Kioxia has reportedly informed its customers that a production tool at one of its fabs caught fire early on Tuesday. The fire was promptly extinguished and no casualties were reported, and the impact on the joint venture's NAND supply is expected to be minimal, according to production partner Western Digital.

The fire occurred in the cleanroom of Fab 6 (pictured), which is a part of the Yokkaichi Operations fab complex owned by Kioxia and Western Digital, according to Wells Fargo senior analyst Aaron Rakers (cited by Blocks & Files). The fire started at approximately 6:10 AM JST on January 7, 2020, and one manufacturing tool was partially damaged, according to a document allegedly sent by Kioxia to one of its customers (and published by TechNews). The precise cause of fire is unknown thus far. Operations were partially interrupted for a brief period, but now are largely back, and the joint venture is working to bring the fab back to normal operational status.

Fab 6 is the latest and most advanced fab in Yokkaichi Operations that kicked off production in September, 2018. At present, the fab produces 64-layer and 96-layer 3D NAND memory. Adjacent Fab 2 and Fab 5 are also used to make 3D NAND flash, so Kioxia and Western Digital continue to make memory at other facilities.

A significant disruption of production at Fab 6 may cause some turmoil on the market, but Western Digital expects impact on supply to be minimal.

Here is what the company had to say:

"On Monday, January 6 (morning, January 7 local time), a small fire occurred at our joint venture facility in Yokkaichi, Japan. Local firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, and we are thankful for their rapid response. No employees were injured, and we are working closely with our JV partner to promptly bring the fab back to normal operational status. We expect any supply impact to be minimal, and will provide updates as appropriate."

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Sources: Western Digital, TechNews, Blocks & Files

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  • Ej24 - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Are all these accidents at NAND fabs in line with the usual frequency of such incidents? First Samsung, now Toshiba? I wonder when micron is going to experience some setback that will inevitably raise prices too...

    I'm sure it's all coincidence, I just reallllly don't want to go back to 2017 memory prices.
  • Achaios - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Kinda strange how all these accidents started happenin' after SSD and RAM prices reached historic lows.

    If I were a conspiracy theorist, I could prolly spun a few nice little theories on how "accidental" these accidents really were.

    Seems like Samsung has set a trend in the business and now "calamities" start hittin' competitors left and right.
  • valinor89 - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Is it me or does having a fire on a clean room sound like one of the worst things that could happen?
    I would guess that any ammount of smoke would be disastrous to the "cleanliness" of the room.
  • xmasbelated - Thursday, July 14, 2022 - link

    Companies need to pay more attention to labor safety, especially to avoid fires.

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