Steve Yellin is a senior member and immediate past president of the Institute of Environmental Sciences. He has previously served the Institute as fiscal vice president (1992) and as general chair of the 1992 Annual Technical Meeting. Yellin has had over 30 years` experience as a marketing specialist and 26 years as an industrial design consultant, during which he held various management positions on industrial, semiconductor, and biopharmaceutical projects. He currently is managing director of CMPA, Inc.
Q:From your perspective as a recent past president of the Institute, what do you see as the direction for Federal Standard 209 and TC209?
A:For a long time, the Institute of Environmental Sciences has been responsible for Federal Standard 209. What`s going to change for both our industry and the Institute is that we`re no longer going to be responsible for Federal Standard 209. We are, however, the secretariat leader, if you will, for TC209, an international cleanroom standard that will define seven key areas. Now it is true that pieces of Federal Standard 209 and RP12 and all the other RPs are continuing to produce and rewrite, and that will continue. We`ll all kind of be merged into several task groups, and the U.S., along with about 16 member countries, is actively involved in rewriting all of these areas.
The thing that`s important here is that, if you went to the UK or France this year to build a cleanroom, you may find the criteria different. What TC209 should do, once adopted, is set an international standard, so if I`m an international manufacturer of a cleanroom, I know that I`m going to have the same criteria to work under and build under in France as I do here.
When I took over as president, one of my primary goals personally: we recognized that the Institute had lagged behind the industry in its maturity and growth into new cycles. We have written a new mission statement and goals — a whole new five-year plan. That was done because the industry we serve is changing, and the market we serve is more international. Now it`s, “What do you mean you don`t know about ISO?” That is probably the most fundamental thing. And the Institute has recognized that and is moving to fill the gap of continuing the process of being recognized worldwide. What the Institute is about to become is one that is truly international in scope as opposed to national with international ties, because that is the future: This is a global network. We see education and communication as our priority, and we see ourselves now teaching under a flag that might go international.
Ten years ago — and I`ve been on the board for twelve — there was never a discussion about anything other than rewriting Federal Standard 209. No one thought about ISO standards ten years ago. It`s probably, in my view, one of the most fundamental things that makes a difference in the cleanroom industry.
ISO and TC209 run parallel to where cleanrooms are going. The Institute is moving toward becoming certified as an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) provider because that`s ISO standard. We talked this year for the first time about using the Web to transmit data from the international societies as a body collecting data, so that things we write here and things they write there can be cross-bred and transmitted over the net, and we can develop the distribution of Recommended Practices.
Q:What changes have you seen in the last ten years in the cleanrooms industry as a whole?
A:Philosophically, the bay and chase was a common element ten years ago, then about six years ago, somebody thought up the ballroom concept. Today, we`re talking ballrooms with minienvironments, fully automated rooms — the “lights out” fab, as people have coined it. Those things didn`t exist ten years ago.
I think fundamentally, that`s probably the biggest thing over the last ten years that runs parallel with where cleanrooms are going. Ten years ago, a minienvironment was not even someone`s thought. Today, minienvironments may be becoming a practice, especially in 300 mm. Ten years ago, plants were not automated; today with 300 mm, the majority of them will probably be automated, because the wafer is so large, and the damage done with the loss if somebody drops one, is a monstrous amount of money!
Q:I understand a vote is currently taking place to change the name of the Institute. What prompted this?
A:The IES has been calling itself the IES since 1952. Because we became more marketing oriented a few years ago, we ran into the Illuminating Engineering Society, which was formed in 1906. So they sued us for the use of the acronym “IES.” In a court of law, age has precedence, so we were forced never to use “IES” in our public domain. So it was decided after doing some serious review a couple of years ago, that we ought to change our name. It`s proposed to become the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST). IEST has been searched, and no one has it. [Editor`s note: The results of the vote were not available at press time.]