We know that, to some, we seem to be talking about the Thailand situation an awful lot. However, since the flooding has affected hard drive production, that impacts the entire industry and we figure it’s better to let you know what’s happening, so you can make the best purchase decisions for your storage needs.
As we’ve mentioned before, not only are plants for major drive brands like Western Digital affected by the flooding, so are manufacturers of the individual hard drive components. As you might not know, most hard drives have upwards of 200 individual components that go into them (many of them produced by individual suppliers in the flooded region), even if the drive manufacturer’s plants weren’t directly affected by the floods, they are still facing shortages of components. Hard drive motor manufacturer Nidec, who we’ve mentioned before, is just one example.
Even once the waters recede, drive industry experts are saying it could take a year for these component manufacturers to replace their machinery, and many may have to relocate as well. Some companies, like Nidec, aren’t waiting for the waters to recede and have sent divers in to unbolt and retrieve equipment. Others, like suspension arm maker Hutchinson Technology, still has $50 million worth of specialty manufacturing equipment bolted to their now-submerged factory floor.
While many analysts have stated that production should be back to normal by the end of Summer 2012, others are now projecting shortages until the end of 2012 at the very least, primarily because many of the components are surprisingly single source supplied.
In other words, it doesn’t matter if you can push a car down the assembly line if an essential component, say the steering wheel, isn’t available.