Apple may face a shortfall in production of its iPad 2 tablet this summer, according to a new report from analyst firm IHS iSuppli.
The explosion and subsequent fire at Foxconn's Chengdu factory last weekend could stop iPad 2 production for a month or more at the site, leading to a loss of 500,000 units a month.
Even the main Foxconn iPad 2 factory in Shenzhen operating at full capacity may not be able to meet expected demand.
"The Shenzhen facility at present has capacity to produce 7.5 million units in the second quarter. IHS iSuppli forecasts that 7.4 million iPad 2 units will be shipped out during this period," said company analyst Dale Ford in a research note.
"To support these shipments, Foxconn must manufacture a larger quantity of devices of between 7.8 and 8.1 million units during the second quarter. This means that Foxconn's shipments will fall short of expected levels by between 300,000 and 600,000 units in the second quarter."
The Chengdu site accounted for around 20 per cent of iPad 2 production, but the effects of the problems may be slightly mitigated, since the earthquake in Japan had led to component shortages.
However, a Chinese advocacy group claims that Foxconn ignored warnings that its plants were unsafe, and that the company needlessly put staff at risk.
Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) said that it warned the company at the start of this month that it had serious concerns about safety.
"The tragedy happened in the polishing department of Foxconn and involved an explosion of ultra-light dust," SACOM said in a statement.
"Workers complained to SACOM that the ventilation of the department is poor. Workers polish the iPad cases to make them shiny. In the process, there is lots of aluminium dust floating in the air."
The group suggested that the dust ignited after it became too dense, and has questioned the figures released by Foxconn on those killed and injured.
Outside observers are not being allowed to speak to victims, according to SACOM, and one of their researchers was roughed-up by police.
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