RenesasJapan's Renesas Electronics Corp. is moving up the restart date for automotive microchip production at its last inactive plant. The company says it should have operations back up and running at its Naka plant the week of June 15, a couple weeks earlier than its original estimate.

Renesas is the world's largest supplier of chips for cars, and is a major kink in the parts supply line for Japanese automakers. The Naka plant was damaged in the March earthquake, and will be Renesas' last facility to resume production.

The plant will operate on a limited schedule at first, building around 3,000 200-millimeter wafers a month, down from a pre-earthquake total of almost 34,000. To compensate, the company has shifted some production burden from Naka to its other manufacturing plants. For now, Renesas is focused on getting any production restarted, but should know by mid-May when it can resume at full capacity. Read the press release after the jump.

[Source: Renesas via Automotive News | Image: Renesas Electronics Corporation]
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Renesas Electronics Announces Schedule for the Resumption of Operation at the Naka Factory

Tokyo, Japan, April 22, 2011 - Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723) today released a preliminary schedule outlining the plan to secure product supply at its Naka wafer fabrication factory in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, which has temporarily halted production as a result of the earthquake in northern Japan on March 11. The preliminary schedule includes Renesas Electronics' plans for shifting production to the company's other manufacturing sites or to outside foundries, and for the resumption of operations at the Naka factory.

Among the devices produced at the Naka factory, those designated to be produced at alternate manufacturing sites have begun at Renesas Electronics' Saijo factory in Saijo, Ehime; Renesas Northern Japan Semiconductor's Tsugaru factory in Goshogawara, Aomori; Renesas Yamagata Semiconductor's Tsuruoka factory in Tsuruoka, Yamagata; and other Renesas Electronics Group manufacturing sites. The company also has started transferring additional production to outside foundries beginning April, 2011.

On March 28, 2011, Renesas Electronics announced its target to restart part of its manufacturing at the Naka factory beginning July, 2011, and the company is working in earnest with more than 2,000 additional support workers dispatched from outside Renesas Electronics companies to help speed up the resumption of production as much as possible. As a result of these efforts, Renesas Electronics estimates it will move up the schedule for mass production (wafer input) at the 200-millimeter (mm) (8-inch) wafer fabrication line to June 15. Prior to mass production, Renesas Electronics expects it will begin its test production at the 200-mm (8-inch) wafer fabrication line on April 23.

Renesas Electronics plans to further announce a second updated schedule of the Naka factory in mid-May after the company confirms when the production capacity at both the200- and 300-mm wafer fabrication lines return to that of pre-earthquake levels with the capacity added by shifting production to other factories.

Renesas Electronics intends to add details of the impact from the earthquake to its financial reports when confirmed information is available.

(Note) While it is the company's intent to follow the above schedule to the best of its ability, the published dates may change. The schedule assumes a stable source of electrical power and no further damage from subsequent aftershocks.