Due to quicker repairs and good results in its test-runs, Renesas Electronics Corp. will resume mass production of wafers earlier than scheduled. It will start to ship the first completed chips to its customers in late August and it’s expected to attain pre-earthquake output levels by October.
Renesas, the world’s largest maker of automotive microcontrollers, played a major role in the parts shortage in Japan. Instead of June 15, it will now resume production of 200-millimeter wafers, the most commonly used chips in auto applications, at the Naka factory on June 1.
This is the second time that Renesas has moved its start-up date. From a target date of July, production of 300-millimeter wafers was moved to June 6. Renesas has also shifted some of the production to other plants so that it can restore pre-earthquake production levels of wafers by the end of July. However, these wafers still have to be processed into microcontrollers and this process isn’t expected to be normalized until October.
Resesas spokeswoman Kyoko Okamoto said that the company moved up production because they found out that the product’s quality was better than expected as they were doing qualification and test production.
Renesas had to close several plants, including the Naka facility, because of the damage they suffered during the March 11 earthquake. Naka was the last to reopen though. While it was shut down, some of Renesas’ automotive microcontroller production was shifted from Naka to its Tsugaru plant in northern Japan and an affiliate chip maker located in Singapore.