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2.5" Disk Drive Assembly


A large hard disk drive manufacturer needed an improved system to robotically load and unload hard disk substrates into vertically hung pallets for a sputtering process. The most challenging aspect was that the disk had to be loaded into a groove that provided only 0.012” total clearance without touching the disk sides. But, due to intense in-process heating, the aluminum pallet plane could be warped by 0.080" locally about a hole, so the robot had to precisely load substrates into warped pallets.


In a five-degree space, the machine precisely locates each pallet hole with a laser distance sensor mounted to the Cartesian robot acting like a coordinate measuring machine (CMM). The SCARA robot then loads the disks into the pallet. The two robots share the same coordinate system to achieve the exchange of point data, and the SCARA robot must be accurate in the pallet area. The two robots perform a series of calibration procedures to accomplish this. Accuracy is improved to ±0.005” in the pallet area.

Features of the project include:

  • Self-discovered calibration with verification
  • Self-discovered placement locations—no taught points
  • Pallet instability detection and on-the-fly sensing of disk load integrity
  • Accurate distance sensing regardless of pallet discoloration

outcomes and benefits

Capable of running 885 disks per cell per hour, 99.9% efficiency rating
Robots Calibrate Each Other for Pinpoint Accuracy in this Award-Winning Solution
Consumer Products
Technical Capabilities
Material Handling Solutions Robotics Integration Vision Applications
Door Hinge Robots 2


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