Fire At Kioxia & Western Digital NAND Fab – Impact on Supply to be Minimal

Kioxia has reportedly informed its customers that a production tool at one of its fabs caught fire early on Tuesday. The fire was promptly extinguished and no casualties were reported, and the impact on the joint venture’s NAND supply is expected to be minimal, according to production partner Western Digital.

The fire occurred in the cleanroom of Fab 6 (pictured), which is a part of the Yokkaichi Operations fab complex owned by Kioxia and Western Digital, according to Wells Fargo senior analyst Aaron Rakers (cited by Blocks & Files). The fire started at approximately 6:10 AM JST on January 7, 2020, and one manufacturing tool was partially damaged, according to a document allegedly sent by Kioxia to one of its customers (and published by TechNews). The precise cause of fire is unknown thus far. Operations were partially interrupted for a brief period, but now are largely back, and the joint venture is working to bring the fab back to normal operational status.

Fab 6 is the latest and most advanced fab in Yokkaichi Operations that kicked off production in September, 2018. At present, the fab produces 64-layer and 96-layer 3D NAND memory. Adjacent Fab 2 and Fab 5 are also used to make 3D NAND flash, so Kioxia and Western Digital continue to make memory at other facilities.

A significant disruption of production at Fab 6 may cause some turmoil on the market, but Western Digital expects impact on supply to be minimal.

Here is what the company had to say:

“On Monday, January 6 (morning, January 7 local time), a small fire occurred at our joint venture facility in Yokkaichi, Japan. Local firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, and we are thankful for their rapid response. No employees were injured, and we are working closely with our JV partner to promptly bring the fab back to normal operational status. We expect any supply impact to be minimal, and will provide updates as appropriate.”

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Sources: Western Digital, TechNews, Blocks & Files