On March 4, as most people around the world that watch the news know, southern Taiwan was hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4. Quakes are rather common in this region but, this time around, damages and injuries were quite limited. Still, even though the actual damage is small, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company reported that its wafer production did suffer a delay as a result of the required maintenance and safety checks that are to be made.
TSMC's main fabs that were impacted upon by the earthquake are the ones located in the Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP). These fabs are tasked with creating 12-inch wafers and, according to reports, the earthquake disrupted production by what is described as “1.5 days loss of wafer movement."
"Our initial estimate is that the earthquake caused the equivalent of 1.5 days loss of wafer movement for the company in total," TSMC said in a statement, according to Digitimes.
TSMC is not the only party affected by the recent natural events. UMC also has a 12-inch fab in the STSP, the 12A, and a company filing with the TSE revealed that operations of certain equipment were halted, impacting on production lines. The actual damages are estimated to be of less or around the same level as those suffered by TSMC, 1 to 1.5 days.
It seems, thus, that the impact on semiconductor facilities is not that significant. This, however, cannot be said about the effect on global shipments of LCD panels, which, as iSupply indicates, would be fairly large. In fact, the impacted producers supposedly account for a third of global shipments of large such displays.
"The Taiwan earthquake could have strong impact globally on large-sized LCD panel supply, depending on how quickly production is resumed at the Tainan facilities," stated Sweta Dash, senior director of LCD research at iSuppli. "After a shutdown, it typically takes 12-24 hours before production can be restarted at an LCD manufacturing fab. However, if there is damage to the equipment, the shutdown will last for a longer period of time. The results of the damage inspections by CMO and HannStar will be critical to determining whether production will be halted at their facilities for a longer period of time."