IBM ventures into 300 mm territory

Retrofitted facility to be home for chip making combined with copper interconnects, silicon-on-insulator and low-k dielectric insulation

by Mark A. DeSorbo

It was a three-level, 630,000-square-foot building that was commissioned by IBM Corp. in 1985 and operated as a semiconductor fab until 1993, when it was unplugged and mothballed.

A 300 mm (12-inch) wafer (left) can yield 2.5 times more chips than a conventional 200 mm (8-inch) wafer (right). (IBM Photos: Tom Way)
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Now the East Fishkill, NY, facility is the future site of IBM's first 300 mm manufacturing facility, a $2.5 million investment that will combine chip making with copper interconnects, silicon-on-insulator (SOI) and low-k dielectric insulation on 12-inch wafers, says Michael Loughran, a spokesman for IBM's microelectronics division. The facility is part of IBM's $5 billion investment in its worldwide chip-making business.

Normally, permitting would have taken considerably longer, but a New York State incentive, called Chip Fab 98, an economic development program to attract semiconductor fabs to the Empire State, paved the way for the project.

“Overall, this project puts our development activities along with our manufacturing—in other words from lab to fab,” says Loughran. “We expect to manufacture logic chips at 0.10 micron.”

IBM’s construction of a 300 mm wafer fab in East Fishkill, NY, is its first venture in to the new technology. A manufacturing process will utilize equipment that will be able to transport specialized carriers filled with 25 wafers.
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It wasn't until 1997, when 300 mm illusions were filling the minds of many, that IBM saw the dormant facility as its first venture into a new wafer realm. And so began some serious demolition work to align the “turbulent” ISO Class 5 (Class 100) cleanrooms with the new technology.

“The program saved us six months of permitting time and the building has a lot of value to it,” says John Holder, manager of major construction for facilities engineering at IBM's microelectronics division. “It was designed as a building within a building, meaning there's an expansion joint all the way around the perimeter of the building to keep cleanrooms and manufacturing areas vibration-free. That was one of many features, so it made sense to reuse it.”

Site work, he adds, was ongoing and on schedule at the time of this report, but contractors, Holder says, had their work cut out for them. Serving as the general contractor is Whiting-Turning (Baltimore), while IDC (Pittsburgh) is building the fab. Chester Engineering (Pittsburgh) is covering environmental aspects of the project, M+W Zander (Stuttgart, Germany) is in charge of the overall fab layout and Giffels Associates (Southfield, MI) is handling the building's retrofit-infrastructure.

Demolition work involved removing floors, walls and fan decks that cradled air handlers that service the 140,000 square feet of ISO Class 5 cleanrooms. About 106,000 square feet of the clean space will house the manufacturing tools, which will be enclosed in separate minienvironments. The other 34,000 square feet is a 300 mm technology development area. The entire space will average a total air circulation of about 20 feet per minute at a temperature of 70, ±2 degrees Fahrenheit, and at an RH of ±34.

One of the greatest challenges contractors faced was the 10-foot ceiling height, Holder says. “We had to raise the ceiling by four feet to accommodate 300 mm tooling, so that meant jack hammering off about four million pounds of concrete,” he says, adding that the rubble was recycled as roadbed. On top of that, crews were busy relocating and reconfiguring tooling decks and 24-foot 3 48-foot bays.

“That ceiling was our biggest challenge, and it would have been very difficult to do if there was manufacturing going on,” Holder says.

Pictured is an artist rendition of the completed facility. ISO Class 5 (Class 100) cleanrooms, where 300 mm wafers are manufactured, are located on the second-floor of the facility.
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Another challenge was getting the amount of 300 mm tooling in the building in order to be competitive. At the time of this report, crews were beginning to drill 5,000, 18-inch diameter holes in the “waffle slab” that supports the process level. The holes will provide access routes for power supplies that will feed the air handlers, deionized water subsystems, gas handlers, chillers, compressors, boilers and waste treatment system upgrades that are planned for the facility.

“Normally [power supplies] are located near the tool, if it's a one-level facility. But on a multilevel facility, it's located below in the sub-fab,” Holder says. “We also had to work around steel support columns, which wasn't too bad.”

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The installation of cleanroom components, such as air and gas handlers, compressors and boilers, is the crux of the project, he adds. “The bulk of the work is really ahead of us,” Holder says.

The fab will require IBM to hire about 1,000 new people, and cleanroom personnel will mostly likely be required to wear smocks and hairnets. “It's not going to be a full jumpsuit. Garmenting can be somewhat relaxed because the tools will be integrated within minienvironments,” Holder says.

Initial production, Loughran says, is expected in the third quarter of 2002, and the fab should be running at full steam by the first quarter of 2003.

IBM to build organic chip packaging facility
SHANGHAI, CHINA—As part of a $5 billion worldwide investment plan, IBM Corp. plans to invest $300 million to build an organic chip packaging and systems manufacturing facility here.

The new facility will produce electronic cards and high-technology chip carriers incorporating IBM's packaging technologies called Surface Laminar Circuitry (SLC) and HyperBGA. These technologies are used in wired and wireless networking applications, Web servers and pervasive computing market segments.

“The establishment of the new packaging facility in Shanghai signifies a new phase in bringing advanced technology to China,” says Henry Chow, chairman and chief executive of IBM Greater China Group.

A spokesman for the company said it plans to break ground on the new facility in the first quarter of 2001, with production expected to begin in mid-2001.—MAD


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