Semiconductor work represents some of the most difficult construction.
We’re finishing the largest installation of semiconductor manufacturing tools ever preformed at CONFIDENTIAL. This has been a two year effort involving hundreds. The vast majority of challenges we faced are no different than your projects with a few critical factors. Critical factor one, global economic pressures demand the manufactured product is produced on time and budget. The equipment which produces the integrated circuits have a design and installation duration of approximately one month.
Let’s put this in perspective.
The duration on designing and installing operational semiconductor manufacturing equipment is like building a single family home in three and a half hours or a fifteen story building in six days.
Critical factor two, the designs are incomplete, or contained errors. However teams proceeded with construction while errors and omissions were corrected. At times this compounded the cost, increased event intervals, or in some manner created a larger issue.
Critical factor three, technology disconnects. Trade contractors were selected in part for their technological Building Information Modelling or BIM capability. A contractual specification for BIM was provided by the owner. This specification itself was out of sync with technology, as were the majority of trade contractors. BIM capabilities were represented by marketing capabilities not reality.
Critical factor four, the root of it all, communication. For all practical purposes if teams improved communication the preponderance of problems would be reduced. In my opinion the largest single problem teams face is communication.
Critical factor five, delusion. Years of inefficiency, interdepartmental aggrandizement for the purposes of marketing and corporate promotion combined with a seemingly limitless budget inaccurately defined success.
Why Virtual Design & Construction – AKA BIM, (Building Information Management & IPD (Integrated Project Delivery)?
Global economic forces mandated Intel to become efficient. If large companies like Intel do not grow, or slowly morph into other lucrative businesses they are likely to parish. Individuals within CONFIDENTIAL decided to implement VDC around 2010. The results were poor, and had adverse effects on the second attempt, our attempt with Hensel Phelps as Construction Manager. Fortified with the knowledge and experience of construction technology it was elementary to see why the initial attempt could have been far more successful than it was. CONFIDENTIAL believed in VDC, learned from the experience, and sought an industry leader who could implement VDC for them.
Hensel Phelps was awarded the Construction Management contract to implement BIM and manage the schedule. As part of that contract I was given a two year employment contract with Hensel Phelps to insure their VDC success. Although as a team we experienced common learning curves, Intel far and away received colossal returns on the effort. After expenses, we are projected to have saved nearly 800 million dollars, delivering two months early. Safety was not compromised.
How? An audit and assessment was performed. It took me three months to completely understand the acronyms, design processes, file naming, and generalities of building a semiconductor fabrication facility and population it with equipment. This effort was wrought with obstacles. There was a lack of document management. Everything is Intel Confidential. It was shocking how many people don’t know more than the one simple task they may be responsible for. Locating the single point of truth on any given subject required serious effort. You would receive erroneous information and quickly learned you had to validate almost everything. Every task at hand was attached to latency.
Many things defied logic. First order of business was to educate and inform our team on everything possible. We sat in close proximity to one another and shared. Our strategy to success was research and collaborate. Ideas were evaluated, rated, prioritized and executed.
Next my single page VDC outline became our mission statement. The document clearly described the scope and execution of our BIM initiative so trade contractors, managers, and executives had a clear understanding of the objectives. An overall theme emerged from an assessment of CONFIDENTIAL, the design firms, Evergreen and M & W Zander plus all trade contractors. Strangely enough the above teams were not cohesive, united, nor well aligned on a mutually beneficial informational exchange.
No single point of verifiable truth existed. We methodically gathered and shared all the information we could access. Each person would analyze what they found and validate it with multiple sources. The group as a whole would then be advised of what the information was and where to find it when they needed it. Needless to say for weeks even months there was team interdependence, i.e. “John where did you say that UPN list was located on the server?” We encouraged a thoughtful programmatic approach to automating tasks. Software and technology was carefully applied to solve problems where error and omissions from manual processes was prevalent and costly.
Emphasis was placed on the amount of time and money was saved with any given technology implementation. This was necessary because too often users do not consider the infrastructure and training required for technology to provide dependable solutions.
The single most vital success tactic we implemented was improved communication. Singlehandedly I promoted an environment of direct and open exchanges at every level. Excessive and undisciplined email exchanges were discouraged. Face to face communication was encouraged. Walking over to a trade subcontractor office to solve a problem quickly turned out to be far more effective that written or verbal (i.e. Telephone) conversations. Use of collaboration software was strongly encouraged for situations where proximity prevented personal interactions. When cost was a factor we explained that each person with an email account of some type could receive a free thirty day trial. If they did not implement and use desktop sharing per pressure came to bear. The technical plans of what file management, translations, transformations, and software usage, was and remained a complex series of knowledge, skill, processes and resources access.
Computers and software had two generalized components, the hardware and software. Hardware challenges were budgetary for the most part. Software on the other hand required careful management on a number of levels to avoid detrimental effects to revenue and schedule. I took technical lead in assessing, planning, and implementing the required software in order to correctly open and use the multitude of authoring software in use. We documented everything possible using Microsoft word, and Camtisia Studio (Movies). There was rich use of graphics with captions. We recognized the successful widespread use of movies (Youtube) and leveraged this with heavy emphasis on movie creation and use.
As our map of the overall project, it’s resources, existing processes, and objectives came into focus we recognized a number of improvements which could save or generate revenue as well as shorten schedule durations.
Improvement one, Popout Mapping.
Semiconductor manufacturing equipment is separated into clean room or Fab and non-clean area called Subfab, by a concrete slab with openings every 24 inches. The design plans predetermine what utilities use which opening. Each opening has a specific designation so a table of what utility is occupying what opening is maintained. After the trade contractors review those designs improvements are made and the utilities move to other openings.
This was a manual process where the user read the last two characters a 3D model and deduced the openings address by appending the column grid location. It was a timely process, where many errors and omissions occurred.
We created a separate 3d file where the opening designation was a blocked attribute and thin solid which AutoCAD, Revit, Navis Manage could use a search and reporting function. Our solution removed practically all previous usability issues and greatly enhanced the reporting ability of anyone to audit what utility was in what opening.
Improvement two, Enhanced 3D laser scanning.
Our project required a laser scan management system so we developed one. We used features of the Faro Software Development Kit (SDK) with a .NET Application Program Interface (API). This program when combined with complementary AutoLISP (AutoCAD) code and a particular process provided a 3D representation of the laser scanner positions. This graphic database permitted consumers to locate a laser scan of any area by selecting the 3D object representing that scan.
We simply placed 136,000 3D representations in the 3D AutoCAD / Navis Manage coordination models. Our laser scan objects were hyperlinked to their native Faro viewer for ease of viewing. (Allows user to view “photo realistic” scan image)
Improvement three, Facility and Tool utility points of connection. While the guidelines for how to install the equipment on this project are contained and a number of places most of it is within a Location Specific Package, referred to as an LSP. Where you connect a utility to the facilities is called a Facility Point of Connection, or FPOC. The equipment connection point is the Tool Point of Connection or TPOC.
Like the Popout address referred to in improvement one, FPOC & TPOC have alphanumeric descriptions. These descriptions are in the 3D models of the facility as text. On the equipment, there are generic descriptions, again in text. Text (as of Navis version 2015) is not searchable. So we created a program to extract and convert the text contained in both facilities and equipment to a usable attribute. This allows hundreds of utility modelers to accurately locate their connections quickly.