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2011 News Releases




Tracking the status of fabs in wake of disaster

Date : 16 / 03 / 2011
Author : Avnet

The massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami that rocked Japan last week halted semiconductor production in many locations, damaging fabs and production equipment. At least a dozen fabs in northern Japan remain off line and some companies have reported that employees sustained injuries. Many of the damaged fabs may remain offline for a prolonged period as Japan continues to grapple with the damage and prevent meltdowns at damaged nuclear reactors. The semiconductor industry may be profoundly impacted by the sudden reduction and capacity and the disruption of the materials supply chain that may make many of the materials used in chip making harder to come by.

The following is the most up-to-date information available about the status of chip fabs and other facilities that have been impacted (listed alphabetically by company). Most of the information on the fabs was provided by companies that operate them. The status of several fabs and other facilities in the affected region remains unknown.

In the microelectronics industry, a semiconductor fabrication plant (commonly called a fab) is a factory where devices such as integrated circuits are manufactured.

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. As soon as the electricity comes back on, normal business operations can be resumed. There is no damage to the manufacturing equipment, according to Elpida.

Freescale Semiconductor Inc. issued a statement Link 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. Link

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.

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, 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.

Molex Inc. U.S.-based passives giant 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. reported power loss and limited physical damage to its 6-inch wafer fab in Aizu. The company said its fab in Niigata, recently acquired along with Sanyo Semiconductor also reported limited physical damage, but sustained no power loss. The Niigata facility was initially evacuated as a precaution but operations were later restored, On Semi said. Another former Sanyo fab in Gifu sustained limited damage and was taken off line at least temporarily, On Semi said. It is not known whether that fub has restored operations. Two of On Semi's back-end packaging facilities were also damaged, according to the company.

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.

Renesas Electronics Corp Five wafer fabs and two back-end packaging facilities owned by Renesas Electronics Corp. are *closed through at least Tuesday (March 15) Link. The Renesas facilities that have been closed include Renesas Northern Japan Semiconductor Inc. (Goshogawara-shi, Aomori prefecture), Renesas Yamagata Semiconductor Co. Ltd. (Tsuruoka-shi, Yamagata prefecture), Renesas' Naka fab (Hitachinaka-shi, Ibaragi prefecture) and the company's fabs in Takasaki-shi, Gunma prefecture and Kai-shi, Yamanashi prefecture. The packaging and assembly plants are Renesas High Components Inc. (Tsuruta-cho, Aomori prefecture) and Renesas Northern Japan Semiconductor Inc. (Yonezawa-shi, Yamagata prefecture).

Rohm Co. Ltd. Analog specialist 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. In 2008, Japan's Oki Electric Industry Co. Ltd. signed a definitive agreement to transfer 95 percent of the shares of its semiconductor unit, Oki Semiconductor Co. Ltd., to Rohm.

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.

Texas Instruments Inc. said its Miho and Aizu sites and its Tokyo offices were affected by the initial magnitude 8.9 earthquake, Employees at these sites were evacuated, and no injuries were reported, TI said. A fourth TI site in Hiji was not affected. TI has about 2,100 employees in Japan. No other details were given. TI has a fab in Aizu. TI recently bought the fab from Spansion Inc. The Texas Instruments Foundation announced contributions of as much as $250,000 for the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund.

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 did not say how many of its wafer fabs have been directly affected by events on Friday or are now being closed due to the power saving decision, except to say that production has been halted at its Iwate Toshiba Electronics wafer fab in Kitakami City, in the Tohoku region strongly hit by
the earthquake. Toshiba said there was 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. According to Objective Analysis, Toshiba maintains four fabs in Japan, though three of them are located in the southern region of the country.


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