Japan’s chip factory back online after lightning strike • The Register

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A factory owned by Japanese semiconductor maker Renesas is back online after a lightning strike forced it to close for a week.

The facility was hit during Typhoon Aere in the early morning hours of July 5. The strike hit a power line supplying the factory, causing an instant voltage drop, halting production and partially destroying products already on the production line at the Kawashiri factory.

The company had emergency measures in place, including uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), but the drop was so severe that 90% of production equipment had to be temporarily suspended anyway. Renesas said the voltage drop lasted longer than any other incident in the past decade.

On Monday, July 11, the company announced that it had once again reached full production. Overall, the plant scrapped a week’s worth of chips after initially predicting it would lose two.

“We are continually moving forward to fill these gaps, Renesas said.

The chipmaker, which is a key supplier to automakers like Toyota and Honda, is no stranger to dealing with disasters at its factories. A fire last year severely affected 17 manufacturing machines at a 300mm wafer factory. In March, an earthquake interrupted operations at three factories, although it was quickly overcome.

Semiconductors remain relatively scarce around the world, although some research teams have claimed that the market has stabilized and others predict that the industry is on course for a course correction.

Renesas reported revenue growth of more than 70% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022. The company is expected to report its second quarter results on July 28. ®

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