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Renesas enhancing localization of products in India!

September 17, 2011 1 comment

Jeffrey Soh and Sunil Dhar, Renesas.

Jeffrey Soh and Sunil Dhar, Renesas.

Renesas Electronics was among the worst hit companies during the Japanese earthquake in March this year. To its credit, Renesas restarted production at its quake-hit factories by mid-June. For the record, Renesas’ Naka factory had been the worst-affected by the March 2011 earthquake. The Naka factory produces around 20 percent of MCUs and SoC solutions, and about 10 percent of analog and power devices.

According to Jeffrey Soh, director – South Asia & Pacific Business Unit, Renesas Electronics Singapore Pte. Ltd,  power shortages had been created by the earthquakes. “The Naka plant was the most affected. It has been housing 65nm and 90nm process technologies. We have had very good support from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI),” he said.

On June 1, 2011, the Naka factory started production again. “We are now in full recovery. We still have to recover a lot of backlog,” noted Soh. From the earthquake to the recovery of the Naka plant, Renesas was able to start the production of automotive processors. The massive earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami in March saw Renesas strengthen its business continuity plan (BCP)  and re-inforce the risk management system. “We have now taken up BCP. The earthquake only accelerated the BCP,” said Soh.

So, what’s the outlook like for 2012? According to Jeffrey Soh, there are double challenges. First, there is the high Yen. However, the high Yen has forced Renesas to be even more competitive. “We expect that the Japanese government will also roll out a recovery plan,” Soh, noted.

Renesas’ situation in India
Elaborating on Renesas’ India plans, Jeffrey Soh said: “We plan to grow in India. We have spent the last five years cultivating the Indian localization. Here, we are developing all India based solutions.” Out of the 30 products that have been developed in India so far, Renesas has been able to help 16 companies up until now.

“We have built a company that works on the localization of products. We are soliciting a lot of Japanese support to enhance the Indian localization of products,” he added.

According to him, besides mobile communications, healthcare and medical electronics, automotive electronics and smart energy, Renesas is also looking at developing the power electronics segment in India.

Aftermath of Japanese earthquake: Implications for global electronics industry!

April 4, 2011 Comments off

This is a commentary on industry trends from Malcolm Penn, chairman and CEO, Future Horizons.

Importance of Japan
Japan is a major producer of semiconductor components accounting for around 22 percent of global semiconductor production. The Flash memory market sector – crucially mobile phones, iPads and their derivatives, digital cameras, and portable storage devices, account for approximately 50 percent of the market, almost all of which are produced by one Japanese firm, Toshiba/Sandisk.

Several of Japan’s major semiconductor companies locate their manufacturing spots in the northeast prefectures, for example Toshiba’s 8-inch wafer fab in lwate, Renesas Electronics’ factories in Aomori, Hoddaido and Yamagata, Elpedia Memory’s backend manufacturing facility in Akita and Fujitsu’s plants in Fukushima.

The effects of the devastating earthquake, which hit Japan on Friday 11th March, are already beginning to take hold on the global electronics industry. Damaged buildings and infrastructure and halts to some semiconductor fabs will without doubt have a knock on affect upon the global semiconductor supply chain, with many of the big names, i.e., Nokia, General Motors and Apple already experiencing supply shortages.

Many manufacturers, not directly hit by the earthquake, have experienced power failures interrupting production; just a microsecond power supply glitch can result in the scrapping of weeks of in-process production, and with manufacturers no longer holding inventory it will impact IC supply availability in Q2. To what extent, still remains to be seen. The impact will be felt both in the long and short term, affecting not only the semiconductor supply chain but nearly every other industry imaginable, as it is very rare these days to find an industry which is not reliant on chips.

Component prices
As in any shortage situation, component price increases are inevitable and this has already happened in memory, although it is not yet clear how much of this is panic profiteering and how much is sustainable. But shortages are inevitable and recovery due to the long production cycle times and already tight capacity – will not happen over night.

Automakers
The automotive semiconductor market grew 37 percent in 2010, clearly leaving the problematic 2009 behind. However the recent earthquake in Japan has once again awoken auto manufacturers concerns about the industry. Even before the earthquake purchasing managers had expressed concern about supply levels; inventories were unusually low, resulting in heightened concern from purchasing executives around the world.

It is difficult to estimate the extent auto manufacturers will be affected, but following an official announcement from Japan that car production will be down 33 percent from its normal monthly production level of 750k cars per month to 500k it looks as though the 2010 market growth may be short lived.

Toyota Motor Co, the worlds largest auto manufacturer, said all 12 Japanese assembly plants would remain closed until at least 26th March and it was not sure when they would re-open. Production lost between 14-26 March would be about 140,000 units. Read more…

Disruptions to global electronics supply chain following Japan’s quake!


The IHS iSuppli held a seminar to discuss “How Big of a Threat to the Global Recovery and Key Industries Is the Disaster in Japan and the Turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa?”.

One of the participants, Dale Ford, senior VP, IHS iSuppli, presented on the “Disruptions to the electronics supply chain”, following Japan’s quake, where he pointed out that those companies close to the epicenter of the earthquake would need as much as four to six months to return to normalcy!

Ford listed equipment and building damage, infrastructure damage, electricity, water and roads, as well as workforce disruption, and safety, food and gas as the areas mainly impacted.

The time for full shipment restoration ranges from one to two months, on to four to six months for the areas impacted most, especially, equipment and building damage.

Now, it is well known that Japan plays a major role in the global electronics supply chain. Japan offers 20.8 percent of global production. It supplies 60 percent of the worldwide silicon wafers. Its TFT LCD panel capacity equals 12 percent of the world supply. It is also said to be a leader in battery technology and production.

The key component and material production facilities currently closed in Japan include:

Silicon production
a) Kamisu, Ibaraki, Shin-Etsu
b) Nishigo, Fukushima, Shin-Etsu
c) Utsunomiya, Tochigi, MEMC
d) Yonezawa, Yamagata, SUMCO

Display manufacturing
a) Hitachi Displays
b) Panasonic LCD
c) Tohoku Pioneer

Semiconductors
a) Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima
On Semiconductor (Logic)
Fujitsu (Analog, Discrete, Memory)
Texas Instruments (Analog, Optical)

b) Atsugi, Kanagawa
Mitsumi (Analog, Logic)

c) Goshogawara, Aomori
Renesas Electronics (Logic) Read more…

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


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!

Japanese quake and tsunami — too devastating to watch on TV!

March 13, 2011 Comments off

I’m shocked — seeing the devastating images on TV from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami! The images on TV from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami are just too depressing! I am really worried for some of my friends from that part of the world! Shinpai da!!

Japan's earthquake and tsunami: Courtesy: STAR News, India.

Japan's earthquake and tsunami: Courtesy: STAR News, India.

It is being reported on TV that the quake has shifted the earth off Japanese coast by 8cm (or is it inches?). There are likely to be severe aftershocks. The official Japanese death toll is currently 801, with thousands missing. There are threats of a nuclear meltdown. Over 200,000 people have so far been evacuated from the area.

The natural disaster is unprecedented, says the Japanese prime minister. The earthquake has knocked out electric power to an estimated over 6 million homes. Sendai is among the worst affected areas.  There is widespread flooding and destruction in Natori city, Miyagi prefecture. There are concerns of fuel and food shortages in Japan as well.

NHK has been showing devastating images of the tsunami that has struck Japan post the earthquakes. Staffers at Fukushima Daichi plant are still working to lower the reactor temperatures. About 9,500 are said to be mising at Minamisanriku. The world is said to be already mobilizing to help victims of Friday’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami on Japan, reports CNN.

According to IHS iSuppli, the Japanese DRAM manufacturing accounts for 10 percent of the global supply based on wafer production. The two major DRAM fabs in Japan, operated by US based-Micron and Japan’s Elpida, have not been directly affected, according to preliminary indications from IHS iSuppli contacts. Japanese companies, mainly Toshiba Corp., account for 35 percent of global NAND flash production in terms of revenue.

The more important impact may be on Japan’s production of components for LCD panels. Japan accounts for a very high share of components uses in LCD panels and LCD-based products, including glass, color filters, polarizers, cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

I have contacted the few friends I have in Japan, one, an ex-Global Sources employee, and the rest from the Japanese semiconductor/electronics industry.  Hope all of  them are safe and sound. Hope to be back with more!

PS: I just heard from my friend, Yoshio Washizu. An ex-Global Sources colleague, he lives in southern Japan, in Kyushu Island, and is not affected by the monster earthquake.

He says: “What happened in the eastern Japan is simply unreal. I have to go to Tokyo later this week and stay there until Sunday, I am not so keen on doing so, though. The earthquake badly shook Tokyo as well. And it is forecasted there is a 50 percent chance of us having the aftermath in the next five days. So I’m a little bit uncomfortable.”

Stay safe, my friend!

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