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Cutting Edge Semiconductor Facility In An Old Building On A High Floor?


A VEC site evaluation for an architectural firm helped make a challenging space work for vibration sensitive semiconductor tools for a new manufacturing program.  During the site evaluation, VEC identified several sources of vibration that would be problematic for the planned toolset.  These sources included the location within the building and old air handlers and facility support equipment.  The VEC engineer worked with the architect to stiffen the floor and provided recommendations to reduce local vibration sources.  Also, VEC provided the facilities teams with active isolation system options for their specific toolset.

Problem Overview:

A semiconductor company is moving vibration sensitive tools into a 50-year-old office building.  The end user will use this facility as the core of a new semiconductor manufacturing program.  In addition to the challenges of an older building and vibration sensitive semiconductor equipment, the location is on a high floor!  For this reason, an architectural firm hired VEC to assess the facility before the move to determine feasibility and make recommendations as required.

VEC Support Provided:

VEC conducted a thorough vibration and stiffness survey using both published VC curves and unique manufacturer specifications.  The results of this testing provided the client with both a general understanding of the relative vibration level throughout the location and if a specific site worked for a planned tool.  To achieve this, VEC collected vibration and stiffness data at over 20 points throughout the 5000 square foot facility.

Key Insights:

VEC identified several factors that would impact vibration sensitive semiconductor tools in the facility and challenge the planned manufacturing program.  These include:

  • Outdated air handlers without the isolation systems, maintenance, and ducting required for sensitive semiconductor tools and equipment.
  • The facility is located on a higher floor making building resonances problematic at lower frequencies.
  • Horizontal floor movement due to local conditions surround the building


The project is still ongoing, but the client is on a path towards making this space work for their needs.

  • Provided recommendations to architects and general contractors to improve the stiffness of floor and structure
  • Worked with tool manufacture, facilities managers, and isolation table vendors to identify active isolations systems to mitigate low-frequency vibration
  • Provided detailed recommendations to facility owner to remediate air handers and other sources of vibration in the facility
Vibration Reduction for Sensitive Instruments