUGlican, because you are voting AGAINST your own interests…

    And seriously, Apple is an American company… It should really understand that and start making stuff HERE…

  • timoftelaur

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    I’m telling you this because I have nothing to lose,I just want to help others. Think about it, you can lose max 2 minutes, but think what you get a ipad, so what do you say, does it worth?

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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