Why vibration control is key to semiconductor manufacturing
Although these manufacturing sites can be vast, most of the equipment is not directly used in the manufacture of silicon chips. Manufacturing at the nanoscale requires highly controlled conditions, so the fabs require an extensive range of heating, cooling and filtration systems. This plant equipment makes up approximately 90% of the equipment located at a typical fab.
This equipment ensures the correct temperature, humidity level and particulate level for the optimal production of chips. However, while solving one problem, it also introduces another. Mechanical systems and HVAC systems all generate vibration which, if left unmitigated, could disrupt sensitive precision manufacturing processes and interfere with chip production. ‘‘Vibration control is key to making these things work,’’ Adam explained.
One of the unique features of this project was the vast scale. In total, there were approximately 130 kilometres of piping and 3.2 kilometres of ductwork. The project therefore required a staggering 3,800 mounts. ‘‘I’ve worked on all sorts of projects at this stage of my career, but nothing can touch this one in terms of scale. Nothing is even close,’’ Adam reflected.