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Water sustainability

01 December 2005 | By Mark Osborne | White Papers > Edition 28, EHS

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Pablo Ruiz, Texas Instruments


Benjamin Franklin once said, “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” It only takes some poor planning of an outdoor summer activity in Texas to recognize the validity of his statement. In the North Texas area, progressive municipal and industrial growth, increasing utility rates, limited water supplies and environmental stewardship are motivating cities and companies to minimize their demand on our natural resources. Texas Instruments is no exception. As the largest single water consumer in Dallas, TI is always working to reduce and reuse the water it requires and minimize the amount of waste generated. In the first quarter of 2004, TI began design of its new wafer fabrication facility in Richardson, Texas, five miles north of the main Dallas campus. Due to the business pressure from overseas manufacturing companies and their significant labor cost advantage, we had to re-examine how to competitively build and operate this new facility. We reconsidered all of our old paradigms of how we should build a wafer fab. We evaluated many existing fabs and how they were designed. We looked into innovative retrofits to existing TI fabs as well. Because 80 per cent of the operational costs are fixed by the design, we looked at all the options from a holistic view. By the end of the design process we determined that we could build a competitive fab while reducing first costs and ongoing operational costs. In this article I will be discussing some of these design elements in TI’s newest fab we now call RFAB. They will include improvements to the high-purity deionized water system, the industrial wastewater treatment systems and the city water system. I will also discuss some other areas that have been refined to improve overall performance of the facility. In some cases these ideas are a result of out-of-the-box thinking. However, many of the ideas represent a culmination of lessons learned and innovations at fabs throughout TI. 

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