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Toshiba plans R&D, manufacturing units for HDD expansion

Posted: 11 Jul 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:hard drive? R&D center? magnetic recording?

Toshiba Corp. will open two new R&D facilities in Japan focusing on the company's hard disk drive (HDD) business. Toshiba's move is a clear indication of its drive to go against its competitors in the consolidating HDD business.

Toshiba's HDD Advanced Technology Center will open on July 16 and will focus on the development of devices with higher aerial density or the ability to pack more bits on a square inch of a drive. On the same day, the company will also open its HDD Manufacturing Technology Center that will work on producing enhanced drive-making capabilities.

The race to the top
Western Digital has announced last March that it would acquire Hitachi GST. The acquisition has made Western Digital the biggest HDD maker in the market. The following month, Seagate made its own acquisition and bought Samsung's hard drive business, with hopes that it can keep its position as the top HDD supplier.

Magnetic head-supplier TDK Corp. and disk-maker Showa Denko K.K. will collaborate with Toshiba in the new centers. Unlike its vertically integrated competitors, Western Digital and Seagate, Toshiba works with third parties for its key components.

Toshiba was one of the first drive makers to ship devices with perpendicular magnetic recording technology. This technique enables drives to achieve densities expected to reach 1Tbit per square inch. The technology is now used in virtually all HDDs.

Several drive makersincluding Western Digital and Seagateare now collaborating on the next big technology, which could involve moving to heat-assisted magnetic recording, patterned media or a combination of the two techniques. Toshiba said it will work with TDK and Showa Denko on both technologies.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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