ID Load/Unload Mechanism for Hard Disk Drives
Original Publication Date: 2001-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Many disk drive designs utilize a load/unload (L/UL) mechanism to allow the drive to start and stop without the sliders ever touching the disks. All L/UL mechanisms use a ramp of some sort on the outer diameter (OD) of the disks and a load tab on the suspension. As the drive stops, the actuator moves the suspension to the OD, where the load tab engages the ramp, lifting the slider clear of the disk surface, or "unloading" the sliders from the disks. Starting the drive is the reverse; once the drive reaches its target rotational speed, the actuator pulls the suspension off the ramp, thus pulling the sliders out over the disk surface, where they begin to fly, or loading" the sliders onto the disks. One disadvantage of the L/UL system as described above is the loss of a certain amount of disk real estate at the OD of the disk, where the linear speed is the greatest and there is more area for data storage. In addition, current L/UL designs require a ramp stack, which must be precisely positioned and fastened in the drive enclosure at the outside of the disk stack. This requires extra parts, extra cost, and increased assembly complication. Disclosed is a design which utilizes a L/UL mechanism at the inner diameter (ID) of the disk with a ramp incorporated into the spacer ring between the disks. Thus, there are no extra parts, and the loading and unloading occurs over the ID of the disks, saving valuable disk real estate at the OD. This design allows a hard disk drive to load and unload the heads from the disks without the added complication of a L/UL ramp stack and the loss of real estate at the disk OD. This is accomplished by designing the L/UL ramps into the disk spacers that are used to separate the disks in the drive. A disk stack is made up of the motor assembly (hub) and the disks and disk spacers stacked over the hub.