Sony has learned lessons from last yearu2019s Thai floods and is stepping up camera production outside the disaster zone to help reduce risk of future shortages.
The electronics giant is exploring ways to help ensure production lines are less vulnerable to such a natural disaster.
Amateur Photographer (AP) understands that Sony bosses have had discussions with the Thai government over the matter.
After the October floods, Sony moved Alpha camera production to its Chonburi plant, which was not affected, and to factories in Japan.
Sony has confirmed that it plans to open a ‘new facility’ at Chonburi, which lies south of the flood-hit area.
Sony hopes to have it up and running within weeks.
Speaking at the launch of the new Alpha 37 camera, which will replace the A35, Sony UK product manager for Alpha and NEX, Joe Asai, told AP: ‘Unfortunately, the A35 was massively impacted by the Thai floods.
‘Our factory in Ayutthaya was hit quite hard, so we couldn’t supply as much as we wanted.
‘We are looking into some options. We don’t want that to happen again.’
Asai later confirmed: ‘We are now expanding the Chonburi factory in a bid to increase its production capacity.
‘The new facility is expected to become operational this summer and we are making strenuous efforts to raise Alpha production capacity as soon as possible.’
Sony’s compact system camera production ground to a halt after the floods forced the closure of a plant in Ayutthaya.
This led the firm to postpone the European launch of its NEX-7 camera. Production of the Sony NEX-5N and NEX-C3 compact system cameras was also affected.
Last month, AP revealed that Nikon is considering the transfer of staff skilled in assembling DSLRs to China.
Nikon currently makes most of its DSLRs in Thailand where production is understood to have recently returned to normal levels following last year’s flooding.
At present, the firm does not make any DSLRs in China.
A Nikon Japan spokesperson told AP: ‘There is always a possibility that Nikon could consider the transfer of DSLR assembly know-how as an option to explore for the future.’
Nikon did not make clear whether or not this means DSLRs may be produced in China at some future date.
Nikon currently produces its Nikon 1 compact system cameras and Coolpix models in China.