Kioxia and Western Digital lose 6.5 exabytes of 3D NAND to contamination

midian182

Posts: 8,037   +89
Staff member
Why it matters: In what is another blow to the component industry, Kioxia (formerly Toshiba) and Western Digital report that contamination issues have been found at their joint NAND production factories. Western Digital says that up to 6.5 exabytes of flash memory, or 6.5 million terabytes, have been affected. An amount that will doubtlessly have an impact on the market.

In a statement (via Tom’s Hardware), Kioxia said that operations were halted at its Yokkaichi and Kitakami plants due to a component containing impurities involved in the production of BiCS 3D NAND flash memory, used in a range of SSDs and other products. The company added that it hoped for "early recovery to normal operation."

Western Digital’s statement is the one to reveal that 6.5-exabyte figure. It adds that the company is moving to implement necessary measures that will restore the facilities to normal operational status as quickly as possible.

The stoppage occurred in late January. Given the length of time it takes to manufacture 3D NAND flash chips, the disruption is likely to be felt for months after production restarts, whenever that might be. The likely outcome will be a shortage of NAND-based products and a rise in the price of the companies’ SSDs.

Another unanswered question is whether any of the contaminated NAND has made it out into products that have already shipped, which could lead to recalls being issued.

Although 6.5 exabytes is not a huge chunk of the 207-exabyte total capacity that was shipped in consumer and enterprise SSDs last year, the news comes at a time when the tech industry is already suffering component shortages.

The incident took place just a few weeks after Samsung confirmed it will be adjusting operations at its semiconductor manufacturing facility in Xian after the entire Chinese city was put under lockdown following a surge in Covid-19 cases. Micron, which also has manufacturing facilities in the city, said that staff and contractor reductions have impacted output levels of DRAM assembly and test operations.

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Ojref

Posts: 31   +43
I agree. With how their QA workflow functions, there's no way that much flash would have been 'contaminated' as every stage of the process has its own controls. Anything abnormal in process or operation would have been almost immediately caught.
 

StrikerRocket

Posts: 131   +96
Weird, to say the least...
In other circumstances, that would look like a price fixing scheme to me...
Question: will prices come back down to previous levels after this unfortunate episode? That's a good question.
That customers would have to bear the cost of a wrong manufacturing process/error is very disturbing to say the least... Organising a supply crunch to make prices go up? Oh no! That would be wrong!
 

Dimitrios

Posts: 1,063   +865
Used the flood & fire excuses one too many times now for it to be credible anymore and earthquakes have been in short supply just lately, so.....at least they've put some effort in coming up with an excuse to raise prices this time.

The next excuse will be, my dog ate my homework............ ooops meant paperwork.
 

Athlonite

Posts: 345   +129
Used the flood & fire excuses one too many times now for it to be credible anymore and earthquakes have been in short supply just lately, so.....at least they've put some effort in coming up with an excuse to raise prices this time.

Damn beat me to it. Well atleast they didn't try the Volcanic ash from the Tongan eruption contaminated it BS
 

umbala

Posts: 649   +1,150
So they screwed up and we the consumers get to pay for their mistake? Sounds great. God forbid they'd take the loss out of their own profits for once. Also, as others pointed out the whole thing sounds rather suspicious. Just around the time NAND prices are starting to bottom out they suddenly lose a huge batch. How convenient!