27 April 2021
27 April 2021, Comments Comments Off on Renesas aims to restart microcomputer production by July
Renesas aims to restart microcomputer production by July

by Bartek Radzimski

The motorhome and automotive segments are experiencing slowdowns and stoppages in production, including the Ford Transit plant in Turkey, as a result of a fire on March 19th at the Renesas Naka, Ibaraki facility in Japan which supplies virtually all the top carmakers with its state-of-the-art microchips. Renesas is the world’s largest automotive semiconductor manufacturer.

The plant, located about 1.5 hours outside of Tokyo, produces microcomputers for automobiles mainly used by Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. The fire burned an area of around 600 m² and damaged a total of 23 machines in the factory causing damage that will prevent a return to full scale production until July, according to CEO Hidetoshi Shibata’s comments at last week’s press conference in Tokyo.

The automotive industry, already suffering unprecedented shortages, is being affected significantly by this incident.  With the top two OEMs in Japan being impacted the most, despite the COVID restriction, Nikkei Asia reported that their investigation of cell phone data in the vicinity of the plant showed more than 14,000 people from various Japanese partners & organizations aided in the restoration efforts.  On April 8th, the day before the clean room, which makes up the core of the production line, went back online the number of external supporters exceeded 2,000 people. 

With most of those supporters coming from Aichi, home of Toyota, and Kanagawa, home of Nissan, it is clear that the Japanese automotive industry is putting in every effort to quickly restore the plant to its original capacity. 

This is the second time that the Japanese automotive industry has supported the recovery of this factory. The first time being after the March 2011 earthquake which cause similar slowdowns in the automotive industry.  During that incident the recovery was achieved ahead of schedule, so everyone is staying hopeful that this will be the case this time around as well.