It was the most expensive road traffic accident of all time. Engineers had removed 24 screws and didn't document them, and so the following day the US weather satellite NOAA-N Prime came loose from its base while being transported and hit the concrete floor with an almighty crash. This minor discrepancy cost manufacturer Lockheed 135 million dollars in repairs, and delayed the launch by several years.
Mario's job is to make sure these things don't happen. He's a Move-IN project manager at the ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology segment. He and his team are responsible for machines from the loading ramp to their destination. They organize the delivery with all necessary media and hand over the system to the production staff. They safely transport an average of three to four machines to their destination every week. "Right now we're transporting many more because we're setting up production capacities for EUV lithography at ZEISS. We look after all the machines that weigh one ton or more," says Mario. These may be small annealing furnaces, particle measuring machines or plasma chambers, as well as large etching equipment or large-scale CNC tool machines. Depending on their weight and dimensions, all they need is a forklift, and large systems are moved by heavy load rolls. Complex systems usually come in several pieces and are put together by the manufacturer with the support of the Move-IN team.
Since many machines will later be deployed in cleanrooms, they're initially taken to a chamber to be unboxed and recleaned. "Cleaning is an art unto itself. We rely on external companies to help us in this regard. Our job is to remove every last speck of dust and surface impurity no matter how minor," explains Mario. That's why he's worked with physicists and chemists armed with cleaning cloths and vacuum cleaners. Following cleanliness acceptance, the next step takes place in the production hall before it's shipped to its final destination. Various teams then take over, to supply the machine with whatever it needs: compressed air, gases, hydraulic oil, supply and wastewater, or data cables.
"It usually only takes a day to transport the goods," says Mario. "The planning, preparations, coordination with machine and hall operators, as well as manufacturers and developers, may take several weeks. I'm a coordinator, a contact person and a problem-solver. If people's plans or needs change, I ensure that everyone can work together effectively." So what else could go wrong? Mario thinks about this: "We haven't dropped anything yet. Actually we're concerned with late deliveries, local conditions, and sometimes with cables that are either too long or too short. So, nothing that we couldn't have quickly dealt with by working as a team."
After graduating as an industrial engineer, Mario initially worked as a project manager in machine construction – with a focus on retrofitting. But there's something he finds even more exciting than working on old machines, and that's working on new and future-oriented technologies. What was his Move-IN d) like? Mario smiles as he recalls it: "My boss met me at the gates, introduced me to the team and showed me to my workstation. Many of my new colleagues' details were already saved to my computer. So typically ZEISS: I was involved right from the start, everyone worked as a team and information flowed freely. It's natural for us to help each other out across our divisional boundaries."
Mario has been working as Move-IN project manager for one year. And he's optimistic about his future: "The rapid growth of the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology segment is opening up excellent new opportunities for the team members." ZEISS helps young specialists through targeted promotion and professional training and assigns professional and personal responsibility early on. But that's also typically ZEISS: in the last few months Mario was on parental leave so for this time he was only focusing on rocking his son in his stroller.