A major earthquake in Taiwan halted some Apple chip production lines

A major earthquake in Taiwan halted some Apple chip production lines
A major earthquake in Taiwan halted some Apple chip production lines
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A major earthquake in Taiwan has halted some of TSMC’s production lines, which may impact the production of Apple devices.

A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan in the early hours of the morning, causing significant damage to infrastructure and disrupting operations at several key TSMC manufacturing facilities.

Sources familiar with TSMC’s operations said the N3 plant suffered structural damage, with beams and columns breaking, leading to a complete shutdown of production. EUV machines, which are essential for sub-7nm manufacturing processes, stopped, and R&D labs suffered significant damage, such as cracked walls. Another factory in Hsinchu reported damaged piping and extensive damage to the wafers, prompting a production shutdown.

iPhone 15 Pro production is also at risk

Some of TSMC’s high-end chips, such as the 3nm A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, require continuous operation and a stable vacuum environment for several weeks. As a result, it is likely that some high-end chips already in production were destroyed, even if they were not directly damaged.

All Apple Silicon processors in Apple devices are supplied by TSMC. The immediate effects of the earthquake on TSMC’s facilities therefore raised concerns about possible delays in the supply chain of the US company’s products. The chipmaker has taken immediate measures to assess the damage and begin recovery procedures, with some production lines expected to resume operations as early as today, but the full extent of the impact on Apple’s supply chain remains uncertain.

This is not the first earthquake

TSMC has placed a strong emphasis on disaster preparedness in the past, especially after the great earthquake of 1999. Since then, the company has implemented strict seismic management measures to mitigate earthquake risks, including post-earthquake inspections, installation of dampers and shock absorbers, and integration of technologies to reduce device vibrations.

Apple is in the midst of ramping up production for its upcoming products, so a significant disruption to the supply of TSMC-made chips could potentially delay product launches or limit their availability. However, Apple is known for its robust supply chain management strategies, which will likely help mitigate the immediate effects of the earthquake on the company’s product timelines and availability.

The article is in Czech

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