We’ve finally got some positive news amongst the dire supply conditions brought on by the Thailand floods; Western Digital has resumed its hard drive production in Thailand.
According to a press release on the WD Web site, the company restarted production of hard drives in one of its buildings on November 30, one week ahead of schedule.
They have also removed all the the slider head equipment (a key component in drive manufacturing) for refurbishment. Head slider manufacturing is expected to restart some time in March. Other facilities are expected to be pumped dry within the next ten days or so, allowing refurbishment to commence there, as well.
While it’s a glimmer of hope, it should be noted that those slider heads are a significant component of hard drives, and that supplies are still low. WD estimates this quarter’s hard drive production will be around 120 million units (including inventoried supply at the beginning of the quarter) versus a demand of between 170 million and 180 million units.
So, hard drive supplies are still going to be short for a while, but at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.