Atmel advances risk assessment

Two Atmel Corp. semiconductor manufacturing plants in Colorado Springs, CO, operate 24 hr/day, 7 days/week. Any interruption to the manufacturing process can cost from several hundred thousand to several million dollars in lost revenues. As a result, it is imperative that manufacturing support systems be fully functional with minimal downtime.


Two Atmel Corp. semiconductor manufacturing plants in Colorado Springs, CO, operate 24 hr/day, 7 days/week. Any interruption to the manufacturing process can cost from several hundred thousand to several million dollars in lost revenues. As a result, it is imperative that manufacturing support systems be fully functional with minimal downtime.

Aging facilities and equipment coupled with an increasingly severe resource-constrained environment created a need to assess the overall risk associated with individual facilities systems.

To meet the challenge, Atmel formed a task team composed of facility engineers and operations and maintenance technicians. The team first identified seven risk factors that contributed to or helped eliminate risk:

  • Overall priority of the system as it relates to mission impact

  • Facility system or utility capacity rating

  • Facility system or utility redundancy

  • System documentation, including as-built drawings and system labeling

  • Level of controls and/or alarms monitoring the system

  • Facility system or utility spare parts availability

  • Operational procedures and training.

    • Each factor was assigned a weight relative to its contribution to risk, and an algorithm was calculated for linking the factors. Using a 100-point scale, each system could then be categorized as having a low, medium, or major Risk Assessment Grade.

      A Microsoft Access database was developed for tracking all of the data as well as numerous comments for each system.

      Final step in the risk assessment process is a review of all data by facilities engineering and operations managers along with the appropriate facilities engineers. Managers decide whether to accept the rating according to the numerical scheme or to flag a system with a lower or higher risk rating. In any case, all of the original data is retained in the database.

      Through a concentrated effort of system data collection and analysis, Atmel has developed a comprehensive, prioritized roadmap for reducing facilities system risk.

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