From cleanroom consumables such as gloves, hairnets, swabs, and solvents—to micro components like packaging materials, flex circuits, and filter media, ensuring cleanliness at every stage of the hard drive manufacturing cycle is of paramount importance.
Ensuring your hard drive products or components are free of microcontaminants is not only critical for product function, but also for keeping production on schedule and driving product innovation. Whether a manufacturer wants to proactively identify potential microcontamination risks or troubleshoot a known problem, cleanliness testing techniques can provide answers.
But before you submit your sample for testing, you want to make sure you’re submitting it to a trusted, reliable lab—one that tests a variety of products and can guarantee a quick turnaround. Manufacturers know they have specific guidelines to follow, and it’s important that your partner is aware of said guidelines and has the expertise in using the right testing techniques in order to successfully test your samples.
Driving Innovation & Quality Starts With the Right Testing Technique
When it comes to identifying the most concerning contaminants, you can’t afford to cut corners. You know the various components used in hard drive manufacturing must meet an acceptable level of testing. As standards become more stringent, Innovatech Labs remains on the cusp of innovation.
Through our involvement in industry groups and contacts made through years of testing, we often have a heads-up on changes coming down the pipeline concerning test methods or acceptance criteria.
To help our customers drive innovation and increase product quality, Innovatech Labs has experience in all of the following materials per hard drive manufacturers’ specifications:
- Adhesives and liners
- Packaging materials
- Teflon membranes
- Carbon sorbent
- Flex circuits
- Read/Write head
- Core product components (e.g., plastic, rubber, and metal components)
- Cleanroom consumables (e.g., gloves, hair nets, wipes, swabs, and solvents)
- Cleanroom equipment (e.g., scanners)
- Cleanroom construction materials (e.g., tiles, construction adhesive, sealant, caulking, and paint)
But the key to uncovering contaminants is using the right technique. Depending on the sample you submit, one of the following techniques may be used to assess microcontamination:
- Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) for extractable organics, like silicone
- Ion chromatography (IC Analysis) to gauge ionic contamination
- Liquid particle counting (LPC) for particle sizing and counting
- Gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS) for dynamic headspace analysis of outgassing compounds
- Electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA) for silicone transfer on adhesives
With these methods, Innovatech Labs can test the cleanliness of any number of products used in the hard drive manufacturing process.
Cleanliness Testing in Action: Validating the Cleaning Process of Plastic Components
Not long ago, we worked with a manufacturer of plastic components to verify that the cleaning agent used on their parts was being completely removed prior to shipment.
After completing ion chromatography (IC) analysis, we found the concentration of the cleaning agent was at 4.37pm, indicating it was not completely removed prior to shipment. With this information in hand, our client was able to make changes to the cleaning process to mitigate the issue.
Keeping Microcontamination at Bay
For all manufacturers, product contamination is a risk at every stage of the production process. But for hard drive manufacturers, microcontamination is one of the biggest threats to product function and safety. Cleanliness testing techniques are vital for uncovering the source of contamination and ensuring a functioning product, as well as driving innovation and improving product quality among manufacturers.
At Innovatech Labs, we are committed to helping you ensure the quality, safety, and reliability of your hard drive products and components. After more than two decades of providing timely cleanliness testing services, we’ve become a trusted partner for hard drive suppliers looking to troubleshoot contamination and product quality issues.
If you’re ready to work with us, request a quote to get started.