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  • Writer's pictureBasesite Office

Changing the way we Design Fab Utility Systems

The design and construction of semiconductor fabrication facilities are complex, involving three interconnected phases: base build, process lateral systems (PLS), and tool install.

Base Build

The base build phase includes the core structure of the fabrication building (FAB) and the infrastructure needed to achieve positive air pressure, known as clean protocol level 3. Maintaining cleanliness and attention to detail from the start is crucial for project success.

Process Lateral Systems (Layout Dependent Design)

The Process Lateral Systems (PLS) act as the link between the main systems and the tool install points. Success relies on tailoring the PLS design to the tool layout needs and ensuring quality standards are met. These systems are typically preassembled offsite and then installed. Coordination among multiple systems, vendors, and design teams adds complexity, necessitating an experienced manager for effective execution.

Tool Install

Tool install, the final phase, is distinct due to its rapid pace, tool sensitivity, high value, and strict safety requirements. It demands intense collaboration in a controlled environment,

The PLS Design Gap

As chip technology evolves, so do the tools needed for fabrication, often leading to facility expansions or retools. As a fab construction project progresses, the tool layout often changes, creating a gap of up to three months between the base build design and the factory's current needs. Contractually, the Process Lateral Systems (PLS) must adhere to a fixed tool layout. Whenever a new layout is released to the base build, each engineering discipline must perform a gap analysis, which may lag behind the latest tool layout by up to three months. This results in a time-consuming, costly, and suboptimal PLS design process.

Traditional PLS Design Methods

Traditional layout-dependent design methods involve analyzing utility system requirements and meticulously positioning facility equipment for optimal service, usually by bay. However, these designs quickly become inefficient due to frequent changes in the tool layout. To cope with this variability, systems are often oversized to maintain flexibility.

Enter Fabbuilder

Fabbuilder addresses this challenge by simulating millions of scenarios to optimize cable length and panel quantity. By requiring just an equipment list and layout, Fabbuilder generates a panel list with locations and circuit connectivity, considering all engineering calculations. This tool can help reduce the required panels by up to 30%

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