Sony only recently got its sensor business back on its feet after its main factory was heavily damaged by the the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes in Japan. If you’ve been curious as to just how badly the Kumamoto plant was hit, check out the 8-minute video above showing the first public footage of the moments of destruction.
The video was posted by Imaging Resource, which just toured the Kumamoto factory to see how much operations have been restored after the natural disaster.
The Sony Kumamoto factory produces most Sony’s sensors that are widely used in the camera industry, and it stood just 12.5 miles (20km) away from the epicenter of the two 7.0 magnitude earthquakes that hit Kumamoto.
As you can see in the video, the factory looked like a war zone in the aftermath. The was huge structural damage throughout the factory, equipment had gotten scattered all over the floors, sensor wafers had gotten pulverized, and areas that we once used as “clean rooms” were exposed to the outside world.
“The damage was devastating, far more than most people realized,” Imaging Resource writes. “The resulting sensor shortage set back the entire camera industry by a year or more.
“Watching the video, I was utterly amazed that they managed to get the plant operating at any level as quickly as they did, and the fact that they were back to 100% capacity by November of the same year is equally astonishing.”
Restoring the factory was vitally important to the camera industry as a whole, as Sony now makes about 50% of the world’s imaging sensors.