ROHM Opens Renewable Energy-Powered Production Building
ROHM Semiconductor recently wrapped up construction on a new five-floor SiC power device factory that sources 100% of its electricity from renewable energy.
Japanese power electronics giant ROHM Semiconductor recently opened a new renewable energy-powered building in Japan to increase its SiC (Silicon Carbide) device production capacity while meeting long-term emissions reduction goals.
Located at ROHM’s Apollo Chikugo plant, the five-floor building is equipped with a high-efficiency air conditioning system that uses exhaust heat, pure water production and LED lighting to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% (equivalent to around 7,000 tons), compared to traditional facilities.
ROHM opened a new environmentally friendly building at its Apollo Chikugo plant. Image courtesy of ROHM Semiconductor.
The company held an opening ceremony to commemorate the new facility earlier this month, nearly two years after construction began in February 2019. Operations are scheduled to start in 2022.
ROHM also announced new disaster countermeasures, including adopting seismically isolated structures for earthquake protection, gas fire extinguishing equipment and emergency generators, along with new flood countermeasures.
The new environmentally-friendly Apollo Chikugo building is the latest action item in ROHM’s long-term corporate sustainability roadmap. Efforts to reach 100% renewable energy have been ongoing for several years under its corporate social responsibility initiatives.
In 2019, ROHM targeted a .5% reduction in CO2 emissions at its sites through self-help efforts and introducing renewable energy sources. As a result, CO2 emissions declined by 7.3% through self-help efforts and 1.8% through renewable energy efforts by the end of the fiscal year.
ROHM Group’s domestic and overseas CO2 emissions output from 2005 to 2019. (Source: ROHM Group)
Expanding SiC Production Capacity
At the new Apollo Chikugo building, ROHM will install production equipment and build a manufacturing system to meet medium- to long-term demand for SiC (Silicon Carbide) power devices.
When the Apollo Chikugo plant expansion was first announced in 2018, ROHM stated that the building would greatly increase its production capacity for SiC wafers and components. Now facing new demand stemming from the global adoption of EV chargers and new power grid applications, ROHM is hyper-focused on boosting SiC wafer production capacity for its devices that serve automotive applications. To that end, ROHM recently opened a new SiC laboratory in Shanghai, jointly operated with China-based United Automotive Electronic Systems Co.
In a recent investor presentation outlining its business targets from March 2021 onwards, ROHM laid out plans to increase product lineups and sales in air conditioner electric compressors, power control units, chargers, autonomous units, LED lighting and meter panels. According to its latest financial highlights document, ROHM’s main auto segment end-products are engine control units, air bags, car navigation and audio systems, and advanced driver-assistance systems.
Like other end-markets in the power electronics industry, the automotive sector has taken a significant hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Declining sales in ROHM’s automotive electronics segment accounted for the bulk of its 11% drop in total consolidated sales over the first six months of the fiscal year (ending March 31, 2021).
ROHM’s automotive sales decreased 18.3% from the same period last year, with infotainment sales dropping by 7.5%, powertrain sales down by 1.8%, ADAS down by .8% and body products down by 1.7%.