Latest Update: TSMC said EUV equipment all safe and sound

Monica Chen, Hsinchu; Jingyue Hsiao, DIGITIMES Asia 0


A major earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.4, struck Taiwan at 7:58 am on April 3 local time. Within 10 hours of the April 3 earthquake, the recovery rate of TSMC fab equipment exceeded 70%, and the recovery rate of newly built fabs (e.g., Fab 18) exceeded 80%.

This earthquake was the strongest in the past 25 years. The maximum magnitude of the quake was 5 in the Hsinchu, Lungtan, and Chunan Science Parks, and 4 in the Taichung and Tainan Science Parks.

TSMC emphasized that it has extensive experience and capabilities in earthquake response and disaster prevention, and conducts regular safety drills to ensure preparedness.

Although a few pieces of equipment were damaged in some areas of the fab, affecting some production lines, the most important machines, including all extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography equipment, were not damaged.

TSMC is in close communication with its customers and will continue to monitor the impact of the damage and communicate directly with them in a timely manner.

Although manufacturing processes below 7nm EUV are expensive, TSMC has comprehensively strengthened earthquake protection since 1999. Analysts said the loss brought by the earthquake on April 3, after deducting the insurance compensations, is estimated at less than NT$2 billion, or around US$62 million.

A source familiar with TSMC told DIGITIMES Asia that TSMC's N3 fab in Tainan "saw its beams and columns broken, and the production lines have been halted. EUV machines have all stopped, while its R&D lab also saw its wall cracked." The same source also said that a TSMC fab in Hsinchu is also seeing pipelines broken. The production line has been halted due to extensive damaged wafers. The good news is, that some production lines will resume operation in six hours.

TSMC spokesperson could not be reached to verify the rumor.

Previously, TSMC announced that following the 921 earthquake, they've implemented seismic management measures surpassing regulations. These include conducting thorough post-earthquake inspections of all facilities and structures, installing dampers or shock absorbers to lessen earthquake impacts on buildings, and actively integrating new equipment vibration reduction and isolation technologies to mitigate operational risks associated with earthquakes.