Austin-Based Semiconductor Manufacturing Hit Hard by ERCOT Failure.
Austin Business Journal March 5, 2021 10:06 AM EST |Technology|”What the weeks-long shutdown of Samsung, NXP semiconductor fabs mean for those companies” “Plants went dark in mid-February during winter storms” by Mike Cronin
Image of Samsung Parmer (gscarchitect.com)
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Summary of the article
“With the shutdown of huge semiconductor factories belonging to Samsung Austin Semiconductor LLC and NXP Semiconductors NV surpassing two weeks, the losses are piling up into the hundreds of millions of dollars.”
With power-restored, the chipmakers now work on recalibrating and revalidating their complex operation knowing that it could have been worse. As heavy power users, ERCOT needed to stop supplying these plants temporarily. Fortunately, by giving advance warning these plants were able to orchestrate a coordinated rather than sudden stoppage of manufacturing. A sudden stoppage would have inflicted damage to production lots and would have increased efforts to successfully restart these highly automated and continously operating production lines.
This pause in operations could have a ripple effect beyond Samsung and NXP. The temporary shutdown may affect suppliers, customers and thousands of workers. The loss of output may strain an already challenged global supply of semiconductors. “Trade publication ExtremeTech reported that Korea-based Samsung’s two fabs, both on its Parmer campus, produce about 5% of the world’s 300-millimeter wafers per month.” For NXP, Bloomberg Intelligence reported that “NXP’s two Austin facilities account for 37% of the Netherlands-based companies total production capacity.” Bringing operations back to normal operating levels may net a three week loss of production. For Samsung alone, a month of production is estimated to bring “about $500 million per month of revenue.”
It's unclear whether this disruption will impact plans for Samsung and other companies to expand operations in Austin.