Kioxia suffers flash fab fire – foundry makes 3-4% of world’s NAND memory

A fire at a Kioxia flash foundry in Japan on January 7 could affect output for the company and Western Digital, Kioxia’s NAND chip partner.

According to a Google translated report in TechNews, a Chinese language website based in Taiwan, “it is believed that this event will have a significant impact on the supply of NAND Flash in the OEM or channel market in the first quarter of 2020, making the price increase trend more clear.”

Even before the fire NAND flash prices were expected to rise 40 per cent in 2020, according to memory chip maker sources polled by Digitimes last week.

In a letter to customers dated Jan 7, 2020, Kioxia said the impact to production was “under review”. The company is investigating the cause of the fire which damaged unspecified manufacturing equipment at Yokkaichi Plant’s Fab 6. The fire has been extinguished and there were no casualties.

Fab 6 makes 64-layer and 96-layer 3D NAND for Kioxia, formerly called Toshiba Memory, and Western Digital and pumps out 3-4 per cent of total world NAND production.

Kioxia letter to customers

In a note to subscribers, Wells Fargo senior analyst Aaron Rakers said the fire took place in a clean room and the facility has been shut down for inspection.

A 13-minute power outage at the entire Yokkaichi foundry last year caused a significant loss of worldwide NAND production capacity.

There’s an update to the Kioxia flash foundry fire here.