Feeds

Taiwan chip makers scramble for spare parts

No tubes, no chips

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Taiwan's chip makers are working round-the-clock to repair damage from last Tuesday's earthquake, but many are now scrambling to locate vital spare parts. "I think the main problem now for all the companies in the Hsinchu science park, including TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) and UMC (United Microelectronics Corp.) is getting replacements for the broken quartz tubes in the furnaces," said Winbond Electronics assistant vice president, Hander Chang yesterday. Power and water supplies to the park were functioning normally, Mr. Chang said. Winbond is a major manufacturer of DRAM and other chips. The hard-to-find tubes hold partially-completed silicon chips, in wafer form, inside furnaces. Quartz glass is one of the few materials that can withstand the high temperatures required to fix the surface layer of chips, while not releasing impurities; it is also extremely brittle. "They're looking for something like 400 to 500 sets, and I think there's only about 200 sets in Taiwan," said Andrew Lin of Jardine Fleming Securities in Taipei. Finding all the tubes needed might take two to three weeks, he estimated. In press statements, Taiwan's largest chip makers, TSMC and UMC said that a significant proportion of chip making equipment was functioning normally, 50 per cent at TSMC, and 90 per cent at UMC. It was not clear if these figures indicated production capacity, however. Industry sources said that a small proportion of damaged equipment was causing bottlenecks at most chip makers. UMC has allocated NT$300 million to replace damaged equipment, including quartz furnace tubes. The company estimates the quake will reduce its revenue approximately 25 percent this month. "I think about 30 to 40 percent of our production capacity has been recovered," said Celia Yang of DRAM maker, Powerchip Semiconductor. "We are waiting for the most important part, the quartz tube. Actually our senior vice president has gone to Japan to inquire about the supply." Powerchip has a private power supply, Yang said, allowing the company to commence repair work earlier than most of its competitors in Hsinchu. If Powerchip is able to quickly find all the spare parts it needs, production should be back to normal at the beginning of October, she predicted. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
UK.gov pushes for SWIFT ACTION against nuisance calls, threatens £500k fines
DCMS seeks lowering of legal threshold to fight rogue firms
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
Hungary's internet tax cannot be allowed to set a precedent, says EC
More protests planned against giga-tariff for Tuesday evening
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
ISPs handbagged: BLOCK knock-off sites, rules beak
Historic trademark victory, but sunset clause applies to future blocks
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.