While the production status of Japanese electronic component manufacturers is of obvious importance to the electronics supply chain, the impact of the events in Japan on suppliers to those manufacturers is another critical link in the supply chain. These suppliers support component manufacturers around the globe – not just in Japan – so their status can have wide importance.
- As much as a quarter of the world's raw wafer production may be offline as a result of idled operations at Shin-Etsu’s Shirakawa plant and MEMC’s Utsunomiya plant, according to iSuppli. Notably, Shirakawa, which alone makes 20 percent of the world’s raw silicon wafers, produces 300mm wafers, which is expected to particularly threaten memory production. Company status reports do not project a date for resuming production. View update
- Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC) and Hitachi Kasei Polymer report that they will resume production within two weeks of copper-clad laminate (CCL), used in PCBs. The two companies account for 70 percent of total world production. Current inventory is expected to cover the interruption in supply for the next couple weeks. View update
- MGC, also the world’s largest producer of bismaleimide-triazine (BT) resin, has taken its BT resin production offline with no word as to when it will resume. BT resin is a material used to make substrates that connect chips used from handsets to PCBs. MGC produces about half of the world’s BT resin supply.
- Several materials used in the production of displays have been earmarked as potential weaknesses in the supply chain for display manufacturers: supply of NF3 (Nitrogen Trifluoride)gas, used in cleaning CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) chambers in the production of TFT LCD, semiconductors, and amorphous silicon thin film solar cells is reported to be tight due in part to damage to plants producing the gas in the earthquake affected region. A transparent conductor, ITO (Indium Tin Oxide), is widely used in TFT LCDs and touch screens. JX Nikko, a supplier of raw material used in ITO, is currently shut down. DIC, a Japanese supplier of organic pigments used in color filters, has indicated that its production has been affected, which could have an impact on the supply of green pigments for color filters.View update