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Quake crisis disrupts crystal component shipments

Posted: 09 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Japan quake? electronic components? crystal oscillators?

Crystal shipments have been delayed by four weeks in April compared to March.

According to IHS iSuppli, the supply disruptions are impacting the delivery of crystal oscillators used in cellphones and PCs. Crystals are produced in massive volumes, with more than 2 billion units estimated to ship every year.

The average lead timethe period between an order for a part and when that part is actually deliveredfor megahertz and kilohertz crystals rose to 12 weeks in April, up 50 percent from eight weeks in March.

"Because Japan is the world's leading producer of crystalsmajor suppliers include Epson, NDK and Citizenthe quake crisis will cause pricing for crystals from major Japanese suppliers to climb during the next few weeks," said Rick Pierson, senior analyst for CPT and semiconductors at IHS, in a statement.

"In fact, numerous Japanese crystal products are manufactured in factories located near the epicenter of the earthquake or are situated close to the coastal regions impacted by the tsunami."

Among the facilities damaged in the disaster is a supplier's location in northern Japan that produces crystals for oscillator products. Damage was also sustained by two oscillator suppliers in Fukurawa and Kanagawa, as well as at NDK, which produces crystal oscillator products in its Furukawa, Osaki-city manufacturing site.

On a positive note, status reports from one leading manufacturer of quartz crystals and oscillators that are sold in cylindrical, plastic, metal and ceramic packages show production has restarted at that manufacturer's Yamanashi, Funehiki-cho, Tamura-shi and Fukushima-ken plants. However, aftershocks and recurring disruptions to the local power grid continue to delay the resumption of normal operations, according to IHS iSuppli.

The research firm also indicated that Japan's production of high-end electromagnetic interference (EMI) filters also has been impacted by the disaster, delaying delivery of these parts.

One supplier in Miyagi prefecture confirmed that the quake has affected a factory that manufactures wire wound filters, which will have an impact on shipments after April.

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