Heat-assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) Market: Key Players and Production Information analysis

Heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) or thermally-assisted magnetic recording is a technology offering tremendous increase in magnetic areal density and is one of the advanced technologies in magnetic recording. This storage technology increases data storage capacity by factor of 100. It is a magnetic storage technology for hard drives in which a part of the disk where the data is being written is heated with a small laser. The laser heats the medium to a temperature above its curie point, where all the magnetic domains randomize. This heat reduces the coercivity of the material, allowing the head to write on materials with higher coercivity. It makes grain size smaller which is free from the super paramagnetic effect hence maximizing the areal density.

The Heat-assisted magnetic recording allow writing on scale which is smaller than before, significantly increasing the amount of data that can be held on a standard disk platter. In HAMR, a hybrid recording head is used to provide both heat and magnetic energy to switch the magnetization of ultrahigh anisotropy magnetic media. HAMR utilizes highly stable magnetic compounds such as iron and platinum alloys which can store single bits in a much smaller area without being limited by the super paramagnetic effect extending areal density. Thus eliminating the limitations of the current technology used in hard disk storage. It also enhances coercivity along with data storage capacity.

Since the media is temporarily heated during the recording process which softens the recording media magnetically. This allows data to be recorded using conventional magnetic writers. The writability of data is improved by focusing heat energy to assist grain reversal. The laser is integrated with an optical system, including the coupling of laser energy into media, before finally recording the magnetic data. HAMR hard disk drives (HDDs) feature a new architecture, require new media, completely restructured read/write heads with a laser along with a special near-field optical transducer (NFT) and various other components.

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Demand of HAMR is increasing rapidly due to rapid adoption of big data and Internet of things (IoT). There is huge increase in user-generated content, enterprise and personal storage demand. HAMR-based drives are highly suitable for massive amount of data and with increasing data rapidly, HAMR drives are anticipated to be used by organizations.

Furthermore, global demand to increase areal density is anticipated to drive the market during the forecast period. Convenient consumer electronics, such as personal digital assistance (PDAs), digital cameras, mobile phones and music players that are anticipated to generate a relatively uncertain though fast growth in market for ultrahigh areal density HAMR-based HDDs. HAMR-based HDDs for portable applications are anticipated to be the disruptive technology in the magnetic recording industry.

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Major challenge faced in the growth of this technology is manufacturing complexity which includes fabrication of suitable magnetic media with minute grain size and other factors such as temperature and position of the laser. The manufacturing of HAMR is highly cost inefficient. Along with these, demand for hard disk drives (HDDs) is decreasing due to the modification in applications from PCs to servers which is limiting the manufacturing of drives including HAMR. Such factors are forecasted to restrict the market growth during the forecast period.

Market for heat-assisted magnetic recording can be segmented on the basis of geographical regions. On the basis of geography, market is segmented into North America, South America, Middle East & Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Key players are Seagate, Toshiba, TDK Corporation, Fujitsu, Showa Denko  and Western Digital for heat-assisted magnetic recording technology, however many players are anticipated to enter the market during the forecast period.

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