IM Flash Technologies, LLC (IM Flash) manufactures innovative semiconductor products in Lehi, Utah. Utah is the second driest state in the country and water resources are limited. The semiconductor manufacturing process is water-intensive. Each wafer that is produced goes through a series of cleaning steps dependent on ultra-pure water. IM Flash generates ultra-pure water from a combination of recycled water from our operations and local raw water resources.
The foundation for IM Flash’s water conservation efforts is the Environmental Policy statement which is established by top leadership. The policy states that IM Flash strives to “conserve natural resources and reduce environmental impacts from our operations.” IM Flash proactively manages water consumption by identifying opportunities to increase water use efficiency and reduce raw water demand. For example, post-production water from our manufacturing process is redirected to our water purification systems for reuse in production, or to ancillary activities such as water scrubbers, boilers or manufacturing equipment that does not require ultra-pure water.
A key factor in our ability to manage water use is the measurement of water flows throughout the process. While the majority of water use is consumed in the semiconductor manufacturing process, water is also used to water landscape, provide drinking water, control air pollution, reject heat from manufacturing tools, and generate steam for heating and ventilation purposes as well as humidification of the manufacturing clean room air. Measurement of water flows throughout the facility provides information to facilities engineers that are then able to manage water use in all areas. Based on the management principle of what gets measured gets managed and what gets managed improves, IM Flash records daily water flows and generates metrics which are reviewed and reported regularly. These metrics provide data for demonstrating or driving continuous improvement efforts in water conservation.
During calendar year 2016, IM Flash recycled water at a rate of 35%. The quantity of recycled water was equivalent to the annual water use of a large industrial facility. Additionally, IM Flash saved electrical energy costs and associated indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with the potential pumping of additional raw water since the primary source of IM Flash’s water is groundwater pumped from private wells.
Water use is critical to the success of IM Flash. For this reason, water conservation efforts play a significant role when considering corporate responsibility and sustainability of our operations.