August 29, 2005 – Oki Electric Industry Co. will at the end of September begin operating a system in Miyagi Prefecture that will help its semiconductor fabrication plants withstand offshore quakes. Once the so-called P-waves that first emanate from an earthquake are detected, the fab can shut down gas and chemical supplies before the more destructive S-waves strike, reported the Nikkei English News.
During past earthquakes, there have been cases in which toxic gases and chemicals have leaked into cleanrooms, delaying the restart of operations. The new system is designed to lessen such risks and will also be sold to other chip makers.
Company subsidiary Miyagi Oki Electric Co. will use data provided by the nonprofit organization Real-time Earthquake Information Consortium (REIC). The system will cut gas and chemical feeds when the REIC data shows P-waves of a magnitude of 5 or more as well as when P-waves are detected at the factory site.
There is a 17 sec lag estimated in an offshore Miyagi Prefecture quake between the time P-waves are first detected and when S-waves strike. The system can shut down gas and chemical feeds in 10 sec.