During my time over in Taiwan last week for the Computex 2001 computer expo, I was given the opportunity by Scott Thirlwell of ABit to attend a tour of their factory with other media from around the world. After meeting with ABit and other media in the stunning Hyatt foyer in the morning, we all hopped onto a nice big bus for our trip to the ABit fab which is located about an hour and a half out of the hectic city center of Taipei. On the way to the fab, we passed Taipei's "Silicon Valley" which I'm told many motherboard manufactures (including ABit) are in the process of moving their headquarters to - This place is much more spacious and modern than most other areas of Taipei.
I have to say the area in which the fab is located really did surprise me. The aftereffects of the costly earthquakes from a couple years are still very evident. Half standing buildings with parts of rooms showing from the street and dodgey roads are defiantly an eye opener, nothing I would have expected that's for sure.
The tour started at the entrance of the ABit fab, go figure. After climbing a couple stories of steps, we were all given plastic covers to place over our shoes. Once that was all ok, we all entered the first level where ABit TH7 (Intel Pentium 4 platform) motherboards were being manufactured by 60 or so ABit staff performing various functions along the assembly line.
One of the first things which I noticed was the extensive amounts of empty PCB motherboards laying around in black boxes ready to have chips and what not placed on them by ABit's impressive machinery, more on that later. Speaking of this impressive machinery, in the picture below we can see chips being placed on the motherboard, this machine does it's thing so fast - it's amazing how accurate it can be while placing parts on the motherboard that quickly.
Further down the assembly line we can see another machine placing more chips onto the motherboard's PCB. Those tapes you see in the picture above are feeding the machine with chips which are attached to the motherboard with solder. After all the chips have been placed on the motherboard, it runs through an oven type device where the chips are hardened to the motherboard.