The bunny suit has always been synonymous with Intel-chip production, but the clean room outfits first entered the public’s imagination with a 1997 Superbowl ad featuring the Pentium processor with MMX technology.
The fab, or chip manufacturing plant where highly-trained experts wear bunny suits, is fascinating because it personifies high-tech, advanced technology.
To create intricate computer microprocessors and have them function in the real world, these facilities are built to be among the cleanest places on Earth.
“People wear these very complex bunny suits, not to protect themselves, but to protect the actual microprocessor from any contamination they might have on them. ” explained Dennis Carter, former Intel marketing manager, in an undated oral history.
“It’s just very high tech and very cool, and we thought it personified Intel.”
In this Throwback Thursday, take a look at Intel bunny suits (and smocks) over the years.
A smock and a hair net was the standard clean room attire in the early days of Fab 1, located in Mountain View, California.
“Radios blasted full volume, employees would eat their lunches at their work benches and the technicians would have all their tools — greasy wrenches, screwdrivers and hammers — sticking out of their back pockets,” recalls Gabe Quenneville, a former Intel technician.
Fab 3, located in Livermore, California, manufactured Intel’s 1103 DRAMs.
This was the first Intel manufacturing site where employees wore bunny suits but didn’t wear gloves.
A fab employee wears a hood with an air and particulate filter.
The filter removed any contaminants from the person wearing the suit to protect the wafers and chips.
Santa Clara’s D2 fab opened in 1989 and included these air showers, which were designed to decontaminate employees before they entered cleanrooms.
D2 was the first 200 mm factory at Intel.
The popularity of the late nineties’ bunny suit commercials led to mass production of “bunny people” dolls.
When asked if Intel will continue to produce bunny people ads, Dennis Carter said, “Because the fab workers really are the essence of Intel in a lot of ways, I think that we will continue to use the bunny people concept. Both in a fanciful way as we’ve used it, and in a more serious way. It won’t be the only kind of ad we do, but I think we’ll definitely continue in that vein.”
An Intel manufacturing technician uses a scanner to start the very first 45 nm production lot of 300 mm wafers inside of Fab 32, Intel’s first high-volume 45 nm chip factory in Chandler, Ariz.
That year, the factory began producing millions of microprocessors using Intel’s (then) new 45 nm, high-k metal gate transistor technology.
Today, Intel makes even smaller 22 nm transistors. These transistors began hitting the scene in 2011, built using a cutting-edge 3D Tri-Gate design that helps improve their performance and energy efficiency.
Otis describes his work and life as a manufacturing technician at Intel’s Ocotillo campus in Chandler, Ariz.
Modern bunny suited dolls can be purchased at the Intel Museum, located in Santa Clara, California.