© maria simonova dreamstime.com Analysis | September 10, 2013
Will the Hynix Wuxi fire impact the Embedded computer market?
We expect the September 4th fire at a Hynix semiconductor fab producing DRAMs to adversely impact suppliers of embedded products.
The perception of a possible supply disruption for DRAMs has already affected pricing. Although Hynix is downplaying the event, the likely affect will be somewhere between a temporary shortage and a larger industry impact that some investors are predicting. Suffice it to say that the potential mix between a cleanroom and “thick black smoke” would be disrupting, even if the equipment was not obviously damaged. It is possible that materials and surfaces in some parts of the facility were contaminated. If so, the effects of semiconductor or electronic circuit board contamination may take months or even years to appear and this would have two possible impacts:
- Some of the Hynix production equipment may become less reliable, which can impact supply.
- Some of the components Hynix produces at that facility may have higher failure rates, particularly over the longer time frames in which embedded computers are deployed.
- Whether either of these two possibilities will actually happen may be immaterial as embedded board and system suppliers are a cautious bunch who may choose to lock in supplies of DRAM products from alternative suppliers.