July 6, 2017 // 10:39 a.m.
Memory specialist Micron has denied rumours of a major incident at its Fab 2 facility, claiming that reports of staff evacuations are false and that it is not expecting any 'material impact to [its] business.'
Reports began circulating in the press this week that Micron's Taiwanese Fab 2 semiconductor production facility, acquired by the company when it picked up Inotera late last year, has experienced a malfunction in a nitrogen gas system which contaminated its wafer supply. According to the source of these rumours, industry analyst TrendForce, the incident could see dynamic RAM (DRAM) supplies constrained and already-high prices rocket as the facility represents an impressive 5.5 percent of global DRAM supply.
'DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, estimates that Inotera has suffered a production capacity loss of around 60K wafer starts per month, out of the supplier's previous total of 125K wafer starts per month,' the unnamed TrendForce analyst claimed. 'This conservative estimate also amounts to a 5.5% cut in the global DRAM production capacity for this July. The temporary shutdown of Fab 2 is expected to aggravate the current undersupply situation in the DRAM market and cause further price increases for memory products. Inotera’s product mix includes PC, server and mobile DRAM products. Hence, a production disruption from its end coupled with the already strained supply situation will have an impact on all segments of the DRAM market.
'Inotera is also mainly responsible for manufacturing Micron’s LPDDR4 products that go into Apple’s supply chain for iPhone. The temporary shutdown of Fab-2 could have an impact on shipments of the upcoming new iPhone devices as well. Both DRAM buyers and suppliers are still weighing the extent of damages caused by the contamination event at Fab-2. The negotiation pertaining to the third-quarter contracts are likely to be affected by some uncertainty over whether the facility can quickly resume operation. Some suppliers are already hinting that price hikes are on the horizon. While the event’s long-term effect on DRAM market remains to be seen, DRAMeXchange expects tighter squeeze on the supply and strengthening of the current price upswing.'
According to Micron, though, TrendForce's claims are badly overwrought. 'Micron hereby clarifies that there was no nitrogen leaking incident nor evacuating of personnel,' the company claimed in a response following mainstream press republication of TrendForce's report. 'There was indeed a minor facility event, but operations are recovering speedily without material impact to the business.'