Re: Just 13 minutes
Thank you, very nice writeup, focused around semiconductor manufacturing. Not sure how many readers here understand wafer fabrication. I happen to have a distant interest in that kind of thing, long ago, and more recently a bit of involvement back in the days of Silicon Glen in the late 20th century. How many other folks can relate to it?
Do lots of people here remember how vehicle manufacturing plants/factories work? Can anyone come up with a corresponding example? I'll make a start, based on my experience of a few in the UK.
'Raw' materials (and/or subassemblies etc) come in, get processed, and increase massively in value as they go through the various stages.
The environment in a modern car engine plant (for example BMW Hams Hall) is quite clean relative to their predecessors (Ford Bridgend (RIP)? )but even the new ones are easy peasy in comparison with a semiconductor fabrication plant.
Imagine the cost of an 'incident' at somewhere like Hams Hall, which contaminates the factory atmosphere or the production plumbing (dust, solvent vapour, other contaminants/FOD, etc). Everything in the factory at the time needs to be inspected and either cleaned (machinery) or rejected (work in progress). Same goes for production line paint shop. And so on.
It's potentially days/weeks of downtime, corresponding loss of revenue, and so on. Cars with no engines don't sell real well, and the cult of JIT means that these things are built to order not to stock, so the picture is bigger than just the engine plant or paint shop or whatever..Customers badly affected will go elsewhere (not always easy to do *that* in the chip business these days).
This isn't like closing an airport for a few hours because the baggage handling systems got confused due to power supply disruption.
This isn't even like stopping a PCB assembly line, throwing the dubious product away, and resuming from basically where the line left off.
The economics (and hard-vacuum physics and chemical engineering and control software and ...) of a wafer fabrication factory are probably not found in many other manufacturing sectors.