Why Use a Third-Party for Your Site Survey

Posted On: Tuesday, July 16, 2019

collecting data vec - vibration engineering consultants

A new microscope and semiconductor customers have a few options when it comes to deciding who should provide their site survey. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) will often offer the survey; organizations sometimes attempt to conduct the surveys themselves in-house. In this post, we explain why a third-party site survey provides considerable benefits and is an excellent return on a minimal investment.

The costs associated with site survey mistakes are often extremely high; therefore, using an experienced third-party engineering firm such as Vibration Engineering Consultants (VEC) to conduct a semiconductor processing equipment or an electron microscope site survey has tremendous advantages to the customer. VEC conducts dozens of surveys every month across a wide range of environments, tools, and microscopes. We will tell you whether you pass or fail, give you a wide range of associated data including the source of issues, and provide detailed recommendations about how to remediate identified issues in a cost-efficient manner.

Below are Four Reasons to Go with an Experienced Third-Party Provider for Your Site Survey

Reason One: Third-Party Surveys Provide a Broader Scope and More Actionable Information

An experienced third-party provider can provide site surveys for rooms and buildings of all sizes, and for many different tool types – independent of the manufacturer. These surveys can cover a wide range of measurements, including:

  • Vibration
  • Acoustic noise
  • DC magnetic fields
  • AC magnetic fields
  • Stiffness testing
  • Electric field
  • Lux

Many facilities have multiple tools from multiple manufacturers. An experienced third-party survey provider will take the time to get to know the whole facility to understand what exactly is occurring. An OEM will be looking at a single data point for a single tool. An independent provider will survey across tool types and compare a single data point against multiple tool specifications.

Going with a third-party provider means that you have an independent surveyor who is interested in helping you make informed decisions. They are an objective party in the process, and not tied to the interests of the manufacturer in any way.

When a customer goes with an OEM survey and fails, the manufacturer is no longer liable to meet performance requirements. An experienced third-party provider will offer you the data and direction that you need to regain compliance.

Reason Two: Site Surveys are Complicated and it’s Easy to Make Mistakes

When you conduct a site survey, you are responsible for sensor placement, sensor sensitivity, units of measurement, and data interpretation. If you are not used to setting up for this type of testing it is easy to make a mistake with your equipment or calculations. This, of course, can jeopardize your results. Third-party surveys give you reliable data that you can count on to make decisions.

An experienced engineering firm that specializes in site surveys can quickly understand when data is incorrect and fix it on-site. When a third-party firm conducts regular site surveys, their equipment is accurately calibrated and there are redundancies in place to ensure the accuracy of
the data collected.

Reason Three: Mistakes are Costly

If you overstate the vibration, acoustic noise, or magnetic fields in the data, it can result in the unnecessary spending of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. It can result in unnecessary work on retrofitting the room, mitigation equipment, and project delays.

Conversely, understating vibration, acoustic noise, and magnetic field levels can cause serious issues to be left unaddressed. It can result in remediation efforts that occur too late in the process, causing tool performance problems that are costly to fix. Some of the issues that can stem from this problem include tool movement, air handler system retrofit, or non-optimized mitigation equipment.

Reason Four: A Third-Party Survey Offers Detailed Recommendations

A third-party survey comes with the insight and the experience of the company that you hire. The engineers can help you to identify the sources of the problems identified in the site survey. They can offer detailed recommendations on how to mitigate common issues.

A third-party company can also offer professional-level and high-performing mitigation solutions that will allow you to fix any flagged issues in the least costly manner. VEC provides outside the box mitigation recommendations that are based on over 30 years of industry experience in similar situations.


A third-party site survey provider like VEC will give you the best possible information to make decisions regarding your microscope or semiconductor equipment environment. When you have better data, you can make more informed decisions and save money in the process. With a third-party site survey, you will not have to pay as much on capital expenditures while working to optimize tool performance.

If you have any additional questions on how a third-party engineering firm can help with site surveys and tool optimization, contact us today!

vibration reduction for sensitive instruments