Samsung had to stop production of DRAM and V-NAND memory at its fab near Hwaseong, South Korea, due to power outage earlier this week. Damage caused by disruption of production is something that is yet to be determined, but the company told local news agencies that it would take days to restore operations of the fab.

The power outage lasted for about a minute and was caused by an explosion of a power transmission cable at a local substation. According to media reports citing sources with knowledge of the matter, it will take Samsung two or three days to restore operations of the production facility, but the sources declined to reveal whether or not manufacturing equipment was broken.

It is unclear how many wafers containing DRAM and V-NAND memory were processed at the time of the outage and how many of them were damaged, but we do know that the fab complex produces both types of memory at the same time.

Power outages tend to happen on various semiconductor plants. Back in March 2018 a blackout took place at Samsung’s memory fab near Pyeongtaek, South Korea, whereas in June 2018 an outage happened at Yokkaichi Operations complex operated by Toshiba/Kioxia and Western Digital. In both cases the outages damaged production and caused massive financial losses.

Samsung is currently gearing up to release its new high-end smartphones in the first half of the 2020. Typically, the company (just like its rivals) is stockpiling DRAM and V-NAND memory ahead of major launches, so the consequences of the outage remain to be seen.

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Sources: Reuters, Yonhap

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  • chris994 - Friday, January 3, 2020 - link

    I worked at the Samsung Fab in Austin when it started up...we had power outage caused by a rattlesnake bridging transformers. Cost was horrific both in wafers lost, downtime because tools were "stuck" in a mode and engineers/techs had to figure out how to reset them, and blown electronics on the equipment.

    Seems to me it would be easier, and cheaper, to put battery backup/UPS on each tool to allow shutdown in a safe manner...allow the tool to finish a wafer (chamber tool) or rinse chemicals off of wafers (wet tools). What I do not know is the reaction time...how fast does backup have to kick in to "save" a 7 nm device?
    Reply
  • FullmetalTitan - Friday, January 3, 2020 - link

    Less than 1-2 cycles of the AC phase Reply
  • alufan - Friday, January 3, 2020 - link

    the sceptic in me sees a profit gouge coming up weird how it seems to affect the same type of product all the time whos prices have been in freefall for most of the last year Reply
  • Hul8 - Friday, January 3, 2020 - link

    We only hear about power outages in the news if they have a large impact. Most industries can just resume where they left off if they lose power for 10 minutes.

    So you have bias due to the very specific information that is filtered thru the media. (And I should note there is nothing wrong with only reporting relevant news.)
    Reply
  • Gastec - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    Didn't they say back in January that they want to increase prices of RAM and SSD's by up to 40% as people are compelled to upgrade their computers now that Windows 7 reached EOL? Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Friday, January 3, 2020 - link

    neither the article nor the comments addresses the fundamental question: how much time and power are needed to 'soft land' the plant? IOW, what are the pause points in the myriad processes where the in-process material will preserve until re-started? do none exist? Reply
  • Gastec - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    1 minute of power outage @ Samsung factory and now they all have the excuse to increase prices by 40% Reply
  • Gastec - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    Because of..."massive financial losses" Reply

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