Anyone familiar with the semiconductor industry knows Moore’s Law. What started as a historical observation became the technology driver for the entire industry, and the industry has delivered to the exponential expectation for 50 years since it was first penned. But unlike a natural law, Moore’s law is enabled by the combined ingenuity and hard work of the individuals within the industry to continuously improve processes and methods on an increasingly accelerated time scale.
Engineered Software, Inc. has had the privilege of working with the facilities engineering team of a major silicon manufacturer to meet the demands driven by Moore’s law while moving faster and delivering lower cost solutions. Newer technologies often drive an increase in utility consumption, and the engineering team needed a more precise way to extract everything possible out of the existing infrastructures before implementing costly capital expansions. Before this alternative became the reality, design teams would use manual calculations in Excel spreadsheets to analyze systems and their distributions. These manual methods did not provide the speed to keep up with the factory’s new “warp speed,” nor the precision necessary for engineers to be confident in operating their systems to within 95% of actual capability. This required a change in modeling methodology so the engineering teams could assess changes accurately, affordably, and with increased velocity.
The manufacturer put a plan of action in place. Working with ESI, they formed a work group to standardize PIPE-FLO® Professional as their tool of choice for hydraulic systems analysis and jointly developed templates and consistent methodologies for its use. Internally they worked diligently to document, communicate, and implement strategic objectives across multiple sites. PIPE-FLO® models were used as the basis for affordability discussions with factory personnel. Using this new methodology contributed to substantial cost avoidance and savings on their mechanical and process systems, where PIPE-FLO® alone saved $5 million on a single project. To date, the manufacturer has confirmed savings of $30 million with PIPE-FLO® Professional, because they increased the precision of their analysis and identified opportunities for both extracting more performance out of existing systems as well as determining and realizing the maximum benefit from the smallest possible modifications. Utilizing PIPE-FLO® Professional gave engineers, management, and the factory confidence to shift from a complete replacement strategy to a modification strategy by reducing the uncertainty that would have otherwise driven more costly and unnecessary implementations.
To ensure process consistency, the manufacturer and ESI also collaborated on developing customized PIPE-FLO® training material, used to train over 150 employees, both in the US and abroad. This training, coupled with standard base models of common systems, have enabled an engineer to generate a gap analysis in an afternoon or less – something which previously would have taken three to five engineers six weeks or more per system.
Prior to PIPE-FLO®, their engineering teams around the globe found it difficult to deliver projects on demand, on schedule, and on budget, due to the level of detail available concerning the operation of their systems. With PIPE-FLO® Professional integrated into their processes, combined with specialized education, the facilities engineers have detailed, correlated models of their systems and can rapidly, accurately, and confidently predict the impact of changes in factory demands on their facilities, responding quickly and with the lowest possible impact to processes and costs.