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Report - - Motorola Semiconductor Plant (26/05/07) | Industrial Sites |

Report - Motorola Semiconductor Plant (26/05/07)

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Saturday was an interesting day for me. My first "intentional" day of urban exploring. As such this is my first report. It will end up being quite long, because i'm still quite excited about the event.. Don't cry too much about the horrific photos either, i left my SLRs at home and we resorted to nasty old point and shoots. Anyway..

My morning started off with a journey into Stirlingshire, to visit Pirniehall estate. There have already been a couple of reports on the subject, and i've posted photographs in this one, you can find some others on my flickr page. But anyway, on with the good stuff..

V70 had suggested an Edinburgh/Fife meetup for the evening of the Saturday, and six or seven people showed an interest. This number shrank to four once we were further into the planning stage, and in the end there were four of us; V70, two of his friends (who haven't signed up yet - come on guys!) and myself.

Initially V70 was quite secretive regarding the intention of our get together, suggesting only that he'd "PM details later".. and later inferred that security would be present. Which was enough to get my heart racing a little.

Eventually he did indeed send me details, revealing that the plan was to explore (yes, you've guessed it) the Motorola Semiconductor Plant in South Queensferry. Here is a link to the facility on Flash Earth, you can judge the size by the cars present in the car park. It's a very large installation.

According to this story on the BBC news website, the large plant closed down sometime in 2003. Recently it seems that work has been started on the building, dismantling (or rather, demolishing) parts. V70 has decided that this place was worth seeing before they finished. After a couple of personal visits, scouting out the area for us, he made an accurate map of the access points and security (which i won't display here for obvious reasons).

We made our way across some "rough terrain" and after some careful eyeballing and listening, entered the compound. There is a security presence in the compound, but we had decided that the guard(s) present would be mostly interested the JCBs and such, they probably wouldn't even be aware that there was comfortable access to the building itself. Add on to that the fact that bright lights in their hut would probably mean very little night vision, and a nearby generator would shield most of our noises (that didn't yield much comfort every time a certain someone managed to kick rocks while walking..)

We made our way around the compound, it was quite evident that we wouldn't be able to take many photographs - any camera flash would be a risk, so the few shots we did take were in secure indoor locations.

Our first port of call was the air processing room.

(going for small images because i'm going to link quite a few, but click them to view the larger originals on flickr - complete with notes and descriptions!)




The warnings on the door there mention "confined space" and "solvent exposure".

Next up we checked out some upper areas, with more than a few staircases and pipes.



Next we checked out what we referred to as "clean rooms", and joked about Motorola workers in their "space suits" (which would be fairly useless seeing as the doors weren't pressurised :rolleyes: )


We all had a good laugh at the sign on this door, instructing employees to leave the door unlocked, as keys had been sent to a locksmith for duplication. Handy for us! Later we found boxes and boxes of keys in a security office.. "yeah.. sure i sent the key to the locksmith..."


These pipes appeared to be pumping in de-ionized water.


We weren't too sure what to make of this "Acid Drain", and even less sure why there was an empty drinking cup next to it.

After checking out some of the large demolished areas (assembly areas i'm guessing) we moved on to the offices, which were VERY interesting.


We were greeted by the traditional cubicle layout, but we were surprised to find artefacts still lying around.


A bunch of documentation, and what appeared to be silicon wafers. Not pictured are a bunch of nice little acrylic boxes with test chips inside them and a bunch of training video tapes.



In an open drawer i spotted these health plan forms - filled with employee details. Lovely.


An "interesting" collection of stickers displayed on this cabinet. Judging by the "Lot" sticker, someone actually thought this one would sell when they auctioned off the building contents (assuming that's what the sticker refers to).

Near the offices we found a projection room. We're guessing for staff training.. but you never know ;)



If you squint you can just about make us out lounging around on the chairs. Yeah yeah, blame the lousy cameras, but we were travelling light.

Next up (and the last significant stop in our explore) was the reception area. This was a bit of a nervous area for us to check out since it was the only lit up part of the building, and flanked on three sides by glass windows. That said, we ended up lingering in there for quite a while.. "guys, we're standing around chatting in the least subtle part of the entire plant!". The photographs of this part didn't come out too well, but the only interesting part was the large metal and glass sculpture and the hordes of business cards on the reception desk. Oh, and this sign


Attached to reception was the old security office.


Monitors for surveillance cameras, which thankfully have been off for sometime. There were also a bunch of keys, visitor cards and other random crap scattered around.

I've glossed over a lot of the things we saw, but i think i've already typed way too much. So if you read it all, hopefully this proved interesting. If anyone else in the area wants to visit Motorola i urge you to do so quickly. They're pulling more and more out of it every day it seems.

I'll leave you with the last bit of evidence:



Board in what looked like a conference/meeting room.

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Loading bay.

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Fire sign.

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Backup servers in the server room.

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Internal bit that i presume the original guys couldnt get pictures of?

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Hole cut in wall to allow machine entry.

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Thats a few images there. I have access to plenty more plus any imformation about this site ;)


28DL Member
28DL Member
Hi I used to work at this site from 93 to 2000 and am interested in some of the pics you have