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Thursday, 14 November 2013 10:58

Chips Ahoy

GlobalFoundries hosts open house

MALTA – The cars were backed up like rush hour on a NYC expressway (except for the roundabouts) as the public filled the parking lot of GlobalFoundries’ Fab 8 microchip plant at Luther Forest Technology Park on the evening of Monday, November 11. 

The occasion was the chip giants’ first ever open house that was structured to give curious onlookers an inside view of the manufacturing process. 

“It’s really a logical extension from what we had been doing for some time,” noted Jessica Kerley, communications specialist for GlobalFoundries. “We have hosted quarterly neighborhood meetings here to give resident’s updates on our construction and related subjects. During the question and answer periods, we would always get questions about how the manufacturing process worked, so we decided to refine the focus.”

Though Kerley said that they had done nothing extra to get the word out, it was obvious from the attendance that the interest was widespread. 

Kids and adults alike packed the company’s cafeteria (Global Café) whose walls were lined with several institutional ads that utilized Fab 8 which told of their involvement in the community, as well as motivational posters and flags from around the world. 

Exhibits were a combination of hands-on items and multi-media presentations. While the public never got to actually see computer chips being fabricated, they could see video of the process, and hold onto several examples of the finished product. Other videos talked about the company’s growth, which led it to upstate New York. Another exhibit displayed the nearly 40 patents that GlobalFoundries has.

By far, the largest fascination for kids of all ages was for the bunny suits and goggles that some people waited to try on for themselves. Kristy Bouillion of GlobalFoundries’ logistics department noted that the suits are worn for contamination versus cleanliness and that employees on the Fab 8 floor could not wear any makeup, which caused a few realtors to groan and decide to stick to their current occupation.

Regina Rodriquez of operations noted that though the Fab 8 floor is air conditioned to a cool temperature regardless of the time of year, the suits themselves were extremely hot and she had to adjust her clothing underneath to what most people would wear in the summer. 

Since 2009, Fab 8 has been holding regular neighborhood meetings in order to provide a unique opportunity for the company to meet with the community and provide updates on their projects. However, this was the first time they allowed the community to receive an interactive educational tour into the manufacturing facility. Given the popularity of this meeting, it seems likely the community will have many more opportunities in the future to learn about what goes on in the plant.

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