ASML is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chip-making equipment. Headquartered in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, ASML employs more than 21,000 people.
I need to know a system intimately to get it up and running at the customer site as fast as possible. So my job starts during system integration at our headquarters in Veldhoven. During that time I have to get to know the system and learn about its behaviour. Then the system is disassembled into modules for shipping. I fly to the customer site and callibrate the machine according to customers specifications.
I work closely with colleagues from the local ASML organization. I bring my knowledge and experience of the specific machine; they bring their knowledge and experience of the specific customer. Systems are continuously getting more and more complex, so they take longer to install. But customers want them installed and working faster and faster. So the time pressure is always growing, but you get used to it. We work in shifts around the clock until the job is done, so good communication is vital to avoid unnecessary delays.
There are people back at headquarters who can support me with specific modules if I need it. But I'm the one on the spot if anything goes wrong. And given the tight deadlines, you can't keep stopping to get advice. Our procedures are updated regularly and I have all the latest versions in my laptop. I rely on it. However you can't always take your laptop - or even a phone - into the customer's cleanroom, so you have to think and plan ahead.
Seeing inside a semiconductor factory can be an amazing experience. Customers' factories are much bigger than our own. There can be 20 or 30 ASML systems side by side, and you look up and see all the boxes of wafers moving around automatically. It really makes you realize the scale of the industry.
You do have to be flexible. Normally you know weeks in advance which customer you will be visiting when. But if the planning changes or a colleague has a problem, you could be jetting off the next day. In return, you get a lot of freedom to make your own decisions on the job and work independently. Personally, I love travelling, seeing different places and cultures. And in this job, I certainly get lots of opportunities to do that!
Page updated on 2013-2-4 13:15 CET