Impact of Japan’s quake and tsunami on global semiconductor industry

March 16, 2011

It has not even been a week since the unwanted happenings in Japan. Already. there are reports of nuclear emergency! One hopes it does not turn out to be that way!!

On the semiconductor front, DRAMeXchange of Taiwan has reported that Japan’s earthquake and electrical brownouts could affect silicon wafer supply and global DRAM capacity. WitsView reported that the recovery process of infrastructure in Japan will affect the resurgence of upstream panel supply chain. LEDinside observed that the earthquake generally has not done much damage to the LED industry.

EnergyTrend reported that the earthquake in Japan has relatively slight impact on the global solar industry compared to the other industries. The supply chain sectors influenced are mainly mono silicon and poly silicon suppliers. However, it has sent out a warning: the nuclear crisis in Fukushima continues to appear unsettling. If the radiation leakage widens to Kanzai of Japan, where many solar cell manufacturers are located, the global supply of solar cells may be affected.

The more important impact may be on Japan’s production of components for LCD panels, says IHS iSuppli.

The Japanese earthquake and tsunami has also stunned the global semiconductor industry, given that Japan has been a pioneer and leader in the global chip industry.

The preliminary assessment of Texas Instruments’ manufacturing sites in Japan revealed that the fab in Miho suffered substantial damage during the earthquake. Teams are working to reinstate production in stages, reaching full production in mid-July. TI’s fab in Aizu-wakamatsu was also damaged, but already is being re-started with full production estimated by mid-April. TI’s third fab in Hiji is undamaged and running at normal capacity.

Sony Group Operations are said to have been affected by the Pacific coast of Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and related power outages. For Elpida, the Hiroshima Plant suffered little impact as it is located in Hiroshima in the southwest of Japan, However, the Akita Elpida memory plant is not in operation as of the time of the  announcement due to power shut down caused by the earthquake, and it is hoped that normal business will resume when the power returns.

Iwate Toshiba Electronics did not report any casualties, but as of March 15, there was power lost, with limited partial recovery to start from March 13. One hopes, some power has been restored. And, as of March 15, 12:00pm, seven factories out of 22 of the Renesas Group’s factories in Japan have temporarily shutt down production.

The Shin-Etsu group reported that as of 1pm,, March 15 (Japan Time), necessary inspections were being carried out at Shin-Etsu Chemical Kashima Plant (Kamisu, Ibaraki Pref.) and Shin-Etsu Handotai Shirakawa Plant (Nishigo Village, Fukushima Pref.), both of which were out of operation.

It is implementing inspections of the facilities and equipments at the both plants putting the utmost priority on safety. However, damages were founded at some production equipment at the both plants until now. At present, it is still unclear how long it will take to restore such damaged equipments and facilities at the both plants.

Mitsui Chemicals Group reports the following effects of the Kanto-Tohoku earthquake on its operations.Operations at the Kashima Works (Kamisu City, Ibaraki Prefecture), has been suspended since the earthquake. Operations will be resumed after assessment of damage by the earthquake and tsunami.

At its Ichihara Works (Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture), production at ethylene plants is according to schedule. However, the operations at Mitsui DuPont Polychemicals and Chiba Phenol plants have been suspended since the earthquake. After assessing effect of scheduled “rolling” blackout, operations will be resumed.

At the Mobara Branch Factory (Mobara City, Chiba Prefecture), operations at acrylamide and paint toner binder resin plants have been suspended since the earthquake. After assessing effect of scheduled “rolling” blackout, operations will be resumed. All other facilities are operating according to schedule.

Japan has the enviable track record of bouncing back from adversity. Let’s all hope and pray for an encore!

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  1. Rahul Deokar
    March 17, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks Pradeep, for the detailed snapshot of the manufacturing operations status in Japan. And, let’s sure hope and pray that things firstly, don’t get worse and secondly, return to normalcy sooner. than later.

  2. March 17, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Yea, Japan needs all of our best wishes!

  3. C. Crumley
    April 19, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    We are an international surplus semiconductor parts and components retailer, and we’re feeling the effects from this disaster all the way in Austin, Tx.

    Great post Pradeep, looking forward to more!

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