New York is getting ready for construction to begin on the Micron plant in Clay, Onondaga County. It's expected to start, pending approval of the environmental review process, which could take place near the end of next year.
With an increasing number of manufacturing projects across the state, construction companies must familiarize themselves with new building systems and needs. Cleanrooms, used in the pharmaceutical industry as well as in the manufacturing of computer chips, require specialized systems to protect the process.
“Today, we’re here to talk about cleanrooms to help train the workforce and expose them to pieces and parts,” said Roger Zaccour, a cleanroom specialist for StarkTech.
Zaccour knows what it takes to keep a clean room, well, clean. He’s an expert in engendered solutions like specialized wall panels.
“If you wanted to turn that dirty piece of plywood into a clean room, you could put this on and screw the panel down," he explained. "The next panel comes in and now you have a clean surface instead of a piece of plywood.”
Zaccour visits companies like LeChase Construction in Syracuse, where he taught employees about different products, from wall panels to HVAC systems.
In the semiconductor world, facilities like Micron's yet-to-be-built plant in the town of Clay need to keep particles out, because even one can damage highly sensitive silicon wafers.
“You are going to find as you do jobs, that is the hardest thing to do, to create a sealed, negative pressure Plenum up above the room in which you have no leakage,” Zaccour said.
LeChase leadership says the training will expand their expertise.
“We see these training opportunities as a way to increase the knowledge base for not only our employees, but for our employees to be able to go talk to clients about what’s possible out there,” said Lee Sommerman, senior vice president at LeChase.
There’s good reason for it.
Wolfspeed recently opened a chip fab plant in Oneida County, and Micron is gearing up for their facility and has expressed their intention to do the job with local companies.
“We certainly are interested and at this point, time will tell," Sommerman said. "But we will continue to remain interested, and we’ve been doing our homework now for a couple years.”
Zaccour said it’s his job to help Central New York companies do their homework.
“In the semiconductor, pharmaceutical, optics, geospatial, all of the different arenas, Central New York is very rich with opportunity, so my goal is to increase that opportunity and execute it and help my teammates,” he said.