Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

GlobalFoundries ITDC Laboratory Tour

You ever heard the numbers thrown around about how many wafers will be produced by a fab? GlobalFoundries is telling us Fab 8 will build processors using up to 60,000 wafers a month when it is under full production. Have you ever wondered how all those wafers get to where they need to be? We show you how that happens.

Introduction

We were in Malta, New York recently at the currently-under-construction GlobalFoundries Fab 8 facility. In case you missed our tour of Fab 8 construction sight, you can take a look at that here. The sheer size of the building is impressive even if you have no interest in semiconductor processing and is worth a look. Not often you will get to see the infrastructure of a building costing nearly $1Billion.

Not far from the Fab 8 sight is a building that houses some GlobalFoundries employees as well as the ITDC. The ITDC is GlobalFoundries' Integration Testing and Development Center. Some of you might recon back to a day when you saw Intel employees walking around in "bunny suits" moving wafers around a facility manually. (Not the best video to illustrate that, but funny nonetheless.) Well, in the days of a modern fabrication facility no person(s) is touching a wafer unless they absolutely have to. That means that wafers are moved around from stock, to tool, to tool, to tool, etc., by robots.

Now let's think of the magnitude of handling 60,000 wafers per month. If you only had to touch each wafer only once, that would be touching 2,000 wafers per day, or 1.4 wafers per minute.....IF you only had to touch it once. The reality is that these wafers have to be touched and transported multiple times inside the clean room to have all the processing done to these that is needed to turn a blank wafer into a semiconductor. Now keeping in mind that a wafer has to be delivered to multiple tools from stock; think about tracking that wafer and making sure that it gets to the right tool at the right time...and this has to be done with 2,000 a day, every day of the week.

Obviously our point here is that wafer management inside a modern fabrication facility is a huge issue all its own, secondary only to actually producing the integrated circuits that demand multiple steps in chemical and photographic processes.

Inside the GlobalFoundries ITDC

The video below will show you the GlobalFoundries ITDC. Basically what you will see is an inside look at what GlobalFoundries is doing to test its wafer handling, management, delivery, and tracking systems while Fab 8 is being built.

We would like to thank GlobalFoundries for the access that it has extended to HardOCP in order to give our readers a behind-the-scenes look at what will be happening inside Fab 8 when it is working at capacity very soon. Since we showed you the Fab 8 facility itself, GlobalFoundries has become ready to start bringing tools in ahead of schedule.

Higher resolution versions of the video can be found here should you wish a different view.

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