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Light at the end of the tunnel?

A couple of weeks ago Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) said that while it was doing all it could to increase productivity and alleviate a worldwide chip shortage, tight supplies were expected to continue well into 2022.

So, the announcement that Renesas, a major supplier of automotive semiconductors, plans to restore lost production capacity at one of its fire damaged plants by the end of May, after restarting production, is welcome news.

Renesas has restarted its 300mm chip line at its Naka plant where a fire destroyed 23 machines and put the clean room out of action.

With Naka up and running, to some extent, Renesas said that the line's capacity should be fully restored by the end of the month. However, full production at the plant is likely to take up to another 3 months, according to the company’s Chief Executive Officer Hidetoshi Shibata.

The impact of the shutdown has seen car manufacturers struggling to source enough chips and the likes of Honda and Nissan have had to cut production, just as the market was recovering from the pandemic.

So some good news at last and great to see that Renesas will also be installing new fire extinguishing equipment in the factory to deal with any similar fires in the future – let’s hope it's more effective than the equipment it'll be replacing!

Neil Tyler

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