Monday, March 21st 2011

Japan Earthquake Could Affect HDD Industry

Over a week after, and still reeling with one of the biggest disasters in its history, Japan is home to major manufacturing plants of hard drive-grade substrate makers such as Furukawa Denko and Kobe Steel; as well as HDD OEM Showa Denko, all of which have faced temporary shutdowns after the quake. The three have all reported damage to facilities, injuries of employees and have shut down their operations pending further evaluation. This could have its repercussions on the hard drive industry, which is beginning to face serious competition from the solid-state drive (SSD) industry, in the lower-mainstream segments.

Showa Denko-made HDDs amount for 25% of global market, but its facilities are distributed between Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore. Showa Denko supplies to Seagate and Western Digital, two major companies in the HDD business, though since the two have their own manufacturing facilities, shortage of Showa Denko-sourced hard drives may not have an immediate impact, notes DigiTimes. On the other hand is HDD component manufacturers such as Furukawa Denko and Kobe Steel, which produce HDD-use substrates using aluminum mainly for desktop PCs; TDK, Showa Denko and Fuji Electric, which make fine components such as read/write heads and the magnetic discs.

TDK's facilities are unaffected by the quake as they are outside the disaster zone, the Japan-based magnetic-storage veteran owns about 30% of the global magnetic read/write head market. But on the other hand, Showa Denko's facilities are struck by disaster and have shut down. This company owns about 25% of the market, supplying around 22 million discs each month. HDD metal substrate supply is dominated by Japanese players, most of the substrate and motor makers including Hoya, Nihon Densan and Konica Minolta do not have plants in the disaster zones, and they only have seen limited impact from the earthquake. Kobe Steel, and Furukawa Denko, have suspended their plants in disaster zones.

Japan's rolling power-cuts in the wake of disabled atomic power plants is another factor at play here, it affects production at facilities otherwise unaffected by the disaster. Overall, it is observed that while there is little short term impact on the HDD industry, it could be a long term setback for major HDD companies to compete against the SSD industry.Source: DigiTimes Research
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16 Comments on Japan Earthquake Could Affect HDD Industry

#1
THRiLL KiLL
so the earthquake was an evil plot to destroy hard drives and tape media so ssd could reign dominance?

j/k
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#2
Mr McC
The situation in Japan is affecting all industries dependent on Japanese supplies, which in the technology sector alone, entails a vast number of companies. This may not be apparent in the short term, but once on-site stock runs out, delay is inevitable.

As a technologically advanced society and in view of the recent series of manmade and natural disasters, we might easily underestimate Japan's situation, but I know of no other country that has simultaneously had to deal with the effects of an earthquake, a tsunami and a failing nuclear plant.

http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/relief/l4/Vcms4_00002070.html
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#3
TheMailMan78
Big Member
I wonder if the aluminum plants in the US would be able to export fast enough to make up the difference. Lord knows we have enough.
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#4
alexsubri
it's ashame what happen in Japan. HAARP to blame, anyone?
Posted on Reply
#5
D4S4
by: TheMailMan78
I wonder if the aluminum plants in the US would be able to export fast enough to make up the difference. Lord knows we have enough.
it's not the raw material that's the problem, it's the precision of manufacture i think. something that runs at 7200k rpm (let alone 15000k) needs to be pretty damn balanced not to shatter itself.
Posted on Reply
#6
Mussels
Moderprator
i cant think of anything to say that wouldnt really be appropriate, given that the japs have a lot worse to deal with right now, than HDD prices.
Posted on Reply
#7
Dia01
by: Mussels
i cant think of anything to say that wouldnt really be appropriate, given that the japs have a lot worse to deal with right now, than HDD prices.
Totally agree.
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#8
Aceman.au
Makes you wonder. What if something even bigger happened to China? We rely on China for a lot of resources.
Posted on Reply
#9

by: l33tGaMeR
Makes you wonder. What if something even bigger happened to China? We rely on China for a lot of resources.
Almost wish it would, that way the US could cut its shameful dependency and made in China wouldn't have to be on some of the simplest of products, like a tooth brush and the shirt on your back.
#10
caleb
by: Taskforce
Almost wish it would, that way the US could cut its shameful dependency and made in China wouldn't have to be on some of the simplest of products, like a tooth brush and the shirt on your back.
Nothing like complaining you have something cheap. If you'd have to pay 3x the price of a tooth brush you would whine then...

And wtf is wrong with you " almost wish it would ". About 10k ppl died in Japan.

I don't think the quake will affect the market that much, sure for a moment now but not on the long road. It's that unresolved nuclear reactor situation I'm worried about.
Posted on Reply
#11
HTC
by: Taskforce
Almost wish it would, that way the US could cut its shameful dependency and made in China wouldn't have to be on some of the simplest of products, like a tooth brush and the shirt on your back.
That's a poor choice of words, dude!
Posted on Reply
#12
Mussels
Moderprator
before this gets out of hand, can people please calm down?


Yes, this is only a minor concern compared to whats happening in japan, but its no reason to attack each other over it, poor choice of words or not.
Posted on Reply
#13
newfellow
by: THRiLL KiLL
so the earthquake was an evil plot to destroy hard drives and tape media so ssd could reign dominance?

j/k
I honestly think this kind of scenarios will come to be reality to people. Not only HDD market it's an perfect excuse to raise prices, raise different hardware on top of others and hell I am
not even paranoia I just can see it some way reflecting market like 'we want to bring new technology, but it's barely as good as the old one, people will pay'.

There's just no better timing to hit than now with an excuse.
(I honestly think it's shameless how corps use these events. Hell, considering there's people dying and we wonder about how it affects out USB stick.)
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#14
Tannhäuser
Ten days ago I've bought a new CPU (2600K) and new RAM - now I'm still waiting for the UD5 Gigabyte-Mainboard to arrive in stocks here in Germany. Production seems to be delayed. This sucks. Even if Gigabyte does produce in Taiwan, many components are from Japan. Still, the market for mainboards is affected from the Intel-Failure, too.
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