Japan disaster causes shortage of lithium ion batteries for Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The earthquake and tsunami disaster has caused a Japanese chemical maker to shut down, resulting in constraints in the supply of lithium ion batteries for Apple's portable devices.



Kureha Corp. was recently contacted by Apple as the company expressed concerns over an apparent tight supply in lithium ion batteries, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report said the batteries are used in Apple's "popular iPods," but made no mention of other devices like the iPhone, iPad, or MacBook line.



Kureha is the maker of a "crucial" polymer known as polyvinylidene fluoride, or PVDF, used in lithium ion batteries that power devices like Apple's iPod lineup. The company has a 70 percent global market share of the polymer, but was forced to close down its factory in Iwaki, Japan, after the deadly earthquake hit on March 11.



As it struggles to meet demand for products from partners like Apple, Kureha is said to be accelerating its previously detailed plans to move its operations overseas. The company has factories in the U.S. and China, but none currently produce PVDF.



Takao Iwasaki, CEO of Kureha, told the Journal that his company was already considering production of PVDF in the U.S. and China in the future. The recent disaster will accelerate those plans, though he hopes to keep research and development in Japan.



About 800 workers are employed at the Iwaki plant that was shut down. Though it is located near the epicenter of the quake, none of the employees were said to have been seriously injured in the disaster.



Soon after the quake struck, concerns arose about Apple's ability to procure components from suppliers in Japan, particularly for the newly released and already constrained iPad 2. Among the parts said to be a concern by iSuppli are the system battery supplied by Apple Japan Inc.



While the iPad 2's three-cell battery is labeled as "assembled in China," the label refers to the whole battery pack. The battery itself is made by Apple Japan, which operates as a subsidiary of Apple. The Journal's story did not say whether Kureha's polymer is used in the iPad 2 battery.



Last week, one Wall Street analyst said checks with "critical" suppliers found that the disaster in Japan has not "meaningfully impacted" the supply of the iPad 2. It was said that any impact to supply would be "modest."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    pennywsepennywse Posts: 155member
    First.



    Oh and I like turtles!
  • Reply 2 of 22
    nkalunkalu Posts: 315member
    You guys are always predicting doom. You said this about other parts, yet there has been no visible effect on iPad 2 production. Stop creating undue panic.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,695member
    The effects of the disaster have been interesting to watch as they propagate. In fact they propagated right into my facility when we discovered that Sony's only factory for HDCAM and HDCAM SR video tape was in Sendai and was damaged and flooded. There are other small players in the video tape market that can make HDCAM, but the Sendai plant was the only source in the world for the SR tape. It's taking a while for it to reach us, but already you cannot buy SR tape. It's all gone. HDCAM is available but constrained. OTher tapes are getting hard to fine as well.



    Noticeable effects on Apple products will probably take some time to appear, but they will. If parts or raw material are no longer being delivered, you can only make your product for so long. Thanks just-in-time inventory!
  • Reply 4 of 22
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,979member
    Of course, this affects every other manufacturer.



    If the batteries are for iPods, then they are likely for iPhones as well, assuming that "iPods" includes the Touch.



    So going back to other threads here, it could be a reason why the iPhone MAY be delayed.
  • Reply 5 of 22
    dcj001dcj001 Posts: 301member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pennywse View Post


    First.



    Oh and I like turtles!



    Unfortunately for you, those are the only two things that you've got going for yourself.
  • Reply 6 of 22
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    Quote:

    As it struggles to meet demand for products from partners like Apple, Kureha is said to be accelerating its previously detailed plans to move its operations overseas. The company has factories in the U.S. and China, but none currently produce PVDF.



    Adding a US factory would be great, but I hope they'll consider building a factory at the other end of Japan rather than in repressive in increasingly militaristic China. A factory on the opposite coast wouldn't be at risk from the same tsunami and one at the opposite end of the country would be on a different power grid. It'd keep the redundancy inside Japan.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,695member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Inkling View Post


    Adding a US factory would be great, but I hope they'll consider building a factory at the other end of Japan rather than in repressive in increasingly militaristic China. A factory on the opposite coast wouldn't be at risk from the same tsunami and one at the opposite end of the country would be on a different power grid. It'd keep the redundancy inside Japan.



    Should we be concerned about Godzilla?
  • Reply 8 of 22
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post


    Should we be concerned about Godzilla?



    No, but maybe you should be concerned with Trawsfynydd and Wylfa.
  • Reply 9 of 22
    sol77sol77 Posts: 203member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post


    Unfortunately for you, those are the only two things that you've got going for yourself.



    That, and he made me laugh. I actually get a kick out of adults playing the firsties game. Adds a bit of positive-spirited lightheartedness to the geekdom. It's self referential and playful - I'm in my thirties and I still enjoy racing my friends to the best spot on the couch in homage to our days as selfish eight-year-olds. I'm actually curious why it would bother anyone. Why not just give him a high five?
  • Reply 10 of 22
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,443member
    Well here comes another AAPL buying opportunity I guess.
  • Reply 11 of 22
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,382member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sol77 View Post


    That, and he made me laugh. I actually get a kick out of adults playing the firsties game. Adds a bit of positive-spirited lightheartedness to the geekdom. It's self referential and playful - I'm in my thirties and I still enjoy racing my friends to the best spot on the couch in homage to our days as selfish eight-year-olds. I'm actually curious why it would bother anyone. Why not just give him a high five?



    I see you have 12 posts here. From my POV of years of trying to use the forum to learn from the community (which is already often a "trying experience), no high-fiving because it gets done all the time - and then often pads the thread with off-topic responses to it (like this post of mine to you for one....... \ )
  • Reply 12 of 22
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,695member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    No, but maybe you should be concerned with Trawsfynydd and Wylfa.



    Trawsfynydd: Shut down, fuel removed, decommissioned

    Wylfa: None of the above.
  • Reply 13 of 22
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,443member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    No, but maybe you should be concerned with Trawsfynydd and Wylfa.



    OOps, out of date info ...
  • Reply 14 of 22
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,443member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post


    Trawsfynydd: Shut down, fuel removed, decommissioned

    Wylfa: None of the above.



    Wylfa was actually a safer design anyway from what little I've read.
  • Reply 15 of 22
    whozownwhozown Posts: 128member
    Urg, get it together .
  • Reply 16 of 22
    pennywsepennywse Posts: 155member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sol77 View Post


    That, and he made me laugh. I actually get a kick out of adults playing the firsties game. Adds a bit of positive-spirited lightheartedness to the geekdom. It's self referential and playful - I'm in my thirties and I still enjoy racing my friends to the best spot on the couch in homage to our days as selfish eight-year-olds. I'm actually curious why it would bother anyone. Why not just give him a high five?



    You get it. I love how some people take life too xxxxxx seriously. For those who have seen the 'I like turtles' video, well then, you get it to.



    For the record I know first is dumb, but sometimes I like to just LIVE ON THE EDGE!
  • Reply 17 of 22
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    OOps, out of date info ...



    Yeah I realized that while reading the wikipedia page and before anyone responded but the name sounds so awesome and terrible I decide to let is remain a concern, hence I did not edit it.
  • Reply 18 of 22
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,695member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Wylfa was actually a safer design anyway from what little I've read.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Yeah I realized that while reading the wikipedia page and before anyone responded but the name sounds so awesome and terrible I decide to let is remain a concern, hence I did not edit it.



    Well I live in Austin, TX so what do I know about nuclear plants in Wales?
  • Reply 19 of 22
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Radioactive water is spilling out of the nuclear plant. It's not good, people.

    http://news.brisbanetimes.com.au/bre...329-1ce4g.html
  • Reply 20 of 22
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    dblepostt
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