Recovering from the Taiwan Earthquake

An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Ritchter scale struck Taiwan on September 21, 1999. At the Hsinchu Industry Park, where 28 fabs are located, six belong to TSMC. Luckily, TSMC&#39s fab&#39s systems, HVAC systems, water distribution, and power distribution withstood the quake. But it took several days before power was restored.

On day 3 following the earthquake, the company was receiving only 25 percent of its usual electricity; full power was restored on day 5. Resuming operations took a little more time: on day 5, TSMC&#39s wafer production was at 20 percent, rising to 90 percent on day 8.

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While TSMC&#39s cleanrooms remained intact after the quake, a Semiconductor Equipment & Materials International (SEMI) observation team reported that most of the cleanroom damage at other facilities was caused in cleanrooms that did not meet industry guidelines. Few foundries bolted their equipment to the floor, so machines were prone to slide or topple, says Mike Droeger, spokesperson for SEMI. For more detail on the earthquake recovery, see —LN


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