SAN FRANCISCO—Texas Instruments Inc. said Monday (March 14) that last week's 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan badly damaged the company's semiconductor fab in Miho, about 40 miles northwest of Tokyo.
TI said the Miho suffered would not return to full production until mid July at the earliest. The company said plans to restart production at the fab 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 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.
TI said its fab in Aizu-wakamatsu, about 150 miles north of Tokyo, was also damaged in the earthquake. Equipment at the Aizu-wakamatsu fab is being re-started and full production is estimated by mid-April, assuming a stable power supply, TI said.
The earthquake caused damage to numerous fabs, at least a dozen of which remained idle Monday. The loss of capacity and general disruption of the semiconductor supply chain could have profound impact on the global chip industry.
The quake caused damage to the Miho fab's infrastructure systems for delivering chemicals, gases, water and air, TI said. Repairs should be complete in about three weeks, TI said.
The impact of the quake on the Miho fab's production equipment is still unclear because of power outages, TI said. Northwestern Japan has been experiencing rolling blackouts since Japan was rocked by the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami Friday.
A third TI fab in Hiji, about 500 miles south of Tokyo, was undamaged and is currently running at normal capacity, TI said.
@TedSmith52: you bring up a very serious concern from the effects of earthquake damage. Granted we are in the early stages of damage assessment (while some damages are still occurring), it is crucial to know what the regulating authorities in Japan are doing about the release of toxic materials into the environment.
@Dylan McGrath: I wonder if TI has backups for the fab in question. If not, and, also on a broader scale, it would be interesting to know the effects of this earthquake on the supply chain impacts.
Dr. MP Divakar
I've been very concerned about about the release of hazardous materials from all the high-tech plants ever since I heard about the earthquake and tsunami. After the 1989 Loma Preita earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area, there were serious concerns about toxic chemical releases (and our quake was a 6.9 compared to a 9.0 plus tsunmai). Fortunately, we had recently passed hazardous materials storage ordinance and a toxic gas ordinance which prescribed stricter containment regulations, and many people here believe that the damages were not more severe than they were because of these requirement. I'm not aware that Japan has adopted the toxic gas containment requirements - so I've been searching to find information about toxic releases from these electronics plants. I have to assume that with the extensive damgages and shut downs that have been reported, there is no question that there must be serious problems containing the hazardous gases and other highly toxic materials. If anyone has any information on this, please post it. thanks.
Ted Smith, Founder, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
Coordinator, International Campaign for Responsible Technolgy
San Jose, California
Not only are the semi companies effected, but pretty well all of the ceramic device manufacturers are down.
In my opinion, the effect will be far reaching. Much more than what we saw with the tantalum crisis 10 years ago.
@silicon_smith-I think there is significant worry about the status of all of the fabs that you mention which appear closer on the map to the epicenter than Miho. Freescale had been trying to sell that fab at Sendai. I don't know anything about the status of that fab, other than what Freescale reported (that the employees were safe and the fab is off line). But I know there are people that question whether that 150-mm fab will ever reopen, given Freescale's wish to divest it and the assumption that as close as it was to the epicenter and the tsunami, the damage will be significant.
Looking at the Map, the Miho fab seems to be fronting the epicenter. However the Freescale Logic Sendai facility appears to be a lot closer along with Fujitsu and Toshiba plants up in the Iwate prefecture!
The second fab discussed in this article, TI's Aizu-wakamatsu fab, is I believe in the same general area of the On Semi 6-inch Aizu fab reported power loss and limited physical damage. As stated above, the TI Aizu-wakamatsu was damaged but they are bringing it back on line and hope to have full prodution by mid-April. But the Miho fab which was more badly damaged is in a different region than the On Semi and TI fabs in Aizu.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.