According to Bloomberg, Toshiba recently stated that it won’t be able to meet demand for power-regulating chips for another year and, in certain cases, through the end of 2022, offering a fresh warning for makers of cars, consumer electronics and industrial machines struggling with component shortages.
“The supply of chips will remain very tight until at least September next year,” said Takeshi Kamebuchi, a director in charge of semiconductors at one of the company’s units. “In some cases, we may find some customers not being fully served until 2023.”
Material shortages and demand outpacing output capacity are to blame for Toshiba’s inability to fulfill orders for a component that doesn’t require advanced production technology and has typically been deemed a commodity, according to Kamebuchi. Mature tech such as Toshiba’s power chips is cheaper than cutting-edge memory and sensors, but no less important for any electronic device.
Toshiba plans to invest 60 billion yen ($545 million) in the three years to March 2024 to boost output of power semiconductors, Kamebuchi said. Options beyond that period include additional investment that may include building another factory. Despite some investor concern that demand will evaporate after the pandemic-fueled frenzy for electronics, Kamebuchi said the company is confident that orders will keep growing rapidly enough to sell out all its production lines for years to come.
The report pointed out that Toshiba is holding daily discussions on how best to allocate its limited output. The company’s having to apologize to some customers for being unable to deliver in a timely fashion.