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© joegough dreamstime.com Electronics Production | February 08, 2016

Taiwanese earthquake halts production

An earthquake hit Southern Taiwan on Saturday February 6. At least 37 people died in the magnitude 6.4 quake, more than 500 are reported injured.
The quake also hit several semiconductor, optoelectronic and photovoltaic companies located in the Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP). Several of the companies had their production likes shut down – and as the lines were in mid-production, the companies will have to clear the semi-finished products from the lines before continuing with production, according to a report in DigiTimes.

While the companies that have insurance for the machinery and in that way are covered for the physical losses of the earthquake, the bigger issue is how is all will affect the companies production schedules.

One of the affected companies were LCD panel maker Innolux. The company evacuated its plants in Tainan, Taiwan as soon as the quake hit. The company's production system automatically shut down all equipment. However, there was a small fire in one of the company's engine rooms. Production is gradually going back to normal, the report continues.

Semiconductor foundries Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics (UMC) were also affected by the earthquake. The companies production lines were automatically shut down by the quake and thus affecting wafer production.

In an official statement TSMC said that the quake; “did not cause any serious personnel injuries nor any structural or facility damage to the Company’s Fab 14 and Fab 6 manufacturing sites in the Tainan Science Park. The earthquake also did not cause equipment to shift position.”

The company goes on saying that the it will continue to asses the damage of wafers in progress. However, the company estimate is that more than 95 percent of the tools can be fully restored to normal in two to three days. TSMC will aslo deploy personnel from Hsinchu and Taichung sites to support recovery in Tainan.

UMC said in an official statement that no one were injured at its facilities. The automatic safety measures at Fab 12A in Tainan, Taiwan did trigger and an automatic equipment shutdown that affected work-in-progress wafers. The company went on saying that normal operations are resuming and wafer shipments will not be affected.

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