Power outage at Samsung’s Texas chip plant caused $270 million damage

Samsung Foundry’s chip plant in Austin, Texas, suffered a huge loss due to a power outage in February. The company had to stop the production of chips for over a month, which isn’t good news, especially considering the ongoing global chip shortage. The South Korean firm had to destroy some of its products which were being fabricated when the power outage happened, causing damage of millions of dollars.

During its Q1 2021 earnings call, the company revealed that it faced damages to the tune of KRW 300 billion (around $270 million) to KRW 400 billion (around $360 million). A major snowstorm and cold wave in Texas caused statewide power and water outages, and Samsung and other companies in the state had to stop their chip production facilities. It was the first time in Samsung’s history that it had to close the chip production for a month.

Samsung’s Austin chip plant, also known as Line S2, makes DDI (Display Driver Integrated), image sensors, RFIC (Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit), SSD controllers, and other microprocessors. The company uses 14nm to 65nm processes to make these chips. To prevent power outages like this from happening in the future, Samsung is in talks with state authorities to find a solution. The plant achieved 90% of its production capacity by the end of March, and it is now operating at full capacity.

Han Seung-hoon, SVP at Samsung Foundry, said, “There was a wafer production disruption due to the stopping and recovering of the fab. About 71,000 wafers were affected, and this corresponds to around 300 to 400 billion won in damage. The power and water outage were preannounced, so we did have time to prepare. I think we were able to bring the operation back to normalization earlier than we expected.

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