Sep 24, 2007
Collaborating and investing in research and development at the world's leading universities is one example of how the company makes a major contribution in this area. Another is when they gather inquisitive minds from European universities and research organisations, to meet in Northern Ireland with government agencies and Seagate engineers to discuss technology trends and how to tackle the challenges they create. That was the purpose of this conference, hosted by Seagate's Springtown facility in the North West of Northern Ireland, where the company develops and manufactures recording heads for hard disc drives.
The meeting gathered over 70 technical minds in Europe to discuss trends, experiences, advancements and challenges in the areas of advanced writers, alternative storage, heat assisted recording, spin devices, and storage media. To fuel discussion, the Seagate team shared some of their recent learning and set the context for the different sessions. Built on this framework, influential scientists from some 15 universities and 5 research organisations, took the opportunity to present the trends they are observing.
For Seagate engineers, the conclave was the chance to meet face to face with academia to gather and share best practice and ideas. For the academics and researchers, it was the opportunity to network with a number of Seagate's technical staff operating at the commercial frontier.
"At any given time, Seagate is typically involved in excess of 100 research programmes worldwide, of which around a third are within Europe" says Alan Johnston, R&D director of Seagate Springtown. "Established relationships with universities give Seagate an immense competitive advantage, allowing us direct access to cutting-edge research, in the areas of materials, metrology and first principle physics to find solutions tailored to our company’s unique needs."
The university-Seagate relationship is a two-way street, says Johnston. "Research projects with universities give us a valuable outsourced service that delivers the latest research methods and expertise to help us continue to create emerging ideas and technologies that could become commercially viable. For students, these projects offer valuable hands-on experience within an industrial R&D scenario, which is a good grounding for what most of them end up focusing on after qualifying."
According to Robert Lamberton, R&D design manager at the company’s recording head operations in Springtown, this 2007 gathering was more critical than ever for Seagate. "This year, for the first time, it is estimated that the amount of information created, captured and copied by everyone across the globe will exceed physical storage capacity*, which puts an even greater premium on our technical innovation and the ability to apply research results to technology and product development," he says.
"Our commitment to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage, means we invest in applying scientific know-how to study technology trends. As well as studying current technology uses and the capacity for using hard drives within them, we need to keep an eye on potential uses that could arise in the future. Our work with research organisations and universities helps us do all of this."
Amongst the attendees was a group of Seagate personnel from the company's recording head operations in Minnesota. "Creative solutions to a number of storage challenges have arisen from this meeting that will also help Seagate to stay ahead of the competition", says Juren Ding, advanced technology director in Minnesota, who was impressed with the group's wide-ranging skills. "Europe clearly has some of the most talented and innovative researchers in the fields relevant to advancing magnetic-recording technology," he concluded.
* IDC Report 2007, A Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2010.
NOTE TO EDITORS
1. Speakers from the following organisations made presentations:
INESC (Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Portugal)
SPINTEC CEA, Grenoble
Paul Scherrer Institute
And representatives from the Universities of Paris, Konstanz, Poland, York, Exeter, Glasgow, Leicester, Exeter, Durham, Leeds, Manchester, and Sheffield, and City University, Trinity College Dublin and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).
Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disc drives, providing products for a wide-range of applications, including Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, Consumer Electronics and Branded Solutions. Seagate's business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, and to be the low cost producer in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world’s growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at www.seagate.com.
Seagate, Seagate Technology and the Wave logo are registered trademarks of Seagate Technology LLC. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Seagate has two facilities in Northern Ireland, employing over 2,200 people between them. At the Springtown wafer fabrication facility, the company develops and manufactures recording heads, which write information onto and read information from the recording disc inside a hard drive product. The company's Limavady facility produces nickel-plated aluminium substrates, the core material on which computer hard disc drives read, write and store digital information.