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Gettin’ Even Hotter In Here

Inside Western Digital: How Tomorrow's Storage Gets Made
Gettin’ Even Hotter In Here

We all know that materials expand and contract as temperatures vary. So after WD finishes testing “flyability” under normal room conditions, they need to be stressed in order to determine the environmental range to which they can be pushed before failure. The oven you seen here is a Class 100 environmental chamber used to conduct head-media flyability tests under extreme temperature and humidity conditions. The chamber can be programmed to operate at a fixed condition—say, 90 degrees Fahrenheit at 20% humidity—or change conditions under programmed control. The stressed conditions are used to test for corrosion and accelerate failures so that engineers can identify any weaknesses in the media design. After all, the same drive you might use in the Alaskan winter also might wind up in an equatorial jungle. No drive can cover all extremes, but manufacturers have to be sure they cover at least 80% or 90% of common usage scenarios.

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