Semiconductor manufacturing requires the use of some of the most toxic, flammable, corrosive, and simply dangerous gasses and chemicals known. Semiconductor fabs are so hazardous, they are classified all by themselves in International Building Code...and they are the only facility type to have this distinction.
Google Silane, Disilane, DCS, ClF3, WF6, BCl3, etc. for some properties of the more dangerous ones.
Manufacturing requires strict design and engineering controls including many sophisticated safety systems. Cutting corners with safety systems simply don't make sense because they are well known, widespread, inexpensive, and the risk of not having them is too great (life, property, output, etc). I have been in many many fabs in US and Asia, and in my experience safety systems are one universal constant among them.
The weakness in any fab will always be people. Even with training, people make mistakes and do things with significant consequences. I would bet human error is root cause of this fire, and key prevention measure is training/controlling the people.
It looks fabs are more susceprtible to fire hazard. It has happened in India and few other places. It will interesting to know exact cause of fire at this fab. If we co-relate it to fire at other fabs, we can take preventive action in design of system. It is sad loss and hope it is resolved soon to begin production.
Not sure if the semiconductor fabs would spend money for installing so called "Safety Systems" for protection against such hazards, but at the minimum it should have had a basic fire protection system...isn't? Anyways, why the price has to go up...do the other companies cannot make up for this gap in Hynix production? Or they just might want to grab this opportunity to hike the price for DRAM which was expecting a downturn several months back?
Two things here cry out for an investigation:
I don't recall when I last heard about a fire on a fab. Safety conditions in China fans may be worth looking into
Also now that the industry is building mega fabs that handle things like "ten percent of the world's DRAM supply" an industry/govt group should explore safeguards for this class of dependency
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.