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IHS iSuppli: Japan Quake Causes Additional Shortages

New York – The research
firm IHS iSuppli is now reporting that the disasters in Japan have led to a 25
percent reduction in silicon wafers.

Silicon wafers are the
primary building block of a semiconductor.

Other production halts
have taken place in silicon wafers and semiconductors.

“Manufacturing operations
have stopped at Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd.’s Shirakawa facility. MEMC
Electronic Materials Inc. also stopped manufacturing at its Utsunomiya plant.
Together, these two facilities account for 25 percent of the global supply of silicon
wafer used to make semiconductors,” the report stated.

The Shirakawa facility
makes 300mm wafers used in semiconductors with high transistor counts such as
flash memory and DRAM, IHS iSuppli said.

Shin-Etsu’s Shirakawa
plant makes 20 percent of the global silicon wafer supply. It has suffered
earthquake damage to its facilities and equipment. The company said it will try
and shift production to another plant, but it could not give a time frame for
when this might go online.

MEMC’s Utsonomiya plant,
maker of 5 percent of the global supply of wafers, has suspended operations and
been evacuated. The companies expects production delays in the near term, but
has not given any further information.

In related news
Mitsubishi Gas Chemical and Hitachi Kasei Polymer have stopped production in
their factories that produce the raw material for printed circuit boards,
effectively eliminating 70 percent of the world’s supply. Each said production
should restart within two weeks.

IHS iSuppli estimates
there is a sufficient supply of printed circuit board raw material on hand to
keep production of the finished products moving, unless production is halted
for a longer than expected time.

According to IHS iSuppli
Elpida Memory’s factory in Yamagata has been damaged and production is being
impacted by a lack of electricity.

Fujitsu wafer production
is being slowed due to damage and shortages of electricity, gas and wafers
putting the company three to four weeks behind its production schedule.