Few Arizonans know that Motorola's Semiconductor Division is the
world's largest producer of germanium power transistors and is rapidly
becoming a major factor in the semiconductor industry. Motorola chose the
Phoenix area for this new division after an extensive survey disclosed
that the "Valley of the Sun" was very nearly an ideal location
for the manufacture of semiconductor products. The apparent disadvantage
of locating at some distance from the major electronic component marketing
areas is overcome by the high value to weight ratio of semiconductor
products which reduces the cost of transportation to market to a minor
factor. Particular attention to developing effective means of
communications with the industry removed the most serious objection to a
location remote from the market.
The factors favoring semiconductor product manufacture in Phoenix are
many and include the clean, low-humidity atmosphere, excellent rail, air,
and highway transportation, ready availability of skilled employees, and
the well known drawing power of excellent living conditions for present
and prospective technical employees.
Motorola has long been recognized as a leader in the auto and home
radio, television, commercial communication equipment, and military
electronics industries. Since such industries are very large users of
electronic components, it was logical and desirable that Motorola support
these activities with the new and revolutionary components now appearing
on the electronics scene.
The primary objective of the Semiconductor Division is to become a
major supplier of semiconductor components to the international
industrial, military, and commercial electronics industry. A parallel
objective is to support the internal company requirements for
semiconductor components of high quality, in quantity.
To meet these ambitious objectives, the Motorola Semiconductor Division
management, led by Mr. John T. Hickey, General Manager, has developed an
experienced, highly-qualified organization of well over five hundred
people including a large percentage of semiconductor scientists and
engineers. The facilities to support this growing organization are located
at 5005 East McDowell Road in Phoenix and presently cover 68,000 square
feet of area with 35 acres available for future expansion. This facility
was the first to be designed and built specifically for the complex
processes involved in mass manufacturing of semiconductor products.
Super-pure argon, hydrogen, and nitrogen gases are piped throughout the
production and experimental areas, as is de-ionized water and natural
gas. A honeycomb of acid proof drain piping allows immediate
dispersal of active reagents and noxious gases to an outside underground
neutralizing chamber. The production lines are arranged for optimum
efficiency of material flow, are well lighted and equipped with the latest
production and test equipment. For the comfort and efficiency of the
personnel, the production and cafeteria areas are wired for hi-fi music,
and the entire plant is air-conditioned.
Products manufactured by the Motorola Semiconductor Division have
received excellent acceptance by the electronic industries both on this
continent and abroad. The ability of Motorola Semiconductors to produce
germanium power transistors in quantity at an early date made possible the
hybrid auto radio which is a Motorola first. It is estimated that in 1958
more than 90% of the five to six million auto radios built will be
equipped with one or more germanium power transistors. The present
Motorola production rate of these transistors is well over two million per
year with increased requirements indicated for 1958.
Other present products of the Semiconductor Division are high-voltage
industrial type germanium power transistors, a new military type
high-speed germanium computer transistor, and a line of silicon power
rectifiers. All of these products are adaptable to mass production
techniques involving a high degree of process and parameter control.
The development of new products is proceeding rapidly with intense
concentration directed toward raising the present limits on frequency of
operation, power, and device gain, and at the same time lowering the cost
of manufacture. By stressing the development of new semi-conductor devices
which are adaptable to mass manufacture, Motorola Incorporated is assured
of an increasingly important position in the semiconductor industry.
Page 1 - January - 1958
©ARIZONA ENGINEER AND SCIENTIST - From the Hammond Collection at