The new process was going to
be very costly to implement because it required that the slices all be
enclosed in a platinum diffusion box with a platinum lid. I don’t remember
why this was as I did not develop the process, but I did run tests for the
quad-diffused products and was very impressed.
Anyway the product engineers
all did cost analyses with breakeven calculations based on the increased
yields with better control of our boron processes and convinced management
to allow us to convert production to this superior process. Since the
production area had furnaces with longer usable boat lengths, the production
boats were quite a bit bigger than those used in the pilot line. The quartz
carriers for the slices were also quite intricate, so it took several
months to obtain the platinum boxes and lids and the quartz carriers.
Finally production was ready
to go. We ran the first test to be sure we could duplicate the results. I
think we actually loaded the carriers and supervised the test. All was
well, and we turned production on for all three shifts. We thought this
would be a great success, and we could then move on to the next set of
problems. Unfortunately, we had problems right away - the boron process
was in bad shape!
Oral History, Page 7