Memory production hit as wafer manufacturing slows

A quarter of the world's raw wafer production has been turned off as a result of a cessation of operations at Shin-Etsu's Shirakawa plant and MEMC's Utsunomiya plant, says iSuppli, writes David Manners. Because Shirakawa produces 300mm wafers, this is expected to hit memory production the hardest.

A quarter of the world's raw wafer production has been turned off as a result of  a cessation of operations at Shin-Etsu's Shirakawa  plant and MEMC's Utsunomiya plant, says iSuppli, writes David Manners.

Because Shirakawa produces 300mm wafers, this is expected to hit memory production the hardest. The plant makes 20% of the world's raw silicon wafers.

MEMC's Utsunomiya plant accounts for 5% of worldwide semiconductor wafer supply. The manufacturer said it expects that shipments from this facility will be delayed during the near term.

In other sectors affected by the earthquake, Elpida 's Yamagata assembly plant is running at 50% of  capacity.  Renesas' wafer output is running at 40% of capacity and Fujitsu's wafer output is at half capacity.

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical and Hitachi Kasei Polymer  say they will resume production within two weeks of copper-clad laminate (CCL), used in PCBs. The two companies account for 70% of total world production.

It is thought that current inventory will cover the interruption in supply so long as it doesn't last more than a fortnight.

However, with current inventory levels, IHS iSuppli believes that there likely is sufficient supply of finished PCBs and raw CCL material to keep electronics production lines running at global electronics manufacturers, as long as the interruption doesn't last significantly longer than two weeks.

This story first appeared on www.electronicsweekly.com

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