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03.22.2021

On March 19, a fire broke out at Renesas’s Naka factory in Japan. The fire was contained to the first floor of the company’s N3 building, which produces 300mm (12 inch) wafers. The company estimated that it would take at least a month to resume operations; however, analysts predicted it would take longer until production can make up for lost or damaged inventory. 

An estimated two-thirds of the wafers produced in that building were used in automobile production, further exacerbating the industry’s production woes and creating a bigger mess in the ongoing wafer shortage.  To try to curb the effects of the fire, Renesas’ CEO, Hidetoshi Shibata, announced that the company would research whether some of the lost production could be shifted to other plants.

The affected Renesas families include MCUs R5F, DS7, R5S, R7S7 for automotive and non-automotive applications, as well as power management and MOSFET parts. 

On March 29, it was reported that the fire was more extensive than originally thought. Though Renesas initially stated that 11 machines, including plating machines used for wiring, were damaged, it has been confirmed to be 23. As a result, the company is working to secure alternative equipment in addition to shifting production. As of March 31, 2021, Renesas has projected it will take 100 days to recover the clean room and resume operations. 

A month ago, the same factory had to stop operations for two days because of a blackout caused by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake on the coast of Japan. Production slowly resumed over a week.   

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