Semiconductor Fabs Facing Obstacles

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New York - The ongoing aftershocks and power outages are hampering Japan's semiconductor industry, a HIS iSuppli report stated.

The research firm said semiconductor production automatically shuts down every time a 5 on the Richter scale or greater quake takes place. The company has listed 130 production facilities potentiall impacted by the initial and on-going quakes. (see chart below)


U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazard Program

indicates at least eight earthquakes with a strength of 5 or greater took place in the past 24 hours off the coast of Sendai.

IHS said there is some panic buying of semiconductors as OEMs try and stock up in case of a long-term shut down in manufacturing.

IHS tempered its outlook. Worldwide semiconductor inventory had risen to a 2.5-year high in the months leading up to the disaster.

"Although not completely compensating for supply disruptions from Japan, these excessive inventories may provide some cushion for global semiconductor supply," the report stated.

Other semiconductor-related problems that could arise under the current conditions in Japan are the inadvertent release of dangerous chemicals used in semiconductor production, IHS said. An unexpected power outage could lead to an explosion or release of poisonous material, so IHS believes companies will suspend operations to maintain a safe environment. 


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