may not stand for the Fraternal Order of Acrobats, but its members often
have to perform the equivalent of somersaults to stay competitive. The
founding companies of the recently formed Fab Owners Association (www.waferfabs.org)
want a "cooperative environment for executives to examine common manufacturing
issues and identify practical solutions," according to FOA executive
director, L.T. Guttadauro.
members—AMI, ZMD, Cypress, ON Semi, Delphi, Micrel, Fairchild, LSI
Logic, and Intersil—are not first-tier companies. Guttadauro says that
"these smaller second- and third-tier guys, running not necessarily
leading-edge technologies, found it compelling to talk to people who
were having the same issues with older fabs and older fab equipment."
has surveyed its members twice so far: the first poll sought general
info (number of fabs, wafer types/starts, etc.), while the second one
focused on what Guttadauro calls "problematic equipment.... A fab manager
looks at this database and says, 'Gee, I'm not the only one that has
equipment XYZ.... I want to talk to that other guy who has XYZ and maybe
we can do something together.... Maybe we can trade spare parts, or
I can buy his, or he can buy mine."
group is also exploring collective purchasing possibilities, although
Guttadauro says any "buying consortiums" will be formed "down the line,
as the association matures." He knows working with senior executives
from the manufacturing area is a formidable task. "What are they concerned
about? Tomorrow's output. My challenge is getting them to look at what's
on the horizon, and what's over the horizon."