Print 14 comment(s) - last by geddarkstorm.. on Jun 9 at 5:02 PM

An explosion struck Intel's chipmaking facilies in central Arizona.  (Source: Google Maps)

The explosion led to four employees being hospitalized.  (Source: Fox 11 AZ)
Cause of explosion is unknown

An explosion on Tuesday rocked Intel Corp.'s Fab 22, a semiconductor manufacturing facility located near Chandler, Arizona.

The explosion comes just weeks after a tragic explosion at a Chinese plant owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd. (2317) subsidiary Foxconn.  The Chinese plant was being used to manufacture Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad 2 at the time, and has since reopened.  The incident claimed three lives as fires and secondary explosions raged for some time after the incident.

By contrast the damage at the Intel fab was limited by high tech safety systems.  Seven workers were in the room when the explosion occurred and six were outside of it. Fire controls kicked in, as designed, limiting the extent of the damage.

The employees were evacuated for precautionary purposes, but there was no major damage to the Fab or disruption of production.  One worker was taken to the local Maricopa Medical Center with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. Two others were transported to local hospitals immediately after the incident with less serious injuries. And a fourth worker was hospitalized later in the day.

Workers inside the fab room wore protective face shields, aprons, and gloves.  This stands in contrast to workers at Chinese assembly plants that often have minimal protection.

The protective measures are important as the fab, like many, deals with toxic and/or flammable compounds, such as concentrated hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and ammonium hydroxide.

Josh Walden, Intel's vice president and general manager for fab sort manufacturing, released a statement commenting, "We’re trying to ascertain what happened. All we know is that there was no damage or release of chemicals to the community."

The room where the explosion occurred was a solvent treatment room.  Intel uses chemical solvents, like the aforementioned chemicals, to carry out parts of its semiconductor manufacturing process.  After use, these compounds are treated before being shipped to a toxic waste disposal facility.  It is believed that the workers were just starting to treat a batch of solvents when the explosion occurred.

Firefighters arrived at the building at 2 p.m., with employees being cleared to return inside by 3:30 p.m.  

Intel would not speculate on what the financial costs of the damage would be.  However, based on Mr. Walden's comments, it appears that the damage was minimal and localized to the solvent treatment room, so this should not be a major setback for Intel.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Intel is Safe and Green
By subG on 6/8/2011 3:17:21 PM , Rating: 1
In addition to having really good safety measures and protecting their employees. They are also the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy certificates (aka carbon credits).

Sounds like they desire a "Green" company stamp.

RE: Intel is Safe and Green
By lagomorpha on 6/8/2011 11:42:51 PM , Rating: 5
They're probably just trying to pay the world back for all the global warming the Pentium 4s caused.

RE: Intel is Safe and Green
By Samus on 6/8/2011 11:44:57 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't buying carbon credits actually mean they're less "green?"

I thought carbon credits are things companies buy when they're overpolluting and need to basically 'pay' to offset their pollution.

RE: Intel is Safe and Green
By BSMonitor on 6/9/2011 10:08:21 AM , Rating: 2
Did you even read anything from his link?

Do they really care?
By Daemyion on 6/8/2011 2:55:07 PM , Rating: 5
What a huge disparity between the Foxconn incident and the Intel one.

How can firms, with some of the largest margins in manufacturing, continue to keep outsourcing to places like Foxconn is beyond me.

Not only that but the fact that they still maintain a "green" badge in public perception as well...

RE: Do they really care?
By MonkeyPaw on 6/8/2011 5:45:11 PM , Rating: 2
Well, its not completely an apples to apples comparison. Foxconns plant assembled iPads, which is probably not as big a bomb shelter as a CPU Fab. Those fabs have to be very very stable locations since the slightest movement will ruin production. This means lots of reinforcement, safety checks, and isolation. There's probably very limited access as well.

Still, it's probably no doubt true that safety corners were cut at Foxconn, and no expense was spared at Intel. Cheap always comes at a price. Unfortunately, we don't often realize that others sometimes pay it.

RE: Do they really care?
By semo on 6/9/2011 11:37:01 AM , Rating: 2
How do you know that Intel's own brand motherboards are not made in the same shoddy factories as the ipad. I don't think Intel manufactures motherboards.

New Secret CPU
By gevorg on 6/8/2011 4:26:56 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe Intel is testing new CPUs that explode if you try to overclock them. :)

RE: New Secret CPU
By Farfignewton on 6/8/2011 4:45:31 PM , Rating: 3
AMD would have a field day with that.

Then NEW Athlon X.P. Explosion Proof.

Close one
By Schadenfroh on 6/8/2011 3:29:57 PM , Rating: 2
I was at Intel's Chandler, AZ facility for a job interview last week, looks like I missed the incident by only a handful of days.

Glad no one was killed.

RE: Close one
By SilthDraeth on 6/8/2011 8:11:54 PM , Rating: 2
Good luck at the interview. I know you are a boon to the PC Security portion of Anandtech!

Wrong Headline
By roastmules on 6/9/2011 11:40:36 AM , Rating: 1
Intel kicks employees out for an hour and a half during a minor fire at a fab causes which no damage

Explosion "rocks" plant contradicts the article which states "no damage".

RE: Wrong Headline
By geddarkstorm on 6/9/2011 5:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously there was damage as people were hospitalized. I think they mean "no damage" as in no structural damage which could lead to toxic material getting into the community.

Solvents are very nasty things -- probably a significant portion of the stuff in that room was toasted, but due to Intel having apparently great safety measures, it was limited just to that room and no one died. Thank goodness.

By icanhascpu on 6/8/2011 2:32:25 PM , Rating: 1
Damn you Apple!! ...wait

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki