Foxconn's Apple iPad-manufacturing Chengdu plant, which shut down after a deadly explosion on May 20, is back in business, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Last Tuesday Foxconn closed the polishing workshops across all its mainland China facilities to check its safety procedures after the Chengdu plant explosion killed three and injured at least 15 others. The polishing workshops are a final step in the assembly of devices.
Although Foxconn has resumed polishing operations, the Journal said it wasn't clear whether any changes had been made at the plants.
Many analysts expected Apple to face iPad 2 shortages and delays under the assumption it would take Foxconn at least a month to re-open its Chengdu facility.
Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry, had earlier stated that the explosion would not cause production delays for the iPad 2. But research firm IHS iSuppli estimated last Monday that the blast could lead to a production loss of half a million iPad 2 tablets in the second quarter of 2011.
Another analyst estimated that Foxconn's Chengdu plant, which opened in October 2010 to support the company's largest facility in Shenzhen, produced 600,000 iPad 2s (25-30 percent of all iPad 2 units) in its first month. Based on this figure, the Chengdu facility's week-long closure only resulted in the loss of 125,000 iPad 2s. This doesn't take into account any production work that may have been temporarily shifted back to Shenzhen, however.
Following the Chengdu explosion and earlier reports of factory worker suicides, Foxconn and its partners have pledged to make a number of reforms at the manufacturer's facilities. A recent report from watchdog group Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), however, found that most employees are working long hours for little pay, battling exposure to dust and harmful chemicals, and undergoing "military style" training sessions.
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