Nearly a month after being paralyzed, NXP’s Texas chip plant resumes operations

Samsung, NXP, and Infineon previously shut down their Austin factories because of the heavy snowfall in Texas, which undoubtedly does double damage to current chips.

After weeks of going on, there is finally good news.

According to NXP’s latest announcement, its Austin, Texas manufacturing facility has resumed initial operations following severe winter storms and corresponding widespread rainfall. NXP noted that Texas has experienced gas, electricity and water disruptions recently. The storm and subsequent utility damage damaged NXP’s two Austin wafer fabs and caused them to shut down completely starting Feb. 15.

NXP said local teams have restored the affected facilities, and the cleanroom environment is deemed safe, and staff can also begin returning from February 27. Since then, the NXP team has been on-site to repair damage, assess affected systems and perform equipment recalibration. Personnel are currently evaluating wafer-level work-in-progress (WIP) to ensure proper product quality. To date, NXP’s two Austin wafer fabs have reportedly lost about a month of wafer production. According to related reports, regulatory announcements show that as of 2019, NXP’s Austin factory accounted for about 30% of the company’s total factory area. NXP’s two factories mainly produce microcontrollers (MCUs), microprocessors (MPUs), power management devices, RF transceivers and amplifiers, as well as various types of sensors.

Kurt Sievers, President and CEO of NXP, commented, “The weather conditions and utility disruptions that Texas experienced last month were truly unprecedented. We are pleased that our Austin facility has now resumed initial operations and that we are in Steady progress has been made on the recovery plan to return the fab to pre-storm production levels. We know that supply disruptions may impact our customers, so we are working hard to achieve full production while maintaining the integrity of these complex manufacturing processes. Quality. We will continue to provide regular updates to affected customers and are working tirelessly to minimize potential disruption.”

For now, NXP sees no impact on its previously issued revenue guidance for the first quarter of 2021. Also, while the company hasn’t provided any financial guidance for the second quarter, current expectations are for revenue of about $100 million in the second quarter.

Samsung factory can only restart in mid-April, OLED driver chips are in a hurry

Samsung’s Austin factory, which was closed due to heavy snow in Texas, has been suspended for two weeks, and there is no sign of resumption.

Related reports indicate that Samsung’s Austin fab accounts for about 5% of global 300mm wafer production per month. The facility is focused on building chips based on Samsung’s 14nm process, the node available up to 11nm iterations in the same fab, and while the company has restored power to the fab a few days ago, they are still busy getting the fab back to normal operation state.

The report further states that the products produced at Samsung’s S2 factory include hardware for Samsung’s LSI (Large Scale Integration) business, including its SSD controllers. The factory also makes chips for Tesla and Renesas. In addition, the factory also produces Qualcomm communication chips, where most of Qualcomm’s RFICs (radio frequency integrated circuits) are produced.

“While we are currently working to resume operations as quickly as possible, the process may take more time to reach normal levels when inspecting and reconfiguring facilities. Our primary focus is ensuring the safety of our employees and community on-site.” A Samsung spokeswoman Michele Glaze said earlier.

Because the factory has been slow to open, new problems have begun to emerge.

Reports have pointed to a prolonged shutdown of Samsung’s chip plant in Austin, raising the possibility that production of smartphones, a key component of smartphones including Apple’s iPhone, could be adversely affected.

The report noted that the factory produces chips used in Samsung’s flagship smartphones sold in the Americas. It also makes Display driver ICs for Apple’s organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels used in the iPhone.

The report also emphasized that Samsung usually stocks parts for a month and a half, so the shutdown of the factory will not affect their company.

However, if it takes too long to restart the factory, it could eventually affect smartphone production. People familiar with the matter told The Elec that it could take about two months for the plant to restart normal production. That means Samsung will have until mid-April to normalize its production, as it won’t affect the production of its smartphones.

Apple’s iPhone 12 is selling very well. If there is a shortage of chips, the impact is obvious.


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