Samsung had to temporarily shut down its chip plant in Austin, Texas, in the US. Following heavy snowfall in Texas, the South Korean firm was ordered to completely shut down its fab and cease the production of chips. Apart from chip shortage, such power outages can cost millions of dollars in damages to the company.
According to the report, Texas authorities ordered shutting down fabs, which affected not only Samsung but also NXP Semiconductors and Infineon Semiconductors. A 30-minute power shutdown at Samsung’s fab in 2018 had destroyed 3% of the global supply of NAND chips. Last month, an unplanned power loss occurred at the company’s Hwaseong chip plant, and it took Samsung several days to restore power and resume chip production at full capacity.
Samsung could be looking at millions of dollars in damages due to power outage at its Texas chip plant
With the recent shutdown at Samsung’s chip plant in Texas, some products could’ve been destroyed, causing the company millions of dollars in damages. It is still unclear if Samsung was given enough time to prepare for the power outage. Some types of chips can take up to a month or more to move through several fabrication steps, and a power outage can cause the entire line to be discarded. Although fabs have power backup systems, they are usually designed for short-term power outages.
In the face of the ongoing global chip shortage, the shutdown of Samsung’s chip plant is bad news. Samsung started its fabrication plant in Austin in 1996. The company added a second fab in 2007 and then expanded it in 2017. It is not publicly known which chips it makes at the Austin plant, but DRAM, NAND, and mobile SoC could be a part of the production. The company still hasn’t been given a date when it can restart the chip production.
Samsung is currently planning to set up another semiconductor chip plant in Austin. The company is said to invest up to $17 billion for the new plant and create around 1,800 jobs. If everything goes according to the plan, the plant could start sometime in 2023, focusing on 3nm MBCFET chips.