Contamination Forces WD to Lose Over 6.5 Exabytes of Flash Memory

By: SiliconExpert on February 21st, 2022

February 21, 2022 A contamination of materials at two Western Digital manufacturing plants has caused a loss of at least 6.5 exabytes of flash memory storage. These could have grave consequences on pricing and supply – experts predict a spike in SSD prices of up to 10% in Q2. 

Western Digital Corporation (WDC) is a memory chip manufacturer that operates two manufacturing sites in Japan, in partnership with Kioxia, a Japanese multinational computer memory manufacturer. Kioxia & WDC are currently ranked as the second and third-largest memory manufacturers in the world. According to Trendforce, this contamination incident could spike the price of NAND Flash Memory in Q2 2022 by 5-10%.   

Details on the Contamination Incident

WDC announced that at least 6.5 exabytes (approximately 6,500M GB) of its NAND supply, potentially as much as 16 exabytes – a significant proportion of its global supplies, have been contaminated. WDC and Kioxia are focused on supplying PC client SSD and eMMC products. According to the statement on Kioxia’s website, the contamination would not be affecting the company’s production of 2D flash memory, only 3D NAND. There is a chance that this could mean only high-performance and high-capacity applications will be affected. 

According to a statement on Kioxia’s website, an unidentified chemical from an unknown source was introduced into production and caused the contamination incident. The statement also cited production issues referring to “a component containing impurities in a specific production process of the 3D flash memory”. Kioxia did not estimate as to when full production would be restored. 

Photo Credit: Western Digital Corporation (WDC)

Photo Credit: Western Digital Corporation (WDC) 

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