The vital importance of the power grid in the supply chain

March 28, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
The vital importance of the power grid in the supply chain
The supply of power is even more critical to the electronics supply chain as recent events have shown

Power is of course critical to the operation of electronic systems. Power supplies, online and uninterruptible, as well as batteries and energy harvesting have been an increasing focus for designers from the data centre to the Internet of Things. But recent events have clearly demonstrated quite how critical the power gird is to operation of the world’s supply chains.

The automotive industry, still reeling from the shortages caused by recent factory closures, has been hit yet again. As more systems rely on electronics to operate, so the robustness of the electricity grid is even more critical.

NXP's wafer fabs in Austin, Texas has only just come back online after power was diverted to residential homes during winter storms. The Samsung’s fab in the city is still down and Infineon’s is up and running but will take another month to reach full production. While the fabs had the opportunity to pause production, the storm and subsequent loss of utilities damaged NXP’s two wafer manufacturing facilities in Austin and caused a full shutdown for over a month. NXP is currently evaluating the wafer-level work in process (WIP) to ensure appropriate product quality, but around a month of wafer production has been lost to date from NXP’s two Austin-based wafer manufacturing facilities says the company, costing around $100m.

“The weather conditions and utility disruptions the state of Texas experienced last month were truly unprecedented. We are pleased that our Austin facilities have now resumed initial operations and we are making solid progress on our recovery plan designed to return the wafer fabs to pre-storm production levels. We understand the supply disruptions may impact our customers and we are working to ramp to full production while maintaining quality for these complex manufacturing processes,” said Kurt Sievers, NXP’s President and CEO.

“We are pleased that the fab in Austin is up and running after the required shutdown,”

NXP's fab in Austin is only just back online and will take a month to recover

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