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January 23, 2021

UMC’s 8-inch wafer fab is out of power, 50% capacity may be affected

On January 9th, according to Taiwan media reports, UMC was located in the 8A and 8B plant areas of Zhukelixing Road, Taiwan. A power failure occurred this afternoon. The uninterruptible power system has been activated and production will not resume until the power is fully restored. According to Liu Qidong, Chief Financial Officer of UMC, the 8A and 8B plants affected by the power outage account for about half of UMC’s 8-inch wafer production capacity. As the current 8-inch production capacity continues to be in short supply, the power outage may make the supply tight situation more severe.

Suddenly there was an explosion from UMC this afternoon, and heavy smoke came out of the roof. After being photographed by netizens and uploaded to the Internet, the Hsinchu City Fire Department dispatched a chemical truck to the rescue. Firefighters came to the scene and found that the plant was faulty due to the overload of the generators in the plant. Some black smoke was emitted, and the water vapor emitted white smoke. There was no fire.

According to Wang Yongzhuang, Director of the Bamboo Science Administration, according to the report of the Environmental Safety Group of the Bamboo Science Administration, UMC’s internal power equipment was damaged and the nitrogen equipment failed. The supply of the on-site backup nitrogen system increased, the evaporator power increased, and the amount of water condensation Increase the formation of smoke; the original nitrogen equipment has been activated, and the backup equipment has been closed. In addition, due to electrical equipment failure, a loud noise was made when the generator was activated, and the diesel fuel burned incompletely to emit black smoke during the initial start-up period, which caused the public to misunderstand a fire alarm. This has been clarified.

As for the public's claim that the UMC accident caused Zhuke's power outage, Wang Yongzhuang clarified that there was no major power outage in Zhuke. Today it happened that Taipower was repairing large equipment, and all Zhuke dormitory areas had power outages.
Liu Qidong confirmed that a power outage occurred in the 8AB plant area in the afternoon. It was suspected that it was caused by a component failure and there were no casualties. Mainly because the generator started to emit smoke, the plant is currently out of power and the emergency power generation system has been activated.

It is understood that the 8AB, 8C, and 8D factories affected by UMC this time have a combined 8-inch monthly production capacity of more than 130,000 pieces. Liu Qidong said that the accidental loss of a small part of the production capacity this time will make up for the lost capacity gap as much as possible. It is expected to slightly affect operations. The actual impact has yet to be counted.

In terms of 8-inch wafer production capacity, UMC, TSMC, and World Advanced are the main sources of 8-inch wafer production capacity. Among them, UMC’s production capacity accounts for more than 50% of the overall 8-inch wafer production capacity.

Since the second half of last year, the foundry capacity has been tight due to the increase in market demand. The foundry capacity is in short supply, and the order visibility reached the end of the second quarter of 2021. In addition to the leading manufacturer TSMC has indicated that it will not increase prices, including UMC, World Advanced, etc. have increased prices for urgent orders and new orders for 8-inch wafer foundry in the fourth quarter. Since the US issued the SMIC ban, the 8-inch wafer foundry capacity gap has continued to expand, South Korea’s 8-inch wafer foundry Dongbu Hi-Tech will increase the foundry price of 2021 by 10%-20%. The legal person expects UMC to be the world’s advanced , Power Semiconductor Corporation and others are expected to follow up and increase prices in the first half of 2021.

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