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Intel admits manufacturing Achilles' Heel

Needs water and electricity but depends on utilities. Debate on Greek names ramps up...

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When we had our trip of Intel's Albuquerque fab earlier this year, we were somewhat alarmed when our guide said the local authorities had complained about its use of water. Albuquerque, being one mile high and in a desert, does not have a limitless supply of H2O and fab plants drink millions of gallons of the stuff. With this in mind, we took care on our trip round the fab to look out for backup plans, in case water or electricity should fail. Markus Pfeffinger, from Tom's Hardware Page, was also scouting round for the same things. "I'm looking at this factory from a military point of view," he said. Now we discover, from the Form 10-K (Annual Report) Intel filed to the US Securities and Equities Commission (SEC), that it is indeed as vulnerable as we feared. These paragraphs, in particular, attracted our interest: "The Company does not generally maintain facilities that would allow it to generate its own electrical or water supply in lieu of that supplied by utilities. To the extent possible, the Company is working with the infrastructure suppliers for its manufacturing sites, major subcontractor sites and relevant transportation hubs to seek to better ensure continuity of infrastructure services. "Contingency planning regarding major infrastructure failure generally emphasizes planned increases in inventory levels of specific products and the shift of production to unaffected sites. By the end of 1999, Intel expects to have in place a buffer supply of finished goods inventory and is evaluating where to locate inventory geographically in light of infrastructure concerns. "In addition, multiple plants engage in similar tasks in the Intel system, and production can be expanded at some sites to partially make up for capacity unavailable elsewhere. Although overall capacity would be reduced, it is not expected that the entire production system would halt due to the unavailability of one or two facilities." So why does Intel locate its big fabs in places where there's a shortage of water? ® See also Fab 11 contradicts ancient Chinese wisdom Intel makes The Register sweat Intel makes The Register sweat II Intel makes The Register sweat III Intel makes The Register sweat IV

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