Enabling Volume Manufacturing for Hard Disk Drive Media Case Study

HDD manufacturing has a special place in Owens’ history. As an early entrant to the industry, we helped develop many of the media manufacturing systems the industry still uses today and shipped hundreds of tools to the leading drive makers. In fact, nearly all of the HDDs made today are still processed on Owens Design equipment. We have leveraged the expertise we gained from the HDD industry into the many emerging markets we work in today.

Business Proposition

For a recent project, one of the world’s largest hard disk drive manufacturers needed to introduce a new process to their factories worldwide on a compressed time schedule. This required that an entirely new media handling platform be developed that could meet the disparate requirements of each factory. Footprint, cleanliness, flexibility, and performance were all critical parameters.

Owens developed the common platform, integrated the process technology, and configured each system for its target location. Working with a manufacturing partner in a low cost region, Owens delivered hundreds of systems in a compressed timeframe, helping to enable the next generation of data storage performance.

Technical Details

  • Process Experience
    • Texture, Polish, Lube, FTP (buff and wipe)
    • Post polish, texture, and final clean
    • UV and IR cure
    • Optical Test (single, multiple spindle)
  • Substrates and Automation
    • Disk sizes: 21 – 95 mm OD; various ID and thickness
    • Aluminum and glass (coated and uncoated)
    • Dry, wet, high temp, vacuum
    • ID mandrels, grippers, suction; OD saddles, grippers, vacuum paddles
  • Factory Interface
    • Throughputs: > 1,000 pph
    • Class 1 cleanliness
    • Cassette management
    • Regulatory: SEMI, NFPA, UL, CE


“We have chosen Owens Design as our partner to help reduce product development times. Owens Design provides a complete outsourcing solution.”

Rusmin Kudinar, President, Candela Instruments