Chipmaker: The Design Reuse Project Case Study – Management Assignment Help

The Design Reuse Project Case Study 

As Mark McLean, a good-humoured Scotsman, senior architect with Design Partners (DP), arrived to his office desk at DP headquarters in Glasgow, UK, at 8am, he looked worried. It was June 30, 2000, about 10 years since Mark had first became involved in designing semiconductor fabrication facilities (‘fabs’). He had recently been promoted to design manager: his responsibilities included co-ordinating a team of lead architects and engineers, as well as liaising with clients. At 2pm, Mark was leading a conference call with DP and Chipmaker representatives. He wanted Chipmaker to submit a priced change order instructing DP to implement a request to change the design solution of the HVM Fab.

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The design for this new fab in Spain, Bilbao, code-named HVM, was a reuse of the as-built drawings of a fab, code-named TD, whose shell had been built in Scotland, UK, two years ago and was now being tooled (Exhibit 1). The first changes affecting the HVM design dated back to the early design stages in March 2000 when Chipmaker requested various alterations to the TD as-built drawings. These included additional rooms, different uses for existing rooms (and accordingly different design criteria), and a new centralised waste management system. A few weeks later, Chipmaker and DP generated the corresponding priced change order, which the Chipmaker Change Control Board approved in April 2000. 

DP designers then tacitly assumed that other design criteria and uses for other rooms would remain unaltered. Construction for the HVM base-build structure started in June, while designers developed its fit-out design. To design the fit-out of the “Hazardous Waste Storage Solvent Room” (solvent room), designers assumed that small quantities of corrosive chemicals would be brought in and stored in small bottles. These bottles would be taken into an adjacent room where they would be open poured (*) into 50 gal drums; the drums would be moved to the hazardous material dock. Mark had learnt two weeks ago, however, that Bruce Southern ? the solvent room ‘owner’ appointed by Chipmaker ? was planning to do open pouring in the solvent room and accordingly the fit-out design needed to change.

While Mark was used to handling end-user requests to change the design, this one was special. The type and maximum quantities of chemicals stored in a room, as well as the usage conditions (open vs. close pouring), determined the room classification according to the applicable Building Code (Exhibit 2) and Electrical Code Handbook (Exhibit 3). A reclassification of the solvent room could significantly impact the design solution. Mark knew that some assumptions made by DP designers, such as assuming that no open pouring would take place in the solvent room, were not documented. He considered nonetheless that there were valid reasons explaining why those assumptions had not been written down. To prepare himself for the 2pm conference call, Mark decided to meticulously review the design change history.


In 2000, Chipmaker was a prominent semiconductor manufacturer with a few fabs spread around the world. It had been founded in the early nineties to build semiconductor memory products, and it was now a publicly listed company. It supplied the computing and communications industries with chips, boards, and systems. In 2000, Chipmaker planned to make a multi-billion pound capital investment to build up its manufacturing capacity.

Unlike Chipmaker, Design Partners (DP) was an employee-owned leading supplier of facility planning, design, construction, and ongoing support services for process-intensive technology industries. It had been established in 1974 to mainly serve private industry clients. DP workforce included architects, engineers (e.g., structural, mechanical, chemical, electrical, and industrial), and project managers for design and construction. DP had received some Top Fab Awards presented by Semiconductor International, a magazine specialising in the semiconductor industry. It nurtured a close long-term working relationship with Chipmaker. In June 2000, DP was recuperating from a downturn in fab design work that had forced it to let go some skilled staff.

In 2000, chip manufacturers worldwide, including Chipmaker, were looking for solutions to reduce the duration of fab projects (including design, construction, and tooling) to less than 18 months1. They also looked to reduce the fab construction time (defined as the number of months from the first concrete pour to when the first piece of manufacturing equipment is ready for qualification) to less than 11 months; and to reduce the time elapsed from the first concrete pour to the first full output of wafers to less than 16 months. Further, they aimed to reduce the construction time to less than 9.5 months by 2014. These were important goals for Chipmaker because the profitability of its capital projects was contingent on project speed: if Chipmaker reached the market first with a new product it could benefit from higher-priced sales and pre-empt competitors. In 2000, a fab project represented a capital investment in the order of two billion Euros: one billion in tools and another billion divided in two approximately equal shares — constructing the fab building and installing the tools inside.

Chipmaker fab projects included 6 main phases:

  • Programming: definition of fab requirements, including products to manufacture, average number of wafers to produce monthly, and preliminary list of tools; these requirements were converted into design criteria using rules of thumb and historical data.
  • Design: design of the building shell systems (e.g., civils, structural, exterior cladding, roof) and of the building core systems (e.g., mechanical, electrical, chemical, life safety, telecom, instrumentation & controls, interior partitions).
  • ’Base-build’: array of operations including preparing and excavating the site, building foundations, erecting the steel/concrete superstructure, and installing the exterior cladding and roof of the fab building.
  • ‘Fit-out’: installation of the main and lateral utility routings in the subfab (e.g., electrical cabling, pipes, Heating & Ventilating Air Conditioning [HVAC] ducts) and of walls, floors, and ceiling systems in the fab cleanroom.
  • ‘Tooling’: design of the tool-install systems, and installation of the cleanroom tools and of the subfab support equipment (e.g., vacuum pumps, heat exchangers, and gas cabinets).
  • ‘Ramp-up’: increase of the factory production up to the target production rates while fine- tuning the manufacturing processes.

A challenge in managing the fab projects was Chipmaker’s practice of overlapping the six phases for accelerating delivery (Exhibit 4). For each building system delivery, Chipmaker typically overlapped design, manufacturing, and construction phases. Across systems, it overlapped design of the fit-out systems with construction of the base-build systems. Further, it overlapped fab fit-out work and tooling, and within tooling, it overlapped design of the tool-install systems with tool installation work on site. Another managerial challenge stemmed from uncertainty in design criteria caused by unpredictable events outside the design-construction-tooling environment. Each event could cause a stream of requests to change design criteria in the project’s time, known as “design change orders.” There were three main sources of external uncertainty: The first was technological innovation. Chipmaker fabs were either for technology development (TD) or for high-volume manufacturing (HVM).

TD fabs housed pilot lines of new tools for research and development (R&D) of new chip manufacturing processes. Breakthrough innovations in R&D and/or in tooling technology were likely to affect the fab design criteria and impact the fab design-construction-tooling process. In contrast, fewer external events were likely to affect a HVM fab project because its lines of tools had already been fine-tuned in a TD fab. The delivery of a HVM fab could nonetheless be affected by external events, specially when it unfolded concurrently with the delivery of a TD fab. A second source of uncertainty related to unforeseen modifications in the forecasts of market demand for chips. Sharp modifications could force Chipmaker to change the project due dates or the planned chip production capacity, which in turn could affect the cleanroom area requirements or the number and type of tools to install in the cleanroom. The third source of uncertainty related to end-user participation in the late design stages, when Chipmaker started to recruit operating staff and allocating them ownership of fab spaces and equipment. ‘Room owners’ were likely to request changes to the fit-out design to align the space configurations with their working methods.

Chipmaker’s ‘Design Reuse’ policy
Chipmaker had limited understanding of how seemingly tiny design details influenced production yields and chip quality. This was due, first, to the numerous factors involved in chip manufacturing and fab design, and second, to the complex interdependencies between fab systems and process flows. Design complexity had increased with each technology generation As a result, Chipmaker instituted a Design Reuse policy to lessen likely drops in factory yields every time a new technology or product was developed in a TD fab and transferred to a HVM fab.

The policy stated that overarching fab designs should be reused (including equipment layouts, functional space layouts, and routing layouts down to diameters of piping and the number of bends) unless there would be a provable benefit to introducing changes. By enforcing such policy, Chipmaker aimed to match all physical inputs supplied by external sources (e.g., gas flows, temperatures, pressures, and RF power) between TD and HVM lines. To support these recommendations, Chipmaker developed a system for controlling design changes. To get a change approved, the Chipmaker project manager had to submit an audit report, code-named ‘white-paper’, to the Chipmaker Change Control Board. The Board was ultimately responsible for ensuring that the new design did not slow down the rate of technology transfer. Each white paper had to describe the change impacts and costs, assess the risks and opportunities, and develop alternative action plans.

Chipmaker attributed to the Design Reuse policy its ability to speed up technology transfer from a TD into a HVM fab, while sustaining the production yields of the TD fab. Design Reuse had reportedly brought Chipmaker major benefits in product reliability irrespective of the source fab, in flexibility to transfer products between fabs if need be, and in sharing improvements between fabs. The Design Reuse policy did not apply to TD projects neither to match TD and HVM fab design features that had no impact on the manufacturing process. Rather, Chipmaker encouraged suppliers to pursue new ideas in fab design. Changes had however to be introduced first into the TD fab and from there transferred to the HVM fab.

Business Environment
In 1999, the semiconductor industry was emerging from a long recession, which started in 1996 when the Asian financial crisis triggered a downturn in the market demand for chips. The downturn left chip manufacturers with too much production capacity and decimated their expansion plans; most manufacturers also postponed their plans to deploy 300mm-wafers in 19982 (Exhibit 5). In 1999, Chipmaker foresaw a recovery and decided to reactivate its capital program. Chipmaker also decided to step up its plans to deploy 300mm-wafers, aware of the developments meanwhile reached by tool suppliers worldwide. Semantech, an industry consortium, estimated the cost of the tool shift from €14 billion to €30 billion (2000 prices).

Hence, in 1999, Chipmaker announced to City analysts that it would start tooling the TD fab in Glasgow, UK   (originally designed to receive 200mm-wafer tools) with 300mm-wafer tools and the new copper-based technology to make 0.13-micron line circuits3 — a move estimated to cost €1.2 billion. Chipmaker also announced that it expected TD to begin deploying wafers in early 2000 and it would then roll out volume production at a HVM fab. In effect, in January 2000, Chipmaker announced the start of development of the HVM fab in Bilbao, Spain, its first HVM fab for 300mm-wafers — a €2 billion investment to design, build and tool. Chipmaker commissioned both the tooling install design and the HVM fab design to DP.

While tool suppliers, such as Applied Materials, AMAT, Hitashi, KLA Tencor Corp., Tokio Electron (TEL), Nikon, and Hitachi, started to deploy the first 300mm-wafer tools for installation at TD (around 150 major tools were expected to arrive at TD between November 1999 and October 2000), Chipmaker and DP were learning in first hand about the differences between the new 300mm-wafer and the ‘old’ 200mm-wafer tools. These differences consisted of increased height and footprint dimensions, increased weight, disproportionate increases in the requirements of the subfab area for support equipment, and increased utility consumptions (including electrical, exhaust, process cooling water, and ultra-pure water). Further, the size and weight of the wafer carriers (called Front Open Unified Pods or FOUPs) were likely to exceed the health and safety upper limits above which cleanroom staff was prohibited from  manually handling the FOUPs; 300-mm wafers were also expected to be more sensitive to shock and vibrations. To accommodate the latter requirements, Chipmaker was implementing an automated material handling system (AMHS) at TD to move the FOUPs between tools and automated stockers. Chipmaker and DP teams were, however, not clear on the full range of design modifications demanded by the new tools. In particular, they were unclear about the extent to which key parameters in the TD base-build design, such as cleanroom ceiling height, aisle width, and subfab space, would suit the requirements imposed by the 300mm-wafer and automated equipment.

History of the Design Change Order
The HVM fab design reused the as-built drawings of the TD fab. TD was already being tooled when DP started the HVM fab design. Chipmaker requested the first modifications to the HVM fab design in February/March 2000, including additional rooms, different uses for existing rooms (and accordingly different design criteria), and a new centralised waste management system (Exhibit 6). A few weeks later, DP’s design team generated the corresponding priced change order; Chipmaker approved this order in April 2000. DP designers then assumed that other design criteria and rooms uses would not change.

Construction of the HVM base-build structure started while DP’s designers were developing its fit-out design in June 2000. Designers reused the ‘as-built’ fit-out drawings of the TD solvent room, which assumed that limited quantities of disposable chemicals would be brought in and open poured into small bottles over a chemical lab-type bench with sinks topped with a ventilating hood. These bottles would be stored in the solvent room and subsequently taken out to another room, adjacent to the solvent room and to the hazardous material dock, where they would be open poured into 50 gallon drums. Open pouring inside the solvent room would therefore be in very limited quantities. This operating scenario fit with the conditions in the two national codes for a location defined as Class I, Division 2.

In the first week of June, Mark received a call from Chipmaker’s prospective room-owner for the solvent room ? Bruce Southern. Bruce wanted to check whether the solvent room fit-out design allowed for open pouring of disposable chemicals into 50 gallon drums. Bruce disliked transporting bottles with hazardous materials to a room adjacent to the hazardous material dock to dispose of the contents into larger drums. This usage regime did not fit with the new waste management philosophy  that was  planned in for the HVM fab. To accommodate Bruce’s request, DP would have to possibly reclassify the room as a Class I, Division 1. This change could significantly impact the fit-out design, including:
1. Redesign the electrical installation to be spark-proof (e.g., seal equipment and conceal motors and light switches);
2. Design stringent fire safety and telecom systems;
3. Design a special drain management system to accommodate water flowing from fire sprinklers (e.g., set of trenches and low point sinks);
4. Redesign the Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system to increase ventilation rate capacity.

On June 15, the HVM Civil/Structural/Architectural (CSA) workgroup discussed the possible design changes for the solvent room in a conference call. The meeting agenda extended over 50 items, such as queries on requests for information, updates on construction progress, definitions of design solutions, agreements on design review dates, decisions on component suppliers, and discussions on lessons learned from TD. The conference was attended by Mark representing DP’s design team at Glasgow and by 6 Chipmaker representatives located at Bilbao. Chipmaker’s team included Graham Smith, design manager; Helen Sasse, design layout co-ordinator; Michael Green, tool manager; and Ken Parker, construction manager. Chipmaker had already submitted 22 major design change orders since the project started in January. The action for Chipmaker was documented as follows:
“Hazard Waste Layout: Provide Hazards. Need meeting with room owner to verify chemical quantities. Michael Green will pursue. Hazard Waste Design due out to the contractor on 7/20/00. The hazardous waste storage area has a solvent room that is looking like a Class 1, Div. 1 space. Need to confirm chemical usage of room.”

Further, the action request log appended to the meeting minute noted:
Green: Confirm Haz. Waste chemical types and quantities for DP code analysis. Mark: Confirm chemical usage of Haz. Waste Stg. Room, before full design of Class 1, Div. 2 solvent room. This is a change from TD’s as-built drawings. Need cross discipline understanding of use of space.”

On June 20, at 6.20 PM, Taha Moka, the DP code analyst, emailed Liu Liu, the Chipmaker room user, a summary of a telephone discussion they held on the same day (the email was copied to David Eccles, DP chemical design lead):
“Here is a summary of our telephone discussion: The solvent room contains the following solvents… Can you provide the quantity of chemicals in that room, by classification if possible? It would be a significant advantage if the total quantity of Flammable 1B liquids is less than 30 gallons and total quantity of Combustible 2 liquids is less than 160 gallons.”

On June 21 at 1.20PM, Liu replied to Taha and copied to David:
“I’m still looking for the layout of the Hazwaste room but haven’t seen one. Once I get it, I’ll forward it to you. The following are the solvent systems that will be installed in the solvent room. I think the quantity of flammable and combustible chemical listed below in your e-mail message is for open container and since the solvent bottle wash sinks are relocated to the hazardous waste room and the above systems are considered closed systems, i.e., the solvents are contained inside the totes and delivered via Chemical Dispense Modules, these become irrelevant in your room classification evaluation, don’t they? Hope this helps.”

On the same day at 2.46 PM, Liu emailed again to Taha and copied to David:
“After our conversation, I realised I misunderstood your reference of the solvent room as the solvent CDM room not the solvent Hazwaste room. Anyway, I checked with my sustaining counterparts (chemical engineer and EHS rep) and confirmed that the aggregate of flammable fluctuates and can exceed 60 gals, and combustible is definitely in the 200 gals range. So I guess you know the answer. We’ll have to stick with the H1 occupancy for the Hazwaste room.”

On Friday, June 23 at 7.48 AM, Green emailed Mark informing that:
“Hope this is not too late… I talked with Vicky Susi regarding the Hazwaste storage area and here’s what I got: the area will contain corrosives and flammables in quantities of no more than 55 gallons at a time; chemical drums are shipped out every 90 days; typical quantities are 10-15 gallons; typical chemicals are …; there is some open chemical pouring in the sinks. Hope it helps, let me know if you need more info.”

manually handling the FOUPs; 300-mm wafers were also expected to be more sensitive to shock and vibrations. To accommodate the latter requirements, Chipmaker was implementing an automated material handling system (AMHS) at TD to move the FOUPs between tools and automated stockers. Chipmaker and DP teams were, however, not clear on the full range of design modifications demanded by the new tools. In particular, they were unclear about the extent to which key parameters in the TD base-build design, such as cleanroom ceiling height, aisle width, and subfab space, would suit the requirements imposed by the 300mm-wafer and automated equipment.

Read the ‘Chipmaker The Design Reuse Project (A)’ case study available in Moodle immediately under the assessment brief and provide answers to the FOUR (4) questions immediately after the case study text.

Part -A 
Please answer the following FOUR (4) questions:

Question Al. Draw the full network for the ‘normal’ project timescale, including any free floats and highlighting the critical path. This must be done as a network diagram. 

  • You should draw your network using full British Standard (0S6079) Activity on node (AON) convention.
  • If you are using software, then Visio, Excel, PowerPoint or the drawing tools in Word are recommended. Please don’t use MS Project for this activity.
  • A hand-drawn diagram scanned-I / screenshot into the main document are equally acceptable, but please make sure it is clear, tidy and legible.

Question A2. Provide a full cost/time slope table for all the activities. (15 marks) Page limit: ‘A side A4

Question A3. Evaluate the crashing options that might be available to Remus for the project. Identify your preferred ‘crashing’ solution. Explain your methodology and the rationale for your choice of solution3. 

Question A4. Show your final solution, including free floats and critical path highlighted. You may do this as either a revised network diagram or table. 

  • If a table is given, you should include all of the information that would be included on the nodes of a network.
  • TIPS on Approach for Part A:
  • mYou should draw your network using full British Standard (0S6079) Activity on node (AON) convention.
  • If you are using software, then Visio, Excel, PowerPoint, or the drawing tools in Word are recommended. Please don’t use MS Project for this activity.
  • A hand-drawn diagram scanned-I / screenshot into the main document are equally acceptable, but please make sure it 11 01015, tidy, and legible.

Part B- 
Please answer the following FOUR (4) questions:

Question Bl. In what ways can a PESTLE analysis be useful to a project manager? Evaluate the Design Reuse project’s external environment using PESTLE. 

Question B2. Chipmaker employed a project strategy of overlapping phases to manage its ‘fab’ projects [see Exhibit 4]. In your opinion, is this a good way to manage Chipmaker’s lab’ projects (or not)? Explain the reasons for your view, citing potential advantages and potential limitations of this approach. 

Question B3. Assume that Chipmaker will continue to use the ‘Design Reuse’ approach with the overlapping of phases for the development of its future ‘fa bs’. State improvements to scope management practices that you would recommend be implemented on future ‘fabs’ projects. Briefly state the reasons for your views. 

Question B4. Assume that Graham Smith has been asked to prepare a White Paper making the case for the design change [Page 8]. You are a member of Chipmaker’s Change Control Board. What key criteria would you consider when evaluating the change? Relate your points to the case situation. 

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