Friday, October 27, 2006

Jazz Fab Tour

Our group (operations finance, cost accounting, and purchasing) went on a tour of Jazz Semiconductor this afternoon. Jazz used to be part of Rockwell, then part of Conexant, spun off by Conexant, and last month merged with Acquicor in a $260M deal. Interestingly, officers of Acquicor include Steve Wozniak (founder of Apple) and Gilbert Amelio (Apple CEO from 1994 to 1997).

Jazz building on Jamboree Road. I think a semiconductor fabrication plant is the last thing you would expect to find in Newport Beach.

The tour was pretty quick. The director of process engineering showed us a display of their 200mm 0.25um process then took us on a window tour (looking through windows) of their production line. Since the fab is older, they still had class 10 clean rooms which means we could not go in without a clean suit. Newer fabs, like the Chartered fab we visited last year in Singapore, had machines that maintained its own clean environment internally so the rest of the fab did not need to be as clean which is much cheaper to operate. The fab runs 24 hours with two 12 hour shifts and they work 7 days every two weeks. I'm not sure how they make money operating out of Newport Beach and even though they're a separate entity, a lot of Jazz's business still comes from Conexant/Mindspeed/Skyworks.

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