HSINCHU, Taiwan -- With full power restored at its wafer fabs here, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said it has begun shipping new products to foundry customers, and by Thursday, TSMC expects its plants be running at 80% of their normal production capacity.
TSMC and other chip-making operations in Taiwan appear to be making rapid progress in resuming production following last week's powerful earthquake. Most of the island's wafer fabs and chip plants were shut down because of power outages and the need to inspect facilities for damage.
In an update on the recovery efforts today, TSMC officials said the quake's impact on revenues for September and the fourth quarter of 1999 may total NT$2.8 billion ($88.2 million). That estimate is significantly higher than initial analyst estimates of NT$630 million ($19.8 million), immediately after the quake last week. Those initial analyst estimates were based on the assumption that production would be restored in just three days last week.
TSMC said about 28,000 wafers were scrapped as a result of the earthquake. The company's insurance coverage will help to ease the loss, and TSMC estimated that the impact on company profits is not expected to exceed NT$1 billion ($31.5 million).
As of 11 .m. California time today, TSMC officials said 90% of the company's wafer-processing equipment had been released for production.
"We have made significant new shipments as a result of Monday's production moves and expect continuously increasing shipments from this point on," said Ron Norris, senior vice president of worldwide marketing and sales for TSMC. The silicon foundry giant said teams of fab equipment suppliers remained on the scene to assist TSMC workers inspect and repair production tools.
TSMC reported that its mask shop and test areas are now operating at 100% of their capability, and most of the photomasks broken in the quake have been replaced.
The company also attempted to correct weekend press reports that quoted TSMC president F.C. Tseng as saying it would take longer to restore operations and support foundry customers. TSMC said that assessment was based on a "worst case scenario," should full electrical power not be restored quickly. But power has now been restored to 100% of its normal allocation in the Hsinchu Science Park, according to TSMC.