The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that rocked the Tohoku region of Japan on March 11th, 2011 was the most severe earthquake ever recorded in Japan’s history. The powerful tsunami that swept inland brought damage and destruction to countless homes and businesses. One of the hardest hit companies was Sony Corporation, a major global manufacturer of consumer electronics.
Following the earthquake, Sony temporarily closed all of its production facilities in Japan on March 14th to evaluate the extent of the damage. Ten of Sony’s facilities were affected by the earthquake, some more seriously than others.
A cause for concern was the Sony Shiroishi Semiconductor plant in Miyagi Prefecture, which manufactures laser diodes. These tiny components can be found in everyday devices such as Blu-ray disc drives and in the PlayStation 3 game console. With worldwide demand for Blu-ray games and content growing each year, Sony cannot afford any serious disruptions in production that would affect their ability to ship finished products out the door.
Sony’s DADC facility in Ibaraki was also offline for a while as a result of the disaster. This facility manufactures optical media products including CD and DVD discs.
Fortunately, Sony has recently announced that eight of its ten facilities have resumed partial operations, including three facilities on March 22nd and five more as of April 6th, 2011.
The two facilities which remain offline are the Tagajyo plant in Miyagi prefecture and the Motomiya plant in Fukushima prefecture. The Tagajyo plant makes magnetic tapes and Blu-ray discs while Motomiya makes lithium-ion batteries.
Hopefully Sony will be able to resume their operations without too much downtime. As the cleanup continues, Sony still has to overcome shortages of electricity and materials before they can resume full-scale production at their facilities. We will keep you updated about Sony and the impact of the Tohoku earthquake on the data storage industry as more news becomes available.