back to article Bad news for automakers: That fire at the Renesas chip plant was worse than expected

Japanese automotive chipmaker Renesas has said the blaze at its factory in Japan earlier this month may be worse than expected, with 17 fabrication machines affected rather than the 11 originally indicated. The news is another blow for the semiconductor outfit, which is still recovering from the March 19 fire that shut down …

  1. Russell Chapman Esq.

    This is why...

    I don't understand TSMC being asked to set up in Arizona, despite the tax advantages, water is a major issue for production.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: This is why...

      When did pork-barrel politics ever make sense?

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: This is why...

      The water will be delivered in barrels, previously containing pork.

      These plants have very-very good water recycling systems. If you need millions of litres of ultrapure water, it's easier to start with the ultra-pure + known contaminants water you have just used, rather than throw that away and start purifying the city water containing deity-knows-what.

      Another alternative for is to use seawater, desalination plants produce water with very low mineral content and it's much easier to purify. There will need to be some minor redrawing of state boundaries to give Arizona a coastline - but anything is possible in the name of 'investment'

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: This is why...

        Are you proposing they invade Mexico? California sure isn't going to let Arizona expand to the sea

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: This is why...

          I think the new state of Facebook-land will cede a bit of San Diego

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: This is why...

      Fabs use less water than most people think, and most of it is cleaned and able to be reused as grey water for irrigation.

      If you want to fix obscene water usage along the Colorado River, you don't look at Arizona fabs but California pecan farms.

  2. Old Used Programmer

    Timing is everything.

    Is there ever a *timely* fire?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Timing is everything.

      For bits of our industry yes, memory / disc / chip prices mysteriously seem to climb afterwards quickly before meandering back down at a more "leisurely" rate...

      1. David Hicklin Bronze badge

        Re: Timing is everything.

        like everything in life:

        Prices go up like a rocket

        down like a feather

        Profit !

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Timing is everything.

      Is there ever a *timely* fire?

      Depends. If you're doing a spot of economic warfare, then hitting the right bits of critical infrastructure at the right time needs timing to maximise effect.

      1. Tron Silver badge

        Re: Timing is everything.

        Such as accidentally blocking the Suez canal? Complete coincidence, I'm sure. I wonder what the next coincidence will be?

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Timing is everything.

      No matter when it happens conspiracy theorists will theorize. If it happens during a shortage like now, then it is an economic attack by dark forces. If it happens during a period of oversupply then it is deliberate to have an excuse for taking supply off the market.

  3. Duncan Macdonald

    Yet again JIT causing problems

    Just In Time manufacturing works very well till it fails very badly!!

    Any plant that relies on JIT is only one supplier delay away from loss of production. Management SHOULD (but rarely does) consider the benefit from reduced component inventories against the loss of production if a component is delayed. Any international delivery of components can be expected to have delays from time to time and therefore should have a higher stock level to handle delays. If a supplier is approaching 100% of its capacity then delays are also likely due to the supplier not having slack to take up any production problems (and again a higher local stock level is warranted).

    Icon for when JIT has supply problems ==============>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet again JIT causing problems

      For want of a diode, the SMT board was lost.

      For want of a SMT board, the electrical subassembly was lost.

      For want of an electrical subassembly, the power supply was lost.

      For want of a power supply, the jet engine was lost.

      For want of a jet engine, the fighter aircraft was lost.

      For want of a fighter, the battle was lost.

      For want of a battle, the war was lost.

      For want of a war, the country was lost.

      And all because some runt pencil pusher read a book on "lean supply chains".

    2. sbt

      Re: Yet again JIT causing problems

      It's not JIT alone; single sources and supply chains contribute. Also proprietary platforms where supplier substitution is impossible. If there were multiple routes, suppliers and substitutes, JIT wouldn't be an issue. It has delivered massive cost savings over the long term so I don't see it going anywhere.

      It's crazy that any one company should have more than 20% of a global market. More competition, please!

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge

    It's a logical consequence of industrial concentration: it makes the supply chain weak and fragile. But tell that to bean-counters and shareholders, who only think in short term views.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the plus side..

    .. maybe we can now get back to making cars that don't need weekly software patching?

    A friend of mine has a Nissan Micra that is now 21 years old. It is only now starting to show some rust, and just passed MoT without any problems. The only thing wrong with it is that the passenger seat no longer shifts, but it's petrol and thus gets the green sticker that allows it to drive into German city centres.

    Also, don't get me started on these UIs (Urinating Indicators). The only thing you do when you create an animating/urinating indicator is that you delay the perception of the second most important light signal from a vehicle ("I'm about to change direction"), which I would call a triumph of fashion over safety. Of course, there are whole generations who don't have this problem on account of not using that stick on the driving column at all, but those who do will have to use it earlier to offset the delay in invisibility. You could save yourself those chips already as far as I'm concerned.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: On the plus side..

      I really, really, REALLY do hate those fucking animated indicators. Kill ’em with fire, bury six feet underground and dump a shitload of radiactive waste on top of them. The bastard who invented them should be treated similarly.

      Long live your friend’s Micra.

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