Workin’ At The Disk Wash
I wanted to take you on this tour from “beginning” to “end,” but the problem I immediately ran into is that the workflow here runs in a circle. Engineers have platter substrates, coat them, analyze and test them, tweak the process, and start over. The same happens for the read and write mechanisms that exist on the very tip of the drive arm and must interact with the advances made in the media. There is no single machine or step where you can say, “this is where it starts.” Circular operations flow like this is typical in development facilities, unlike the far more linear, efficient flow found in manufacturing.
That said, let’s start here in the chamber where rank after rank of thin glass discs is washed to ensure that absolutely no particles mar their perfectly smooth surface. Robotic arms take each batch of discs, slowly lower them into a vat, then shower the discs until they’re submerged. Then the discs are lifted and moved to the next vat. You can see a short video clip of the process here.