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Taiwan Earthquake 12-19-09 to Impact TFT-LCD Supply


This weekend's 6.4-magnitude earthquake was one of the most intense to affect Taiwan in three years.  Although it was centered offshore to the East, this high-magnitude earthquake shook the capital of Taipei for over three minutes according to various news sources such as here, here, and here.

Beyond the human safety and impact concerns, also of importance for the semiconductor and electronics industry, is the impact that the earthquake and aftershocks will have on the local manufacturing.  With supply already short for netbook/laptop panels, as MarketWatch Commentary posted here last week, the impact of this earthquake looks to be significant for the TFT-LCD production lines and will likely result in pricing increases due to an already forecasted tight 1Q10 supply.  The best details available thus far, are found in this very informative article from DisplaySearch:

"In the middle and southern parts of Taiwan-where several AUO, CMO and HannStar fabs are located-the earthquake interrupted production for one day. Many work-in-process panels fell and broke, so they will be scrapped. The transportation systems and cassettes in clean rooms were shaken violently, and some were damaged, which will affect the throughput of the production lines. Although there is no known damage to the major in-line equipment, several production lines had to be stopped and the calibration checked.

As engineers complete their assessments, fabs resumed production gradually starting Monday (December 21), and are expected to recover completely within a few days. We estimate that roughly 1.0-1.2% of TFT LCD supply will be lost, and Taiwan accounts for 38-40% of global capacity."

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Tuesday, 22 December 2009 00:00 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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