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Renesas to re-open plant closed by quake

by on16 February 2021

Just when it was most needed

Renesas, which makes automotive semiconductors, said it will restart production at its chip plant in northeast Japan after an earthquake on Saturday cut power to the facility and shut it down.

A resumption of full output will, however, take a week, which could delay some shipments at a time when customers, particularly carmakers, are struggling with a global chip shortage.

“We will do what we can to ensure there is no disruption to supplies”, a Renesas spokeswoman said.

The 7.3 magnitude tremor off Japan’s northeast coast caused strong shaking at the Naka factory in Ibaraki prefecture, which has the company’s only cutting edge 300-millimeter fabrication line.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has warned that aftershocks from the latest quake could last for several days.

In 2011, a deadly magnitude 9 quake shut the plant for three months. After that quake, which killed 20,000 people and destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant, Renesas spent four years and more than $1.90 million reinforcing its factories with shock absorbing dampers. It also increased stockpiles off fragile glass components to minimize stoppages.

The measures have made Renesas better prepared for earthquakes, a spokeswoman said and in 2016 allowed the company to bring a plant in Kyushu back on line within a week after a major earthquake there.

Last modified on 16 February 2021
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