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Fire at Chip Plant Adds to Shortage

A fire at a factory of one of the world’s leading auto chip makers has added to the troubles of car makers that already have slashed production because of a semiconductor shortage. The fire left a swath of charred equipment in the factory owned by a subsidiary of Renesas Electronics Corp. in Hitachinaka, northeast of Tokyo. The company said it would take at least a month to restart the damaged operations.

Renesas said heat from an electrical problem inside a single piece of equipment caused the fire and contaminated clean rooms needed to make semiconductors. It said two-thirds of the chips made at the fire-affected factory were automotive chips. Renesas’s chief executive, Hidetoshi Shibata, said Sunday the impact on global chip supplies would be significant. 

According to Reuters, the company has about 30% of market share for microcontroller unit chips used in cars. Renesas says its customers, mostly auto parts suppliers, will begin to see chip shipments plummet in about a month. Global automakers like Honda, Toyota and Nissan are all assessing the ramifications, and one analyst said they would be “facing a difficult situation.”

PM Flashback

Volume 18, No. 1, January 1989


1989 P/M Conference Program Selected
Distinguished Service to P/M Award
Metallurgical Industries Gets FAA Approval
Stoody Deloro Sold
Crucible Modernizes P/M Tool Steel Facility
P/M Parts Companies Excel in Quality
International Tungsten Industry Gaining Ground
Gorham Ups P/M Growth Estimate
P/M Parts Handling System 
Tiemissen Devotes Full-Time to Consulting 
International P/M Exhibition in U.S.S.R
MPIF Plans Full ’89 Meeting Schedule
MPIF Industry Development Board Directs P/M Marketing Effort
P/M Splash at SAE Conference
Design Competition Goes International
Who’s Who in P/M Published
People in the News

Clemson University, 3D Systems and ARL Leverage AI for 3D Printing Research

Clemson University has established an $11 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Combat Capabilities Development Command of the Army Research Laboratory, known as DEVCOM ARL, to create new technologies that will speed up the development of new 3D printed components for the U.S. military’s ground vehicles, air platforms, and munitions.

Clemson University project leaders Srikanth Pilla, Fadi Abdeljawad and Gang Li (left to right) as well as Shunyu Liu and Rahul Rai (not pictured) will drive research from the Clemson Composites Center in Greenville. Photo via Clemson University.

COBRA® Golf Unveils the Copper Series Players Irons to Satisfy the Most Demanding Shotmakers

COBRA® Golf, a leader in golf club innovation, has unveiled its new KING Copper Iron Series, introducing a stunning new copper finish in its popular player’s irons. Manufactured using metal injection molding (MIM) for precise shaping and exceptionally soft feel, each clubhead is also fitted with a Tungsten toe weight for pure shots with added stability on off-center hits. The soft MIM material, combined with a TPU insert (thermoplastic polyurethane) positioned behind the clubface, damps vibrations for a soft yet solid feel at impact that rivals traditional forged irons, even though they are actually MIM processed. The rich new copper finish sets these clubs apart from a visual standpoint.

Penn State Engineering Receives U.S. Army Grant to Advance High-Strength Steel Additive Manufacturing

Researchers at Penn State University, College of Engineering, University Park, Pennsylvania, have received a grant of $434,000 from the United States Army to develop Additive Manufacturing techniques for high-strength steels and alloys. Although these materials are currently used in many defense applications, such as personal armor, armored vehicles, specialized facilities for blast & ballistic protection and ship hulls, they can be difficult to manufacture utilizing traditional processes.


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