One of the largest car chipmakers catches fire at its worst – amid global semiconductor shortages
The Japanese manufacturer Renesas Electronics Corp. plays an important role in the automotive industry: it is one of the largest suppliers of semiconductors for vehicles. So, when last Friday it suffered a fire in one of its factories, the consequences spread to the entire industry. Even more so now that there has been a global shortage of chips for a few months.
The fire last Friday occurred at the Hitachinaka factory, northeast of Tokyo. According to the company, the fire occurred due to an electrical problem in a piece of machinery. This fire and the heat contaminated the clean rooms that are essential for making the chips. They stated that they will need at least a month to restart operations and be at normal production level.
According to the company, two-thirds of the affected facilities were producing auto chips. Consequently, they believe that this fire is going to have a significant impact on the auto industry. They will try to make up for the loss by producing more in the other factories of the company. At the moment they estimate losses of almost 160 million dollars.
Y more losses for automakers. This reduction in chip availability will mean higher costs to obtain the necessary semiconductors for the vehicles they are producing. Or directly null availability of components.
No chips for everyone
It is literally what is happening globally in recent months, not enough chips for everyone the products that are being produced. After the first signs of the end of the pandemic, demand for products has increased again and semiconductor manufacturers are not trying to cope. One of the most affected industries is the automobile, for the simple fact that chipmakers prioritize other products that give more profit.
But there is more industries and companies affected, for example Nvidia, the industry of mobiles and computers, Qualcomm, Lenovo or Samsung among others. Meanwhile, in Taiwan, which is the country of semiconductors, face a drought which can disrupt the production of processors.
The alternative in the medium term so that this does not happen again? Apparently build more factories and diversify your location. China is one of the nations that is betting the most on it with SMIC building a new Y ByteDance thinking to enter the market. There are also plans in the European Union.