Renesas Electronics Corp. will return to pre-earthquake output levels in September, a month earlier than expected, according to the No. 1 automotive microcontrollers manufacturer. The company had become a key bottleneck in the components shortage in Japan.
The move represents another step towards the recovery of the vehicle industry in Japan that continues to struggle to fix the supply chain. Due to this earthquake, the company was forced to close several plants, including its Naka facility, which has been brought back to mass production in June.
To recover the lost volume, the company shifted some microcontroller production to its Tsugaru plant in Japan and to an affiliate chip manufacturer in Singapore from Naka, Japan.
Last June 1, production of 200-millimeter wafers, the chips most often used in vehicle applications, was resumed. On the other hand, production of 300-millimeter wafers returned to the plant on June 6. Combined with production shifted to other facilities, the company had aimed to restore pre-earthquake production levels of wafers by the end of July.
However, those wafers must still be processed into microcontrollers, which means that the process will not return to normal levels before September, Renesas disclosed.
More than 100 microcontrollers, or MCUs, can go into a vehicle or light truck. These chips are vital to everything from engine control units, electronic parking brakes, and pre-crash seat belts to stability control, onboard entertainment systems and power steering.