Consumer electronics manufacturers are suffering supply chain woes as the result of a three-day fire in October that destroyed a Japanese semiconductor plant.
Inside Imaging, quoting an unnamed industry source, reports that the Asahi Kasei Microsystems (AKM) semiconductor plant in Nobeoka supplies high-end integrated circuit components to most of the Japanese camera industry.
Production is not expected to resume for at least six months and may take up to a year.
Canon, Nikon and Sony will not participate in Black Friday promotions after Thanksgiving due to a shortage of stock, Inside Imaging reports.
A press release issued by AKM puts the time of the fire around 4:45 p.m. on October 20. Sections of the building collapsed on October 22 when the fire spread to the fifth floor
Most critical is the shortage in AKM audio-to-digital circuits that take analog audio and converts it to a digital signal used when recording sound with video.
ProSound, a magazine for the audio industry, reported in October that audio equipment manufacturers also anticipated shortages of ADC and DAC (digital-to-analog) circuits used in their professional level products. Top audio brands such as Denon, Marantz, Onkyo and Tascam use AKM’s DAC converters in their products.
The destroyed plant in Nobeoka is AKM’s only manufacturing location for the DAC and ADC products.
“It’s probably the most disruptive event in my 40 years of audio industry experience,” John La Grou, CEO of Millennia Media, told ProSound. “Devastating is not too strong a word. Can 2020 get any worse?”
The electronic component news website semimedia.com reports that the shortage of AKM components has sent prices soaring.
“Industry insiders said that the shortage will be difficult to solve in the short term, which will become the biggest chip supply difficulty encountered by the audio industry over the years,” Semimedia reports.
Abracon, another electronics company, issued a press release in October asking customers to anticipate some delays in delivery due to the Nobeoka fire.
“The team has placed all these devices on allocation until the supply chain is stablized,” the press release states. “They also suspended accepting new orders for these products until they understand the delivery timeline on new orders.”
Combined with the COVID-19 pandemic and higher rates in air and sea freight, the AKM circuit shortage is likely to increase the cost of consumer and professional electronic equipment through next year, Inside Imaging reports.