We’ve all seen those pictures of engineers wearing full-body suits and face masks at semiconductor facilities around the world. This is because they are some of the most aseptic locations on the planet. In these facilities there is no room for variable conditions, precision-level manufacturing requires extremely stable, predictable working conditions. When one of these conditions is changed, like a nitrogen gas dispensing system releasing uncalibrated amounts of gas, things can go very wrong, very quickly.
Well this is what happened at Micron’s Fab 2 in Taiwan. This fab facility accounts for around 5.5% of the global DRAM supply (125,000 wafers per month). As a result of the nitrogen gas dispenser malfunction, both wafers and equipment were contaminated, which reduced production capability by 60,000 wafers.
Micron has already officially come out and said that the incident was a “minor accident” which “had no impact” on business. But Fab 2’s main production is LPDDR4 memory, which is used in mobile environments. With Apple being Micron’s biggest consumer of DRAM chips and with iPhone 8 production supposedly in full swing this could cause production delays or decrease the total number of iPhone 8 units available at launch.