TSMC railway impact study shows good news for Fab 14

Meg Villeneuve

Teamed up with Taiwan High Speed Rail in six-month vibration study, the first of its kind

HSINCHU, TAIWAN—Just months after completing its study on whether a high-speed train would affect its chip production and fab construction, officials from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) report there will be no negative impact. The fab in question, Fab 14, is TSMC's second wafer manufacturing facility to be built within the Science Park.

Until the study was complete, TSMC halted construction of Fab 14. However, the company chose to continue with its 12-inch pilot line at Fab 6, while the study was being conducted.

A wafer being carried by an automated handling system from one process step to another within TSMC’s Fab 14.
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“The study showed no impact to manufacturing, the cost of building or cost of equipment to Fab 14,” says Charles Byers, director of communications and corporate marketing for TSMC.

TSMC's railway study is considered to be the first of its kind, according to Byers. “The affect of vibration on IC precision exposure equipment was studied. It is the first detailed measurement ever conducted, especially for 0.10-micron process, and confirmed that there was at least a safety allowable range of 15 decibel (dB),” he says.

Previous reports showed acceptable vibration levels should not exceed 45 dB in the Science Park. However, the TSMC study revealed that the Science Park could handle 65 dB. “We found that the further the vibration traveled, the lower decibel range,” Byers says.

The project team included experts in the areas of internal process, equipment and fab operations, as well as expert consultants in geology, construction and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

“With the cooperation and participation of the Taiwan High Speed Railway Company, the team embarked upon a six-month, comprehensive study of background vibrations,” Byers adds. With the study complete, construction of Fab 14 has resumed. The fab is located approximately 600 meters, or 1/2 mile from the track.

While the amount of cleanroom space within Fab 14 has not yet been determined, the company says it plans to use minienvironments to decrease the amount of contamination within the wafer processing area. To date, the shell is complete and equipment is slated for delivery during the first half of 2002.


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