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Turbocharged HDD manufacture

Throughput boosted by twenty-five percent and maintenance effort reduced. These are the achievements of a Rexroth linear motion system used to produce hard disk drives for entertainment electronics.

 
Illustration | Bosch Rexroth AG

The workpiece carriers speed from one processing step to the next, quickly and with no direct contact.

The first generation of the 200 Lean manufacturing system produced eight hundred hard disks per hour; the next generation turns out one thousand units. “Higher throughput is the key to lowering our customers’ capital costs per disk,” explains Chuck Liu, general manager of Intevac’s hard disk drive division. The company, located in Santa Clara, California, is the world’s market leader in systems for depositing magnetic recording media on hard disks. A linear motion system (LMS) made by Rexroth – based on a patented principle and incorporating both inverted linear motors and user-friendly NYCe4000 motion control technology – made it possible to boost output by twenty-five percent in the 200 Lean Gen II series. What’s more, this configuration increases system availability and improves product quality.

Quicker transfers from one station to the next

The 200 Lean Gen II is used to produce the 3.5 and 2.5-inch hard disks used in entertainment electronics. A thin film of the recording medium is deposited, in a vacuum, on a glass or metal substrate. One layer is applied at each processing station – from the resilient magnetic substrate to the carbon finish coat. To provide some idea of the dimensions, Liu notes that, “Most hard disk manufacturers use about twenty such stations”. Adopting the LMS for the second generation halves the transport time between the stations and that brings about the increase in throughput. Turbocharged HDD manufacture Throughput boosted by twenty-five percent and maintenance effort reduced. These are the achievements of a Rexroth linear motion system used to produce hard disk drives for entertainment electronics.

Contact-free and clean

A drive system moves the carriers individually from one processing step to the next, working both precisely and without direct contact. Coils in the guide rails move the hard disk carriers, which are fitted with magnets. “All the electronic components and wiring are located outside the processing chambers,” Liu points out enthusiastically. This eliminates the need for complex and labor-intensive maintenance work. That saves time and benefits the operations. A further advantage of this non-contacting drive system is that it does away with mechanical drive components that could cause contamination as a result of friction.

A team targeting success

“Our relationship with Rexroth is a true partnership,” Chuck Liu emphasizes. Here he’s also referring to teamwork in the development of the 200 Lean Gen II. Beginning with writing the specifi cations and developing the control technology, and continuing right on to the testing and optimization phases, the engineers at the two companies worked hand in hand. This cooperative effort by no means ends once a system has been sold and delivered. The Rexroth service team is also available to Intevac customers all around the world.