The Devil Is In The Details
||Analysis Of The Physics
The success with which the concept is translated into a design
hinges upon the designers ability to comprehend the physics involved.
No concept, no matter how brilliantly contrived can
survive unless it conforms to reality. Everything on earth has to exist in a 1 g
field so it must withstand it's own weight. At least half the semiconductor
equipment components are exposed to vacuum which subjects the components to 1 atmosphere
of pressure. Concurrently every component in that vacuum cannot rely upon
convective heat transfer for cooling or for heating.
The figure is taken from a stress analysis M4 did for a
civil engineering firm which was designing rail cars for roller coasters. This is
representative of the level of detail necessary to successfully tailor a concept to
survive in the real world.
Environmentally Friendly But Not A Friendly
The concept, no matter how robustly translated into a
design will fail given the right hostile environment. Nature is subtle for in some
cases failure will occur only in ambient conditions.
The semiconductor equipment industry is notable for
creating environments essential for semiconductor fabrication but inimical to the survival
of many metals and plastics. An interesting example is the use of HF to clean
chambers. A popular design for this environment would use an unalloyed aluminum.
The HDA for a disk drive, on the other hand, may be
subject to ambient conditions. The level of particulate contamination, however, may
cause a head crash. Materials that outgas and kinematic components which create
particles are render any well-intentioned concept inoperative. This piece of
aluminum tooling, for example, was hard anodized to reduce particulate formation.
Time Is Money
Who remembers the runner up? All the physics and
engineering expertise in the world can't help the product that cannot get to market before
Project management can help but it is useless without an
eye for details. Anyone can load a project model into MS Project or Timeline but who
is experienced enough to know all the steps to market? ...... who has been burned by all
the pitfalls? ...... who can see all the ramifications even a simple change will have on a
step a few month's down the critical path?
details ...... details
Someone has to
convert the design into a language the machine shop or the PCB fab can understand.
Someone has to sweat the difference between flat and parallel or coplanar. Someone
has to know when a ground plane is necessary in a PCB. Someone has to be able
to bias a transistor or put the glue logic in place ..... ASICs don't do everything.
Play It Again Sam?
It's SOP on the fast track in Silicon Valley to blitz
through a design, get the hardware out to Comdex or SEMICON and generate the sales to make
the ipo look attractive. Be careful of what you wish .... it might come true.
Sales are useless if you cannot deliver a consistent
product. This is where product documentation comes in. It may be
mind-numbing detail but there has to be a parts list, a wire list, a top-level assembly,
subassemblies and a drawing tree to pick your way thought the forest of detail.
M4 is discreet. There are no
photographs on this web site or in our literature. All designs are shown only as
general representations with key details left out or distorted.
Our client list is not disclosed. The
only names used here or in our literature are for generic pieces of equipment that have
become an industry standards like a "Blanchard" grind or "Winchester"
drive technology or for equipment used in conjunction with these designs, such as test
mean 8 weeks ARO?
If you can't buy or make it, you can't sell
it. M4 has dealt with vendors in Silicon Valley since the 60's. We know all
the players and their capacities and limitations. There is also an entire world
beyond the San Andreas and Hayward faults where the internet has solved the chronic
problem of our bulging catalogue files. M4 has maintained an extensive bookmark
library of scientific and engineering sources as well as subscribed to various database on
the web such as the Thomas Register.
Follow up keeps a vendor from missing a
date. We think on our feet and can respond to unplanned events while keeping all the
balls in the air.
While the designs on
this page represent functioning products, several details in each case have been deleted
or altered to protect the client.
for technical problems viewing this page
please contact email@example.com
This page was last modified on 2/3/99 11:00:00