On June 15, the power went out at a Toshiba plant in Japan’s Yokkaichi province. Thirteen minutes later the power came back on, but the ramifications were just coming to light.
For Toshiba Memory, the No. 2 producer of NAND flash chips, the outage could not have come at a worse time for the company. It was accumulating wafer inventory in preparation of creating the die, and according to Reuters, Toshiba Memory is in the process of going public.
It was reported that it took 10 days to get the lines running again, and full recovery for Toshiba’s production would take, at best, 3 months.
Western Digital, who has a joint-venture partnership with Toshiba, stated in a press release on June 27, that it expected a reduction in flash wafer availability of approximately six exabytes. The company does expect the shortage to be contained in Q1 2020 of its fiscal year, which began July 2, 2019.
Because of a reported high excess inventory of over 40 exabytes across the different NAND flash manufacturers, there was not an immediate shock in the NAND flash market. Two months later; however, widespread effects of the outage are being seen.
David Nebbia, strategic account manager at Fusion Worldwide says, “The power failure has really started to impact Toshiba, as well as many of their customers. This outage could have affected as many as 100,000 wafers.”
Fusion Worldwide, a global sourcing distributor of electronic components, has started to see an increase in demand on all Toshiba NAND related products including SLC NAND Flash, Micro SD Cards, eMMC and SSDs. In addition to price increases, lead times are also extending. As a result, customers are turning to the open market for immediate support.