Japan Quake & Component Shortages

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been personally affected by the devastation in Japan.  Sensible Micro has been monitoring the fab facility situations closely.  EE Times has been doing a great job of reporting any updates from the major component manufacturers.

Below is a recap from the major component manufacturers from EE Times or you can click here for the full article:

Elpida Memory Inc., Japan’s sole DRAM maker, said its 300-mm fab in Hiroshima ‘’suffered little impact because it is located in Hiroshima in the southwest of Japan, far from the northeastern regions struck by the earthquake. As of the morning of March 12 the plant (was) operating normally without any need to scrap wafers due to seismic effects.” Elpida’s Akita Elpida Memory unit, based in Akita-shi, Akita, wasn’t so lucky. That facility is responsible for chips requiring advanced packages and as its principal mass-production facility. ”The Akita Elpida plant is not in operation as of the time of this announcement due to power shut down caused by the earthquake.” On March 16, Elpida announced that Akita Elpida, a packaging and testing subsidiary, resumed its operation ”as the electrical power supply has been recovering gradually.” With more than 90 percent of packaging and testing operation being outsourced to overseas, the DRAM maker said ”the impact on Elpida’s earnings due to the shutdown of the operation at Akita Elpida is expected to be minimal.”

Update : 3.28.2011- “…currently operating at near normal levels.” – Elpida.com

Freescale Semiconductor Inc. issued a statement saying that all employees of its 150-mm wafer fab in Sendai. Though Japanese language reports over the weekend said that the Sendai fab survived the quake with no equipment damage, Freescale has not provided a timetable for when this facility might reopen. The fab, formally known as Tohoku Semiconductor Corp., is located at Izumi-ku Sendai, about 8 miles from the coast that was devastated by tsunami wave following the earthquake. Freescale put the fab up for sale in 2009. A spokesperson for Freescale said Wednesday (March 16) that the company had nothing new to report and that the Sendai fab remains idle. The spokesperson said Freescale had been in the process of transferring production from Sendai to other sites as part of the April 2009 announcement that Freescale would close and attempt to sell the Sendai fab, where it builds flash memory embedded microcontrollers, analog/digital embedded microcontrollers, pressure sensors and acceleration sensors. The spokesperson said Freescale continues to work around the clock to assess the impact of the situation and that its primary concern remains employees and their families who were impacted by the disaster.

Update: 3.27.2011 – Full restoration timeline uncertain, persistent power and communications disruptions. – Freescale.com

Fujitsu Ltd. said a number of its facilities sustained damage from the earthquake, including its Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd. fab in Iwate prefecture and its Fujitsu Integrated Microtechnology Ltd. Miyagi plant in Miyagi prefecture, as well as four facilities in Fukushima prefecture. The company said the amount of loss and effects on profits as a result of the earthquake are currently unknown and that it would promptly make an announcement if the effects are significant.

Update:3.29.2011 –Fujitsu Restarts two front-end fabs – EETimes.com

Hitachi Group said several of its buildings and production facilities suffered damage, mainly at production bases in the Ibaraki prefecture. According to a report by Taiwan-based news outlet Want ChinaTimes.com, the disaster may have tangential impact of Hitachi’s chemical production. Taiwan’s Vice Economics Minister Huang Chung-qiu said Sunday (March 13) that production of two vital raw materials—ACFs (anisotropic conductive adhesive) used in panel module driver ICs and silicon wafers needed for the manufacture of semiconductors have been affected: “A shortage of these materials could have a profound impact on midstream electronics components and downstream IT industries,” Chung-qiu said. Huang said the the primary producer of ACF is Hitachi Chemical, which accounts for more than 50 percent of the total global production. as well.

Update: 3.17.2011 – Production still disrupted – Damage to Buildings and facilities at main production bases – Hitachi.eu

U.S.-based passives giant Molex Inc. reported its employees in Japan were safe and that none of its three facilities were damaged in the massive earthquake. Molex has major operations in Shizouka, Kagoshima and Yamato City, none of which are in the northeastern part of the country that was hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami. ‘’With the situation also evolving rapidly in regard to transportation and infrastructure issues, we do not yet know what the effect will be on Molex’s business. As we work to assess how this will affect Molex, our business continuity teams are working to ensure we continue to supply customers,” said Martin Slark, vice chairman and CEO, in a statement.

On Semiconductor Corp.
Wednesday (March 16) updated the status of its production facilities in northeastern Japan, saying its fabs in Aizu and Gunma remain shut down until infrastructure services are restored. On Semi originally reported power loss and limited physical damage to its 6-inch wafer fab in Aizu, but due to infrastructure disruption the Aizu fab remains temporarily shut down, the company said Wednesday. The company said its fab in Niigata, recently acquired along with Sanyo Semiconductor, also reported limited physical damage but no power loss, and resumed production on March 12. Another former Sanyo fab in Gifu sustained limited damage and was taken off line at least temporarily, but on Wednesday the company reported that the Gifu fab’s production lines were not damaged and are up and running. On Semi’s Gunma fab, leased from Sanyo Electric, reported power loss, but limited power and communications have been restored as of Wednesday. The company said it is still assessing the impact of the earthquake to production at the Gunma fab. Two of On Semi’s back-end packaging facilities were also damaged, but resumed production March 13, according to the company. On Semi confirmed Wednesday that there were no on-site injuries suffered by any of its 6,000 employees in Japan in the disaster.

Panasonic Corp., which maintains a number of production facilities in Japan, including two logic fabs in central Japan according to Objective Analysis, issued a statement to say that some minor injuries to employees were reported by companies in its group, though the listed facilities did not include its wafer fabs in the Central Japan locations of Arai and Uozu. The company said it was suspending manufacturing operations in facilities affected by the earthquake but did not specify whether that included the wafer fabs. Production has been suspended at Panasonic’s two factories in Fukushima, which produce audio products and digital cameras, and one in Sendai producing camera lenses, the company said. Due to aftershocks, one has not been able to enter those plants, Panasonic said. The company said it is cooperating with  Tokyo Electric and Tohoku Electric Power as their top priority for other sites. Panasonic said it has received a few reports of injuries sustained by employees and has yet to confirm safety of all of its employees.

Update: 3.23.2011 – Yamagata Factory and Utsunomiya Factory of AVC Networks Company resumed production partially – Panasonic.net

Qualcomm Inc. said it does not ”foresee any significant impact in our ability to supply product to our customers due to the events in Japan. With regard to the availability of bismaleimide triazine (BT) resin, Qualcomm uses either BT-based or epoxy-based laminate materials in our chipset packages.  To account for any potential disruption in  BT supply, we believe our use of buffer stock and adjustments to our near term material mix will enable us to mitigate potential supply disruptions to our customer base.”

Five wafer fabs and two back-end packaging facilities owned by Renesas Electronics Corp. are closed through at least Tuesday (March 15). Renesas Tuesday confirmed that the earthquake caused structural damage to five of the seven facilities. Partial damage has been confirmed at the company’s Tsugaru fab in Aomori prefecture, Takasaki fab in Gunma prefecture, Kofu fab in Yamanashi prefecture and its Yonezawa back-end test and assembly facility in Yamagata prefecture. A “defect” has been identified at Renesas’ Naka fab in Ibaraki prefecture and the company is assessing the extent of the damage, Renesas said. No structural or equipment damage has been confirmed at the Renesas Tsuruoka fab in Yamagata prefecture or at the Renesas High Components Inc. back-end test and assembly facility in Tsuruta-cho, Aomori prefecture, Renesas said. Renesas is currently assessing the status of the production equipment at the Tsugaru and Naka fabs, though both remained without power at the time of the company’s last update. Partial damage has been confirmed to the equipment at the Kofu fab and the Yonezawa back-end line. As of the last update, Renesas was preparing to restart production at five of the facilities once rolling power blackouts in the region have subsided. Renesas Wednesday (March 16) confirmed that the quake caused no damage to the structure or equipment at its Renesas Eastern Japan Semiconductor back-end line in Tokyo. The company restarted production at that facility around the rolling blakouts but only on products that were in progress at the time of the earthquake.

Update: 3.29.2011 – “five of our semiconductor wafer fabs and three of our assembly and test sites were forced to suspend their productions” – am.renasas.com

Update: 4.1.2011 – Recovery in process, but “still experiencing shortage of electricity and fuel, sluggish logistics network, and other effects caused by the earthquake.” – evertiq.com

Analog specialist Rohm Co. Ltd. of Japan was also impacted. ‘’Operations at the Oki Semiconductor Miyagi facilities and Rohm Tsukuba facilities have been stopped as of 11:00 a.m., March 13th because of infrastructure supply problems. The details are under investigation,’’ according to Rohm. Regarding Oki Semiconductor Miyagi as of March 16, water and electric power have yet to be restored. But a ”substitute production system” is being formulated at the Rohm Kyoto main factory and Rohm Hamamatsu Co. Ltd. Efforts are being made to maintain a supply system that will fill customer orders for LSI chips. Regarding Rohm Tsukuba, the company said ”although the water main for factory operations is severed, a partial restart of operations is planned by the end of this week at the earliest. Rohm has devised a  ”substitute production system” at Rohm Wako Devices Co. Ltd. and Rohm Apollo Devices Co. Ltd.

Update: 3.22.2011 – Some facilities showing progress, others still suffering persistent water and power issues – Rohm.com

Flash memory vendor SanDisk Corp. said in a statement Friday that the epicenter of the quake was approximately 500 miles from Yokkaichi, the location of two fab joint ventures between SanDisk and Toshiba. Both fabs were down for a short period of time due to the earthquake , but were back up by Friday morning Pacific time, SanDisk said. There were no injuries to SanDisk employees based in Japan, SanDisk said.

Sony Corp. said operations at several of its facilities have been affected by quake, tsunami and widespread power outages. No significant injuries have been reported to employees working at any of these sites when the earthquake or tsunami occurred, Sony said. As of Monday, operations remain suspended at several sites, including Sony’s Shiroishi Semiconductor Inc. fab in Miyagi prefecture as well as two Sony Energy Devices Corp. lithium ion battery production facilities in Fukushima prefecture and a surface mounting equipment production facility in Saitama prefecture.

Update: 3.22.2011 – Sony is resuming production at some plants, but are still affecting by periodic power outages and running at reduced capacity – www.sony.net

Spansion Inc.’s final manufacturing sites are outside Japan and the impact to near term product supply ”is expected to be minimal,” according to the NOR flash firm on Tuesday (March 15). However, one of Spansion’s foundry fabs is Texas Instruments Inc.’s plant in  Aizu-wakamatsu, Japan, which was damaged by the quake. TI recently acquired that fab from Spansion. Spansion also has its own 200-mm fab in Austin, Texas. It also has a foundry deal with China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp.(SMIC).  ”Spansion is actively engaged in working with its manufacturing partners in Japan to provide assistance and understand any future changes to production as they deal with the tragedy daily. In order to ensure stability of supply to customers, Spansion has the flexibility to move manufacturing of certain products to its Austin facility or other partners as the situation evolves,” according to Spansion.


Texas Instruments Inc. initially reported that its Miho and Aizu sites and its Tokyo offices were affected by earthquake, but that employees at these sites were evacuated, and no injuries were reported. TI reported Monday (March 14) that its fab in Miho suffered substantial damage and would not return to full production until mid July at the earliest. TI said it would restart production in stages, beginning with several lines in May. The schedule could be delayed if the region’s power grid is unstable or if further complications prevent the re-start of equipment, TI said. The infrastructure systems at the Miho fab that deliver chemicals, gases, water and air were damaged, TI said, and repairs should be complete in about three weeks.  Impact to the fab’s equipment is still unclear because of power outages, TI said. The building itself suffered little damage and remains structurally sound, TI said. The Miho fab produced about 10 percent of TI’s output as measured by revenue in 2010, of which more than a third was DLP, with the remainder being analog, TI said. The company said the fab in Aizu-wakamatsu was also damaged, though equipment there is already being re-started and full production is estimated by mid April, assuming a stable power supply, the company said.  TI’s third fab in Hiji, about 500 miles south of Tokyo, was undamaged and is currently running at normal capacity, TI said.

Update: 3.29.2011 – TI is recovering,  but not expecting to be at full shipping caspability until September – www.businessweek.com

Toshiba Corp. announced that it was shutting down power consumption of businesses not providing essential services at the request of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Toshiba said Tuesday (March 15) that production remains halted at its Iwate wafer fab in Kitakami City, in the Tohoku region strongly hit by the earthquake. Toshiba said there appears to be no significant damage to the building and that the company was evaluating the status of the production equipment. Toshiba said it was uncertain when production at the facility, which produces logic ICs for consumer and industrial applications, would restart. Also Tuesday, Toshiba said that its two 300-mm NAND flash memory fabs in Yokkaichi, Mie prefecture, are operating normally. The fabs briefly halted production when the earthquake hit, but soon restarted, Toshiba said. The company said it is still examining the fabs’ production equipment for possible damage, but said that so far the effect on its Yokkaichi operations has been minimal. Toshiba also said Tuesday that its Ome factory in Tokyo, where the company makes laptop PCs, was closed Tuesday due to a planned power outage. A spokesperson for the company emphasized that most of Toshiba’s laptops are built outside of Japan.

Update: 3.31.2011 – Iwate plant (microcontrollers / large scale integration chips) to partially resume production on April 11 – online.wsj.com


*Source, EE Times, March 2011.