TOKYO: Sony Corp has suspended the production of image sensors for Apple Inc and other makers of smartphones so that it can assess the damage caused by Japan earthquake which has hit south of the country.
Sony has reported that its Kumamoto plant, based in the southern island, that manufactures the image sensor will remain closed after the Thursday and Saturday tremors.
The PlayStation maker has also partially suspended operations at its image sensor firms in Nagasaki and Kyushu. It did not provide the timeline as to when full operations will resume.
Sony controls about 40% of the market for complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors, a type of integrated circuit that converts light into electrical signals. The sensors are used in Apple’s iPhones.
“We are still checking for potential damage to the plants, which usually operate on a 24-hour basis,” a Sony spokesman told Reuters on Saturday. “We do not yet know how the closures will impact supply to customers like Apple.”
Kyushu has been increasing as a hub for manufacturing in recent years. Other electronics based here have also ha to suspend production for the time being.
When a tsunami an earthquake hit northern Japan in March 2011, the supply chain in Japan was temporarily knocked out. This made most companies to adopt the “Just in Time” production philosophy so as to evade the repeat of such a costly disruption.
Major automakers were equally impacted by the Saturday earthquake. Most of them were still investigating the Thursday calamity.
Most of these affected are Honda Motor Co Ltd, Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co Ltd.
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