ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY; Power situation a greater concern

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 12:00 AM    Views : 1436by:Irma Isip

The  semiconductor and electronics industry, faced with   better prospects this year, views power as a greater concern than port congestion.

This was the consensus at the general membership meeting yesterday of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines Inc. (SEIPI), which estimates a 3 to 5 percent loss of production each time they switch or shift to another  power source.

SEIPI is one of the big businesses being urged to participate in the interruptible load program (ILP), where they would source power from their generators rather than the grid to augment supply.

SEIPI president Dan Lachica said while the situation at the ports is improving, members estimate loss in revenues of 20,000 to a million dollars each day a company is not able to get its raw materials from the ports for processing, confirming an earlier report that a semiconductor company had to shut down for two days because its inputs did not arrive on time.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla urged SEIPI members to participate in the ILP. "I'm not here to disrupt your operations," he said.

Petilla also said SEIPI members – which have an estimated 240 megawatts of power embedded  and big capacity generator sets as the "last resort and not a frontline" in the ILP, adding that the Department of Energy is still seeking other options, including the operation of two merchant plants even without a contract.

"Running power plants is not your business. We need you, we urge you join the ILP but as a last resort and not a frontline," Petilla said.

Chandramigan Anamirtham, president and general manager of storage drives manufacturer HGST Philippines Corp., said a few seconds or minutes of fluctuation in the manufacture of high-end nano technology semiconductor parts require 18 to 24 hours to restart.

In the case of HGST, which manufactures 1 million units of its hard disc drive parts per day, one day of disruption would require additional two weeks of production which is hard to cover, Anamirtham said.

With over 247 members, SEIPI has said immediate action needs to be taken on certain issues, even as government has made improvements in curbing corruption. These pending issues are infrastructure, power, port congestion, trade facilitation and others.

Lachica earlier revised upwards the revenue projection for the year to a range of 5 to 8 percent, with the recovery of global markets in almost all products such as automotive and consumer electronics.

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo noted the need of the sector to upgrade to higher value adding activities both in services and manufacturing.

"What is immediately clear is that it's time for the sector to begin to focus on developing competencies in IC (integrated circuit) design, data analytics, and smart technologies... original design manufacture and the middle of semiconductor manufacturing services activities must be strengthened," he said.

"We are promoting the development of high-value added activities in line with the thrust to move up in the value chain to develop new growth areas in the sector," he added.

Another important part of this effort is the backward strengthening of the supply chain and the forward linkage.

Domingo said the Department of Trade and Industry will continue to work with SEIPI to finalize a roadmap that hopefully can make the industry more prepared to ride the next cycle.


S & T Trivia


In 1902, the serum laboratory of the Bureau of Health (now Department of Health) and the botany section of the Bureau of Agriculture (now Department of Agriculture) were both under the Bureau of Government Laboratories.


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