Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Yesterday, when I was Mad

It's been a weird week at work. My job is a mix of sustaining work and project work. I normally have well behaved tools that let me go about working on my projects. But this week, every single tool I have has acted up. Most of them have been out of service all week. This, in 24/7 manufacturing, is what they call not good. There's a limited amount of stuff I can do - I can help diagnose, troubleshoot, and theorize fixes. I don't actually get to reprogram the handler, rip out and replace the guts, use the winch to lift heavy things, and actually fix my tools. On one hand, there's a little bit of "it's my problem but it's not my fault" going through my head telling me that I shouldn't be overly concerned about how this looks aside from my project deadlines being pushed out by a week. On the other hand, I need to figure out how much of this is preventable and institute appropriate measures. Or at least help by providing a compiled listing of how we manged to fix various equipment woes.

Some days, I'm pretty zen about things. This week, I was not so zen. I threw a bit of a hissy fit at one point when a production lot got loaded on the tool I'd put down for breaking wafers, just as I went in the fab to run a handling check. We have a computer tracking system that will disable lots (a batch of stuff to process) from being tracked into a tool if that equipment is down. Well. Everyone in the whole building, I thought, was aware that I'd planned to run handling tests tuesday morning. Everyone but the guy who loads the tool apparently. His supervisor knew, his boss knew, their bosses knew, my boss knew, my boss's boss knew. The 35 people packed into our 15 minute morning meeting where we prioritize things like this knew. But the little guy? Apparently no one told him. (I didn't because I'm supposed to tell the Lead, which I did. The Lead then tells whomever has been assigned to the area that day which can be up to 4 people and can vary from day to day.) And then the computer tracking system, 4 minutes after I put the equipment down, flagged the tool for a regular maintenance event and put it in a state that allows trackins. Gah!

The combination of the two events (lack of communication, change in equipment status) meant that when I showed up to run a test, someone had just started a 3 hour run. I unloaded it, yeah, but then I had to write up a rework plan, and by the time I got the first test started, it was time to go to the dentist. So the engineer who volunteered to watch the tool while I got my teeth cleaned was the one who found the problem. I'm glad the problem was found, but I kind of wish it was me who found it. Not enough to reschedule the dentist appt at the last minute, but still. Of course, then after fixing the problem, the tool still needed the regular maintenance work, then it devised a new and more troublesome way to break wafers so it's still down.

Then the other tool like this one had a little bit of a water-on-the-floor-next-to-high-voltage incident. It didn't take the tool down or cause electrocution, but did require cleanup time. A whole different tool went down for a different handling problem, then when it came back up, went down for a vacuum problem...just when I'd gone into the fab to run an experimental lot. My fourth and final tool is only partially released to production, but has been down for weeks now because we have been unable to find the source of a leak. It turns out that they didn't ever do a leak back rate on this chamber (I that they had.) Then I ran one and the bad chamber leaked up almost 2 decades higher than the other two chambers and I still got people asking if that was a problem. Yes! Yes it is. E-4 torr is not acceptable vacuum when it should be E-7 or even E-8.

So. Hisssy fit city. I did better with that today.

To turn that frown upside down:
Good: I have beautiful new tags to put on my glasswork.
Bad: I get to spend the evening at Kink.os.
Good: People seem to like having the professional looking tags and I like doing that little touch extra to make the whole package work.
Bad: I ran out of tags and sent out a bunch of stuff without them.
Good: I have no cavities and I like my dentist.
Bad: I immediately got meat stuck between my teeth after they cleaned them all up for me.
Good: The stuff with my equipment is not my fault.
Bad: The stuff with my equipment is my responsibility.
Good: Our company has pulled in more orders. Our stock price went up. I still have a job for the forseeable future.
Good: I have been selling enough glass to afford to make more.
Good: I think I found the good berillium green glass color that I've been turning the interwebs upside down to find. Just in case it's not the right one, I bought some backup color that looks a lot like it from the color chips. And it should all be here friday.

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