The hard disk industry is constantly seeking new production methods to improve media performance and reduce unit costs. One of the largest hard disk manufacturers had developed an innovative process technology in the lab and needed to implement it in a high volume process that could be integrated into the production floor. High speed handling, integration with factory automation, and tight process control were all critical to meet the throughput and cost constraints.
In addition to the design challenges, the schedule was a critical driver of this program. The new process technology provided a significant competitive advantage and was already targeted for market introduction before the equipment design began. Production ramp would follow initial shipments almost immediately.
Owens Design engineered and built the first tool in 20 weeks. An innovative track design was chosen to provide extremely repeatable process exposure. A “stacked” approach minimized the footprint virtually doubling throughput in the same floor space. Owens Design was responsible for the entire design of the system including mechanical, electrical, software, and safety functions. An aggressive production ramp was implemented to meet our customer's market demand resulting in multiple unit installations being completed in less than six months.