Semiconductor supplier ASML suffers a factory fire in Berlin

ASML production facility
(Image credit: ASML)

The global chip crunch is basically its own meme at this point. It seems like the hits come one after the other, whether it’s limited capacity, furloughed workforces, logistics issues or even GPU theft, it seems like we have some way to go before we can walk into a main street store and buy a console or a GPU at RRP.

But, chip supply isn’t just a matter of wafer capacity. A semiconductor manufacturing facility requires countless numbers of components, tools and machinery that make up a very complex supply chain. Dutch photolithography specialists ASML (Advanced Semiconductor Material Lithography) is a key part of that chain, and word comes via ZDnet that ASML suffered a fire at one of its plants in Berlin.

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The fire damaged a part of one production area, with smoke affecting another. Luckily, no injuries were reported and ASML states that a part of the facility is already back up and running. However, the EUV production system remains offline, and this is the worrying part. Extreme Ultra Violet lithography is used to produce the most advanced chips available, including the advanced 5nm nodes.

ASML supplies equipment and tools to the likes of Samsung and TSMC. With both companies currently undergoing major expansions, the last thing they need is disruptions. These kinds of things have flow on effects that eventually end up reaching gamers. Store shelves are already quite bare, so we can all do without these kinds of disruptions. End users won’t see any immediate impact, but if EUV tool production remains offline for any significant amount of time, there could be flow on effects in the months ahead.

ASML is likely to release an update during its earnings call scheduled for January 19. No doubt there have been many calls between all of the companies involved to asses the potential impacts of a lengthy EUV manufacturing halt. Cheaper GPUs might not come as soon as we hope they will. 

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.