Naturally a high-tech facility such as Fab 30 canít make do without strict and methodical quality control, both on the finished product as well as the materials needed to manufacture the product. AMD was very open to us about what measures theyíve taken to ensure their facility keeps on churning out those wafers at the highest possible quality. One of the things, although not as high-tech but none-the-less impressive, they were quick to comment on is that the whole facility has itís energy as well as heating and cooling supplied by their own 26MegaWatt power plant. Although this power plant is operated by a third-party they have the guarantee that there will be no power outages or any other mishaps for the next 15-years. Other areas of utmost scrutiny where the materials that are handled at the facility, everything is checked and double checked to make sure nothing enters the manufacturing process that might adversely affect the yields, as even a loss in yield for a couple of hours could cost them thousands of dollars.
Fig 4. Another look inside one of the cleanrooms, here an engineer is working with a depletion tool on a wafer.
Defects analysis is another part of the facility thatís keen on detecting anything that has gone awry or could go awry in the manufacturing process. Because the facility is operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week all year round they keep an eye on the yields and any defects that might cut into the yields that theyíre getting on their wafers. Defects that might occur are usually caused by a slight change in the process or a minute variance in the materials used to manufacture the CPUs. The art of high-volume production of cutting edge semiconductors is very much a balancing act; it is the accumulation of knowledge, both theoretical and hands on, as well as the constant monitoring and analysis of the process and the materials handled in the process. It is clear that there are just a handful of manufacturers that can pull this off on this scale, besides AMD, only Intel, IBM, SGS Microelectronics and Philips Semiconductors have what it takes to make this work.
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