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1. Apple iPad 2 supplies 'threatened by Japan disaster'/ telegraph.co.uk

2. Detailed Status of Fabs, Equipment, Consumer Electronic Vendors in Wake of Disaster / EETimes.com

3. Letter from Japan: Update on infrastructure, fab status after earthquake / Solid State Technology (electroiq.com)

4.Japanese Earthquake Crisis Hits Electronic Suppliers/ NYTimes.com


1. Apple iPad 2 supplies 'threatened by Japan disaster'

The Japanese earthquake and tsunami are threatening supplies of iPad 2 components as Apple prepares to launch the device worldwide.

Apple iPad2 on display
The Apple iPad 2 Photo: AFP

An analysis of the new device, which is assembled in China, found that five key parts were sourced from the stricken nation, including its unique battery and compass. The iPad 2’s new, more durable screen glass is also probably supplied by a high-tech Japanese glassmaker, it’s claimed.

The Japanese economy was crippled by last Friday's earthquake and tsunami, with Tokyo's streets increasingly deserted as people flee and stay in door in fear of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear reactors. Factories across the country sent workers home and have been hit by power cuts.

It would be difficult for Apple to find an alternative supplier for several of the the iPad’s Japanese components, said IHS iSuppli.

“The iPad 2’s compass works in close coordination with the tablet’s accelerometer and gyroscope. This makes it impossible to simply replace one manufacturer’s compass with another,” said principal analyst Jérémie Bouchaud.

The iPad 2's battery cells, largely responsible for its thinness compared to the first version, are meanwhile manufactured by Apple’s Japanese arm using advanced techniques that firms outside Japan may not be able to replicate, iSuppli said.

“While some of these suppliers reported that their facilities were undamaged, delivery of components from all of these companies is likely to be impacted at least to some degree by logistical issues now plaguing most Japanese industries in the quake zone,” it added.

Also under threat are supplies of the iPad 2’s memory chips, made in Japan by Toshiba and Elpida Memory respectively. Similar technology is available from other suppliers such as Samsung, in South Korea, however.

The potential shortages come as Apple prepares to launch the upgraded device outside the United States, where the first batch of around 500,000 iPad 2s sold out in just a few days earlier this month. It is due in British shops next Friday, 25 March.




2. Japan quake: Tracking the status of fabs in wake of disaster

3/14/2011 2:30 PM EDT
[Current update: After some pockets of slightly better news for manufacturers hurt by the earthquake in Japan, there have been some less encouraging reports in the past 24 hours. Hitachi reported extensive damage to several of its manufacturing facilities, many of which remain idle. Honda reported that one of its employees, a 43-year-old R&D associate at the company's Tochigi R&D Center, was killed during the earthquake when a wall collapsed in a cafeteria.

But Japanese equity research firm Nomura Securities Co. Ltd. said Wednesday (March 16) that it appears the majority of the technology sector will not be meaningfully affected by the disruptions created by the Tohoku earthquake. However, the firm warned that there are several potential exceptions.

"By far the most serious problem is the stable supply of electricity and water," wrote Shigeki Matsumoto, an analyst with Nomura. "Electricity remains the biggest issue as a large amount of generating capacity has been taken out by the earthquake."

Nomura said the technology manufacturing sites that have been closed for inspection as a safety precaution could resume operation at any time. Those closed due to lack of water and electricity should be expected to restart in a few weeks, the firm said. Those closed as the result of direct damage from the earthquake and subsequent tsunami will likely remain idled for an estimated two to three months, Nomura said.

Matsumoto and other analysts warned that one of the biggest potential problems for the chip industry resulting from the quake may be a shortage of bismaleimide triazine (BT) resin, an epoxy resin used in the packaging of some chips. Nearly all of the world's supply of BT is produced by two Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Inc. plants that were damaged in the quake and remain idle.

Nomura said it appears that the quake will result in little impact on the memory market, as memory operations at Elpida and Toshiba have not been meaningfully disrupted.  Some analysts have previously said the quake would result in shortages and higher prices for DRAM and NAND flash memory.

Nomura warned that the quake may result in shortages of aluminium substrates for hard disk drives and silicon wafers, with Shin-Etsu Chemical and Sumco reporting interruptions to production.  Mimasu Semiconductor , which makes 300-mm ingots, is also closed with no immediate timetable for restart, Nomura said.

"The events in Japan have caused significant damage and disruption, but most of the technology supply chain appears to be pretty resilient and we expect that much of the production currently shuttered to be back on line as electricity and water are restored," Matsumoto wrote.]

[Previous update: On the manufacturing front, a few companies reported some slightly better news Wednesday (March 16),  with both Elpida and Renesas each saying that one of their back-end production facilities that had been knocked out by the earthquake was in the process of restarting. However, even those facilities that did not incur damage must work around rolling blackouts that are expected to be in effect in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures until the end of April. Little additional information has been reported about most of the wafer fabs closest to the epicenter, all of which presumably remain idle. Communications and transportation infrastructures in the area remains badly disrupted.]

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 possible meltdowns at damaged nuclear reactors. As of Tuesday (March 15), Renesas Electronics Corp. appears to be the hardest hit, with five wafer fabs and two back-end production facilities currently idled, and structural damage confirmed at five of the seven facilities. Texas Instruments Inc. also said Monday that its fab in Miho suffered substantial damage and would not return to full production until mid-July at the earliest.

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.

Japanese suppliers accounted for more than one fifth of global semiconductor production in 2010, when companies headquartered in Japan generated more than a fifth of all chip revenue, $63.3 billion, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli. On Monday the firm warned that while there are few reports of actual damage at electronic production facilities, the impact of the quake on Japan's transportation and power infrastructure will result in disruptions of supply, leading to short supply and rising prices of electronic components, including NAND flash memory, DRAM, microcontrollers, standard logic, LCD panels and LCD parts and materials. IHS also noted that Japan is the world's largest supplier of silicon used to make semiconductors, accounting for about 60 percent of the global total. 

Click on image to enlarge.
The following is the most up-to-date information available about the status of chip fabs and other facilities that have been impacted (the first two pages are chip makers, listed alphabetically by company, with subsequent pages detailing the status of equipment and materials suppliers, consumer electronics companies and automakers). 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.

Index of listed companies
 On Semiconductor
 Canon  Kyocera  Panasonic 
 Dainippon Screen  Maxim
Texas Instruments
 Elpida   Mazda 
 Renesas  Toshiba 
 Freescale   MEMC 
 Rohm  TEL
 Fujitsu   Mitsubishi 
 Hitachi   Molex 

 Honda   Nikon.  Sony   

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.''

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.

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.

[Updates] Fujitsu Semiconductor on March 17th announced that it has begun recovery efforts at its two facilities in Fukushima, including the site responsible for the production of flash memory and flash micro-controllers. However, the company said that it is unknown when it can start recovery efforts at its Iwate site.

Hitachi Group
Thursday (March 17) confirmed that its main production facilities in Ibaraki prefecture suffered damage during the earthquake, including cracks in walls, broken glass and fallen ceilings, roofs and walls. Damaged facilities include Hitachi Displays Ltd. in Chiba prefecture, as well as two automotive systems plants, an appliance factory and an information and control systems production facility, among others, Hitachi said. Power to the facilities is gradually being restored, Hitachi said. Currently Hitachi has no timetable for the recovery of utilities such as water and gas, but the company said it would work toward resuming operations as quickly as possible, while keeping the safety of employees its first priority. Hitachi said production resumed Thursday at Hitachi Appliances Inc.'s plant in Tochigi-shi, Tochigi prefecture, which produces air conditioners and refrigerators, though the company expects interruptions due to rolling blackouts. Regular operations also resumed Thursday at Hitachi's main production sites in Kanagawa prefecture, which produce IT and telecommunications equipment. Full production also resumed Thursday of dry cell batteries at Hitachi Maxell Ltd.'s plant in Ibaraki shi, Osaka, the company said. 
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 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. Huang said the the primary producer of ACF is Hitachi Chemical, which accounts for more than 50 percent of the total global production.

On Thursday (March 17), Maxim Integrated Products Inc. reported that its partner facility, Seiko Epson, incurred no structural damage from the quake, but said that production has been affected by regional power outages. The Seiko Epson, located in Sakata, Japan, provided about 15 percent of Maxim's wafer starts last quarter. Maxim said all the products it has manufactured at Seiko Epson can be made elsewhere, provided there is sufficient capacity available. The company said it has already begun shifting production to its internal fabs and other foundries.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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 damage, 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. 

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.
Semiconductor equipment, materials suppliers
Semiconductor equipment and materials suppliers, including JSR, SEH, TEL and others reported damage at various plants from the quake. SEH's silicon wafer plant was impacted. Advantest, DNS and others incurred minimal damage. As reported, the quake prompted supply chain worries in the industry.

"The quake has disrupted the supply of materials," said market research firm VLSI Research Inc., in a report. "Wafer supplier Shin-Etsu Semiconductor and SUMCO have halted production in some of their facilities due to damages and power outages. Some of these facilities are expected to stay off line as Japan grapples with the devastating aftermath of the earthquake. Wafer production in the affected region is around 20 percent of the world's total."

ATE vendor Advantest Corp. said it incurred minimal damage from the quake and that its major domestic facilities resumed operation Monday. No injuries or deaths of Advantest employees were reported and the company said it is still working to confirm the safety of all workers. Advantest said it would make every effort to minimize the impact on operations and production schedules due to the rolling blackouts the country is currently experiencing.

Test and packaging provider Amkor Technology Inc. said its facility in Kitakami, Iwate prefecture, was damaged during the earthquake, but was not hit by the subsequent tsunami. The Kitakami facility is currently closed due to power interruptions, Amkor said. Amkor stressed that Iate is the company's smallest facility in terms of units and net sales and that most of its operations are conducted outside of Japan. Amkor is working with its customers and suppliers to assess the situation and evaluate alternative sources of supply where appropriate, the company said. 

Dainippon Screen Group (DNS), a maker of photomasks and other products, said the majority of its facilities, located in the Kyoto and Shiga prefectures in southwest Japan, were undamaged and that  all procurement for production is under control. "So far shipment of our products is not affected,'' according to DNS. The company said all of its employees and their families the affected area are safe and said it is still checking for final confirmation.

Manufacturing facilities are operating as normal at JSR Corp.'s Chiba Plant, located in Ichihara City, Chiba, the company said. No physical damages or injuries to employees have been reported, JSR said. The company said its operations may be interrupted by rolling blackouts. But all production stopped at JSR's Kashima plant, located in Kamisu City, Ibaraki, the company said, when the earthquake triggered automatic interlocks, JSR said. No physical damage was observed at Kashima, but production remains halted while the company conducts physical inspections. The industrial water supply at Kashima has been interrupted and no information is available about when it will return, JSR said. One JSR employee suffered a minor injury during repair work, the company said.

On Tuesday (March 15), silicon wafer maker MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. said employees at its facility in Utsunomiya, approximately 130 miles from Sendai, were safely evacuated following the earthquake, and no injuries were reported. But operations at the facility remain suspended. As a result, MEMC expects that shipments from this facility will be delayed over the near term. MEMC has a network of 12 silicon wafer manufacturing facilities around the world. The Utsunomiya facility is one of eight that manufacture semiconductor wafers, and one of three that engages in the slicing and polishing of 300-mm wafers.The facility also engages in the slicing and polishing of a small volume of 200-mm wafers.  

Chemical and silicon wafer giant Shin-Etsu Group said manufacturing operations had restarted at its Shin-Etsu Chemical Gunma complex (Annaka and Matsuida). But Shin-Etsu said the   Gunma complex would be affected by the rolling blackouts if they were implemented by Tokyo Electric Power Co. The company said safety inspections were continuing at its other plants in Ibaraki and Fukushima prefectures. Three employees were ''slightly injured'' at Shin-Etsu Handotai’s Shirakawa plant in Ibaraki prefecture, Shin-Etsu said, but all have gone home after being treated in hospitals. [Update: On March 15, Shin-Etsu said inspections are continually being carried out at Shin-Etsu Chemical Kashima Plant (Kamisu, Ibaraki Pref.) and Shin-Etsu Handotai Shirakawa Plant (Nishigo Village, Fukushima Pref.), both of which are out of operation. Damage was found at some production equipments at the both plants until now. ''At present, it is still unclear how long it takes to restore such damaged equipment and facilities at the both plants.'']

Japanese silicon wafer maker Sumco Corp. issued a statement on March 14: ''Following the earthquake, the operations of the Yonezawa Plant (Yonezawa, Yamagata) have been suspended. None of the workers at the plant suffered injury. Currently, inspection and confirmation of the equipment, materials, and infrastructure of the Yonezawa Plant are being conducted in preparation for restarting the operations. Sumco Corporation intends to restart the operations upon completion of inspection and confirmation, while assigning top priority to safety. It should be noted that Sumco Corporation operates several plants in the Kyushu region that manufacture the same products as the Yonezawa Plant, and a system of backup supply is presently being considered.''

Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL), said the quake impacted the company's plants in the region, including facilities in Oshu, Matsushima and Sendai, all of which suspended operations in order to investigate potential damage and assess how long it may take to resume operations. TEL said it was close to being able to confirm that all of its employees are safe.

Consumer electronics firms/automakers
Consumer electronics companies also reported manufacturing interruptions and damage as a result of the earthquake, including Canon and Nikon, which made cameras, photolithography equipment and other products.

Canon Inc.
said it suspended operations at eight manufacturing facilities in the north of Japan's main island, Honshu through at least Monday. These include Canon Inc. factories in Tochigi prefecture and Ibaraki prefecture as well as other facilities maintained by other members of Canon Group companies in Ibaraki, Aomori and Fukushima prefectures. Canon reported 15 people were injured in the quake at its facilities in Utsunomiya, Tochigi prefecture. Canon indicated that it will likely be some time before the facilities in Utsunomiya and the Fukushima Canon Inc. ink-jet printer manufacturing facility can resume operations. In the event that production operations may be suspended for one month or more, Canon said it would consider making use of alternate sites that were not damaged by the earthquake as a means of continuing production. Canon said the earthquake had a slight impact on Canon facilities in the western half of Honshu, but there have been no injuries and no significant damage to buildings or equipment reported there.

Kyocera Group reported Wednesday (March 16) that the earthquake damaged six of its production facilities in various regions of northeastern Japan. Kyocera Corp.'s Fukushima Tanagura plant, which produces handsets and base stations, suffered partial structural damage and equipment damage, the company said. Partial production at Fukushima Tanagura resumed on Tuesday, the company said. Production remains suspended at two plants, Kyocera said, a Kyocera Chemical Corp. facility that produces organic materials in Fukushima prefecture and another plant that produces quartz crystal components in Higashine City, Yamagata prefecture. Full production resumed at Kyocera Chemical plants in Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures Tuesday, Kyocera said, and full production was set to resume Thursday at a third chemical plant in Moka City, Tochigi prefecture. A quartz crystal components factory near Tokyo was undamaged and production was unaffected, Kyocera said. Two optical components manufacturing facilities in western Tokyo were undamaged but halted production until Tuesday, Kyocera said. The company acknowledged that rolling blackouts in the area could further cut into production.

Nikon Corp.
said it suspended operations at five sites in Miyagi and Tochigi prefectures, including Sendai Nikon where the company makes cameras, Miyagi Nikon Precision, which manufactures devices for IC/LCD steppers and scanners and Tochigi Nikon, where the company builds interchangeable lenses and optical lenses. "We are suspending operations there and continuing to evaluate further details of the damage," Nikon said. The company said it could not provide a timetable for how soon these facilities would resume operation. Nikon said it set up an emergency headquarter for disaster control immediately after the earthquake. Nikon said some of its employees were injured in the quake, but did not provide specifics.

Automakers have also been hit hard, with a number of plant shutdowns and several companies noting that the supplier network has been "devastated."

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. suspended operations as of March 14 at five plants in Saitama, Tochigi, Shizuoka and Mie prefectures. These plants, as well as another in Kumamoto prefecture, will remain idle through March 20. From March 14 through 20, Honda will suspend regular operations at all Honda facilities in the Tochigi area, where damage was more serious, the company said. In an updated statement Wednesday (March 16), Honda said it is cooperating with electricity conservation efforts and rolling blackout measures and that it has made contact with all its Tier 1 suppliers in Japan and is collecting information from them about the state of their operations. The company also confirmed that one its employees, a 43-year-old R&D associate at the company's Tochigi R&D Center, was killed during the earthquake when a wall collapsed in a cafeteria. 

Isuzu Motor Ltd.
said it would suspend manufacturing at its two Japanese plants throughout this week, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Mazda Motor Corp. said that it would idle all four of plants in western Japan until Wednesday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said all of its manufacturing facilities are located outside the earthquake zone and that none have been affected by the Tohoku earthquake, but that some of its suppliers have reported damages. Mitsubishi said it suspended g plant operations on March 14 and 15 to prioritize safety verifications at its suppliers. The company said it currently plans to resume operations Wednesday.

Nissan Motor Co.said in a statement that it suspended operations at its Japan plants through March 13, but they reportedly did not reopen Monday. The Reuters news service reported Monday that Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the best case scenario is for the company to resume manufacturing later this week. But Reuters reported that Ghosn said resumed production would probably not last long because the company's supplier network was devastated. According to Forbes, the disaster resulted in damage at six Nissan plants and the tsunami destroyed 2,300 completed vehicles, 1,300 of which were bound for the U.S.

Suzuki Motor Corp. said it incurred no damage to personnel, headquarters or manufacturing plants located in the Shizuoka prefecture region. "We are currently gathering information about any additional effects to Suzuki’s operations, including port distribution, plant and dealership operations, as well as our vendors and suppliers located in the damaged areas," the company said in a statement.

Toyota Motor Corp. Wednesday (March 16) extended its vehicle production halt at all plants in Japan, including subsidiaries, through at least March 22. Toyota said it would resume the production of replacement parts for vehicles already on the market starting Thursday. The company said it would restart production of parts for overseas vehicle production on March 21.



3.Letter from Japan: Update on infrastructure, fab status after earthquake

Live from Japan, longtime semiconductor exec Takeshi Hattori describes the situation facing semiconductor fabs -- and why power blackouts are the real problem, not earthquake or tsunami damage. Hattori writes us from Tokyo.

March 17, 2011 -- The Japanese government announced this afternoon (March 17) that the shortage of electricity might cause an area blackout in Greater Tokyo this evening due to increasing electricity consumption, resulting from very cold weather in East Japan. This is in addition to the already scheduled blackouts.

The government has now requested Japan Rail and private railway companies to further reduce the number of train services this evening in Greater Tokyo area. If not, a greater Tokyo blackout would occur. Fujitsu and many other companies have requested their employees return home as soon as possible. The nuclear power station's situation becomes worse, and radiation levels are increasing. Water jetting by armed Tokyo police special cars was delayed for many hours because there is a possibility of a water explosion and people must escape from the location. It will start in a few hours. The car is originally designed for violent crowd control, and it is uncertain if it will work well or not in the current situation.

As of March 17:


  • Name-identified dead people: More than 5500
  • Missing people: Much more than 17000
  • Refugees: Much more than 430,000 Refugees have three fears: Earthquake + tsunami + radiation.
  • The min. temperature in Sendai will be -4°C, freezing and snowy.

After the big earthquake [8.9 on the Richter scale on March 11], we have many smaller afterquakes every day. Now (21:32 and 21.55) I felt shakes; magnitude 5.8 for both. This kind of afterquakes also causes difficulty of restart of fab operation.

Japanese people think that the safety myth has completely disappeared from Japan and no further nuclear power reactors will be able to be installed in Japan. The nuclear business of Toshiba outside Japan will also become difficult.

Japanese fab status as of March 17. Also reference SST's List of facilities impacted
The East Japan Earthquake has caused serious damage and troubles in East Japan (which includes Kanto, koshin-etsu and Tohoku's northeastern districts) and no damage in West Japan (Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima cities, and Kyushu and Shikoku islands). The fabs in West Japan are operational, including Elpida Memory in Hiroshima; Sony's Kumamoto, Kagoshima, and Nagasaki plants; Toshiba's Oita plant, and Renesas Electronics' Kumamoto and Yamaguchi plants, among many others. The report below deals with fabs in East Japan only.

From Monday, March 14 morning, so-called "scheduled blackouts" started on the Great Kanto Plane, including the Greater Tokyo area, due to a shortage of electricity resulting from the shutdown of the fatally damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Fukushima Prefecture, which is owned by the Tokyo Electric company.

In the Tohoku District in Northeastern Japan, close to the epicenter of the quake, the Tohoku Electric Company (based in Sendai) started similar scheduled blackouts due to serious damage of power stations and wire networks. Scheduled blackouts mean several hours of blackout each day but the blackout period changes every day area by area; sometimes morning, and sometimes afternoon or evening. This will make fab operations difficult in these areas (East Japan). Particularly, crystal growth and thermal oxidation and diffusion are impossible. Crystal growth takes long hours under a stable temperature. Furnace operations also require a long time to reach a stable temperature. An instant blackout would damage crystal furnace tubes.

Each firm has electricity generators designed for emergency use; capacity is very limited (not enough to operate the whole fab). Also, the generators cannot be used everyday due to fuel shortage. Japanese buildings are designed to withstand earthquake shocks, and fabs are generally located far from the ocean to avoid sodium contamination, so the main reason of shutdown is not the earthquake or tsunami but the intentional blackout. Nobody knows when the daily blackouts will come to an end, but they may continue till the end of April. The only exception of the blackout is railways (this is based on the order of the government though the electricity company did not want any exception), because social confusion occurred when all train services stopped in greater Tokyo last Friday.

Toshiba Corp.'s Yokkaichi Plant, Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, which is Japan's largest semiconductor manufacturing plant responsible for flash memory manufacturing jointly with SanDisk, has no structural damage though some pieces of equipment were shut down due to very weak shakes. Yokkaichi is located near Nagoya, in between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka, very far from the epicenter. The plant has already re-started operations. Iwate Toshiba Electronics, in Iwate Prefecture, Toshiba's wholly owned subsidiary for SoC manufacturing, has damage in buildings and infrastructure because it is located near the epicenter. (The company gave up SoC production beyond 45nm last year, with Samsung and Global Foundries as suppliers of 32nm and beyond SoCs, so Toshiba can put emphasis on the business of both flash memories and nuclear power stations.) Last fall, Bill Gates visited Toshiba Research Center in Yokohama -- not the semiconductor development division but the nuclear power engineering division -- for joint future development of nuclear power supply systems.

Renesas Electronics
Yamagata Renesas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Renesas Electronics (formerly known as NEC Yamagata, NEC's major semiconductor fab) in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture, has virtually no damage, although many pieces of equipment automatically shut down. Due to the scheduled blackout, normal operation will be difficult.

The Renesas Tusgaru Plant, in Gosho-Gawara, Aomori Prefecture, has some damage to the building; damage inside the plant is unknown due to the blackout.

At the Renesas Electronics, Hitachinaka wafer processing plant (formerly known as Hitachi's Hitachinaka Plant) there is damage to both the infrastructure and equipment. No further information is available because of the blackout.

At the Renesas Electronics, Takasaki wafer processing plant (formerly known as Hitachi's Takasaki plant), there is a small amount of damage to the building, but no damage to the equipment. They are preparing for the blackouts. Similarly, the company's Kohu wafer processing plant reports partial damage to building and equipment, and is preparing for blackouts.

Renesas assembly plant in Yamagata Prefecture reports damage to building and equipment, but should be operational under the scheduled blackouts.

Renesas headquarters plant in Ohme, Tokyo, which performs assembly, reports no damage, and has already restarted operation, but it is restricted by scheduled blackouts.

Fujitsu Semiconductor
The following plants have damage to both the building and equipment and are not operational:

Fujitsu Semiconductor's Iwate plant in Iwate prefecture;
Fujitsu Semiconductor's Aizu-Wakamatsu plant in Fukushima Prefecture;
Fujitsu integrated Microtechnology's Miyagi plant in Miyagi prefecture;
Fujitsu Semiconductor Technology's Aizu-Wakamatsu headquarters plant
in Fukushima prefecture.

Texas Instruments' Miho Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture has damage to the infrastructure. It will take some three weeks to fix, but due to scheduled blackouts, will be partially operational this May and fully operational this July. Full shipments will start this September. Miho Plant covers some 10% of all the TI product manufacturing. TI's Aizu plant in Fukushima Prefecture, formerly known as the plant for Spansion, has little damage and can be operational, but again the scheduled blackouts are preventing restart.

Seiko Epson
The Seiko Epson wafer processing plant in Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture, has damage and is not operational.

The main plant in Gunma Prefecture has started operation. The Advanced Research Center in Sendai, near the epicenter, has damage and is still under blackout.

Hitachi High-Technologies
Building and equipment were damaged in Hitachi High-Technologies' Naka Office in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture, Hitachi High-tech Manufacturing & Service Corp in Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Hitachi High-tech Control Systems Corp. in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, and the Kitanihon Service Station of Hitachi High-tech Engineering Service Corp. jn Natori, Miyagi Prefecture.

Canon's Utsunomiya Pant, in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, responsible for stepper manufacturing, has damage to the building and equipment.
It is presently not operational.

Tohoku University in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture
The campus and buildings have been closed till the end of April. No classes and no research for two months. Access to the buildings is restricted, so damage levels inside are not known.

There was no damage to Disco facilities and they are operational. They have materials and parts to be used for six months as their stock, so do not expect problems for equipment shipments.

Sumitomo Chemical
Their Chiba plant in Chiba Prefecture re-started operation. Their Misawa Plant in Aomori Prefecture is preparing restart of operation. Their Tsukuba research center in Ibaraki Prefecture has damage and is not yet operational.

Oki Semiconductor Miyagi, in Miyagi prefecture, which performas wafer processing, has no water or electricity and is not operational.

Rohm Tsukuba, in Ibaraki prefecture, which manufactures diodes and transistors (formerly LSI Logic Japan Plant) has no water supply, and is not operational. They expect to be operational in a few days.

Tokyo Electron
Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL), Tokyo-based Japan's largest semiconductor equipment supplier, has three major subsidiaries in Tohoku (northeastern) district, very near the epicenter. All of them are not operational as of March 17 evening and will not be operational for few weeks though their damage level is little.

Tokyo Electron Tohoku Ltd., in Iwate Prefecture, manufacturing thermal furnace systems: lifelines have just been available, so it is to become operational in two weeks, hopefully.

Tokyo Electron AT Ltd, in Miyagi Prefecture, manufacturing dry etching systems, and Tokyo Electron Technology Development Institute, Ltd, in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture: lifelines are not available as of today. If lifelines become available, the former will start operation within 2 to 4 weeks and the latter is to be operational in one week. Tokyo Electron AT has another plant in Nirasaki in Yamanashi prefecture. The plant has no damage, so the firm plans to increase production of etching systems there instead.

JSR's Kashima Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture is not operational because water and steam are not yet available. Its Chiba plant in Chiba prefecture has become operational.

Shin-Etsu Handotai (SHE)'s Shirakawa Plant in Fukushima prefecture, the firms' 300mm wafer manufacturing base, is not operational. Three workers were injured there. The safety check of each tool is in progress, but still many minor earthquakes have occurred, and progress is slow. Some equipment damages have been found. Inspection still continues and it is not yet clear the time of recovery and operation.

SHE's Gunma Factory in Annaka, Gunma Prefecture is ready after equipment inspection, but due to the scheduled daily blackouts, it will be difficult to start silicon crystal growth.

SUMCO's Yonezawa plant in Yonezawa prefecture, manufacturing 300mm bulk and SOI wafers: operation has been suspended.

MEMC's 300mm wafercutting and polishing plant in Utsunomiya in Tochigi prefecture: operation has been suspended.

Sony Shiroishi Semiconductor, near Sendai, in Miyagi prefecture, Sony's wholly owned semiconductor laser manufacturing subsidiary, has damage and stopped operation.

Elpida Memory
Elpida has a DRAM assembly subsidiary in Akita Prefecture, in Northeastern district, named Akita Elpida Memory. It has become operational.

Takeshi Hattori, president of Hattori Consulting International, has more than 36 years experience in the semiconductor field. He spent over three decades at Sony, including work in silicon materials (clean surface prep, thermal oxidation, contamination/defect control). He was head of Sony's Ultra Clean Technology Research Lab involved in development of single-wafer spin cleaning and surface preparation technologies, non-aqueous and supercritical-fluid cleaning, and yield enhancement strategies. He is a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society, founding member of the International Symposium on Semiconductor Manufacturing, member of SEMI's Japan regional standards committee and SEMI/SEAJ Forum, and The Confab advisory board, among many others.


Also read: 
Japan earthquake's impact on semiconductor community
Japan earthquake hampering package substrate supplies
Japan earthquake raises questions of solar supply and replacing nuclear power 
MEMS producers in Japan: Facility updates after earthquake, tsunami





4. Japanese Earthquake Crisis Hits Electronic Suppliers

Published: March 14, 2011

Last week, chips that store eight gigabytes of data — for digital cameras, smartphones and other devices — cost as little as $7.30 each on the spot market, where many manufacturers buy components. On Monday, the cost was around $10.

That jump in price illustrates how the disaster in Japan has immediately affected the supply of all sorts of components used in myriad consumer electronics and other products. The earthquake and tsunami there have damaged factories and disrupted the country’s power and transportation infrastructure.

Factory closures are already creating problems in the tech industry. Toshiba, which produces roughly a third of the world’s chips used to store data in cameras, smartphones and tablet computers, said on Monday that it had closed some factories and that its production would be affected.

The daily spot market for those chips rose 10 to 27 percent, said Jim Handy, founder of Objective Analysis, a semiconductor manufacturing research firm in Silicon Valley, who has been tracking these prices.

Analysts said small companies in Japan, China and other Asian countries would bear the brunt of those price increases, as larger companies tend to have long-term contracts for parts. But even giants like Apple could be affected.

Over the last year, Apple has had a difficult time meeting demand for the iPad and the iPhone, and the new iPad 2, which went on sale Friday, sold out quickly.

“Toshiba, which is one of their suppliers, has been impacted, and I think it will create more of a challenge in meeting their demand,” said Dale Ford, vice president for market intelligence at IHS iSuppli, a research firm. Apple declined to comment.

At the same time, nearly all automakers, even those with no plants in Japan, could be forced to halt production of some models in the weeks ahead if Japanese suppliers are unable to quickly resume making electronics or other parts used in the vehicles, analysts said Monday.

Toyota and other Japanese automakers said that they hoped to restart production at most of their domestic plants this week, but that they were still evaluating how much the disaster had damaged some factories and nearby roads, railroads and ports.

If shipments cannot be made, dealerships in the United States could start to run short of some small cars, hybrids and luxury models.

“In a couple of weeks we could start feeling the effects,” said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with the research firm IHS Automotive in Lexington, Mass. “It could be something that’s really pretty minor, but if it’s specific to that vehicle you’re not going to be able to produce that vehicle.”

More immediately, Toyota will miss out on building 40,000 vehicles by keeping all of its plants in Japan closed through Wednesday. Plants that build the subcompact Yaris and two small cars for the company’s Scion brand are expected to be closed longer because they were closer to the epicenter.

The overall impact of the unfolding crisis on the consumer electronics supply chain remained hard to assess, as companies gave few details about damage. The extent and duration of disruptions in electric power and transportation remained impossible to predict, as well.

But Japan is a major global supplier of chips, flat-panel displays and other components used in devices like computers, tablets, digital cameras, Blu-ray players and televisions, as well as a major exporter of consumer electronics. Companies big and small are beginning to feel the pain.

On Monday, Sony, Canon and Fujitsu — which, like Toshiba, supply parts as well as make finished products — also said they had shut some factories.

Canon said its plant in Utsunomiya suffered extensive damage, including collapsed ceilings, electrical, gas and water damage, and breakdowns in water, electrical and gas supply, that will take some time to restore. The plant makes a variety of specialized lenses used in camcorders, office machines and other devices.

Makers of chips and flat-panel displays may be among those most immediately affected, said Richard Doherty, president of the Envisioneering Group, a technology research and consulting company in Seaford, N.Y., in part because the manufacturing of those products depends on lengthy, multistep processes that cannot be interrupted.

“It is hard to have an interruption of power supply in the middle of the manufacturing process,” he said.

While high-tech goods rely on a complex network of suppliers that help keep inventories of parts low, most manufacturers whose factories are still operating have enough parts to continue operating for some time.

“There usually are buffers of several weeks,” Mr. Doherty said. “Unless there are rolling blackouts that last several weeks, the impact will be limited.”

About 1.4 million, or 15 percent, of the vehicles sold in the United States last year were assembled in Japan, and nearly all cars and trucks contain some parts manufactured there, including computer chips and navigation systems. Hyundai and BMW are the only major carmakers that do not use Japanese-made electronics, according to the research firm IHS.

The disaster occurred during the peak season for automotive production in Japan. Carmakers were scheduled to build about a million vehicles this month, and Ms. Lindland of IHS estimated that the stoppages could cut output by up to 250,000.

Toyota officials on Monday were unsure how much damage had occurred at one plant, operated in a joint venture with Panasonic, that builds battery packs for the Toyota Prius hybrid car, although the plant that builds the Prius itself was not hit. Some American dealers have said they were running low on the Prius, whose sales have been surging as gasoline prices rise toward $4 a gallon. But a Toyota spokesman, Javier Moreno, said supplies would be sufficient unless shipments of the Prius were disrupted longer than expected.

“The pipeline was full when this happened,” Mr. Moreno said.

He added that it was too soon to know whether Toyota might have trouble obtaining parts for models built in North America, including the top-selling Camry and Corolla sedans, but “we’re hoping that the impact will be minimal.” Still, he said the company had canceled all overtime shifts indefinitely.

Toyota is especially vulnerable, analysts said, because it builds more of its vehicles in Japan — 3.3 million last year, or 43 percent of its global output — than its rivals do. Its Lexus brand of luxury cars gets all but one model exclusively from Japan.

In contrast, analysts said Honda should have fewer problems satisfying demand in the United States. Honda said it was keeping most of its Japanese plants closed through this Sunday. They build the Fit subcompact, all Honda hybrid cars and several Acura models, among others.

Nissan said that six of its plants had been damaged but that they would reopen either Wednesday or Friday. In a statement Monday, it said supplies of most nameplates were sufficient but warned that “some Infiniti models and Nissan GTR and 370Z may experience delays in shipment.”

Mazda and Mitsubishi said they had suspended production in Japan through at least Wednesday, while Subaru and Suzuki intend to reopen plants Thursday. But several of the companies said they were concerned about acquiring all the parts they need.

General Motors, which does not build vehicles in Japan, issued a statement saying that it buys components from Japan and was still determining how its production might be affected.