How (some) chips are made #makerbusiness « Adafruit Industries - Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers!

How (some) chips are made #makerbusiness « Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers!

There has been a lot of talk about where semiconductors are manufactured, supply chain diversification, and geopolitics. But before we start worrying about all that, it pays to think about how chips are made. Article in the New York Times It explores how this happens in a plant at Intel, while also covering the technology and infrastructure increasingly required to run a plant like this.

The fab must also be impervious to any vibration, which can cause expensive equipment to malfunction. So the great clean rooms are built on massive concrete slabs on special shock absorbers.

Intel chips typically sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars each. In March, Intel released the fastest microprocessor for desktop computers, for example, with a starting price of $739. A piece of dust invisible to the human eye could destroy one. So the fab has to be cleaner than a hospital operating room and needs complex systems to filter the air and regulate temperature and humidity.

Semiconductor manufacturing also requires water. a lot of water.

Two Intel sites in Chandler together draw about 11 million gallons of water per day from local utilities. Intel’s future expansion will require much more, which appears to be a challenge to a drought-stricken state like Arizona, which has reduced water allocations to farmers.

Always on the edge of what is technically possible, this industry is financially and logistically demanding.

Although boosting local manufacturing can reduce supply risks to some extent, the chip industry will continue to rely on a complex global network of companies for raw materials, production equipment, design software, talent and specialized manufacturing.

Read The whole article is here.

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