Foxconn Factory Fire Puts iPad Supply in Jeopardy

A recent fire at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu City, China has slowed down production of the iPad, which may lead to shortages of the device in the not- too-distant future. You may recall that Foxconn is the same global manufacturing company that saw a raft of suicides last year because of poor working and living conditions and complaints that the company was paying its workers what equated to slave wages.

The latest tragedy to hit the company is a fire at its Chengdu City plant where 15 were injured and three employees died. Foxconn’s Chengdu site shipped around 25 – 30 percent of the total iPad 2 devices shipped in April, while its Shenzhen site made up the rest, according to unnamed sources speaking to Digitimes.

Production has been suspended at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu City, western China, following an explosion that left three dead and 15 injured on May 20. The plant recently started production of Apple’s iPad 2 raising concerns about a possible impact on the device’s output schedule.

Foxconn only recently opened up iPad 2 production lines at the new plant in Chengdu, while the company’s facilities in Shenzhen, southern China, remain the main manufacturing site for the tablet PC, sources at upstream component suppliers have commented. Foxconn’s Chengdu site shipped 25-30% of the total iPad 2 devices shipped in April, while its Shenzhen site made up the remainder, the sources estimated.

Prior to the fire, Foxconn had planned was to ramp up iPad 2 production at the Chengdu factory site to 3-4 million units in the second quarter from about 600,000 in Q1. The company had hoped to produce a monthly figure of 13-14 million in the second half of 2011.

At its Shenzhen production base production of iPad 2 will be much lower; the company expects monthly output to increase to 4-5 million units a month in the second quarter from 1.8 – 2 million in the first. The end goal there is 9 – 10 million units in the second half.

Foxconn said in an official statement about the explosion and subsequent fire at the facility is being investigated by local police officials. Production has been suspended at the site of the explosion until the investigation is completed.

Source: Digitmes

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