Ilika plc (LON:IKA), a pioneer in materials innovation and solid-state battery technology, announced today that it has received a notification from Innovate UK of its intent to award Ilika and Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ:STX) an 18-month project grant of £575,995 to further develop photonic materials and processes for Hard Disk Drive (“HDD”) technology, of which £365,698 will be used to fund project activities at Ilika.
Seagate is the market leader in magnetic recording used in HDD technology and this grant builds on the relationship between Ilika and Seagate to develop HDD technology announced on 25 February 2016. It is also one of the three grant awards referred to in the announcement dated 23 November 2016.
Demand for data storage is expected to grow by over 40% in the next three years, in part as a result of the movement to cloud storage. Most of the world’s digital information is and will continue to be stored on hard drives. Innovation in the read-write transducer, from which information is recorded and read, is critical to increased hard drive data capacity and read/write speeds. Today, Seagate estimates that 25% of the world’s transducers are manufactured in the UK giving Ilika and Seagate a unique opportunity to collaborate on this project to meet growing demand for this complex nano-engineered component. This project will deliver a process for photonic material development with improved data capacity using engineered materials to enable Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (“HAMR”). Photonic materials, engineered with new process methods, will boost performance and reliability for HAMR hard drives, decreasing time to market.
Commenting on this grant award, Graeme Purdy, Ilika plc CEO, said: “Ilika welcomes this opportunity to extend our successful collaboration with Seagate. Seagate’s state-of the-art wafer processing capability is a perfect complement to Ilika’s high throughput materials innovation platform.”
Zeus said: Ilika announced to the market this morning that it has been awarded £366K of a £576K Innovate UK grant to lead a collaboration with blue-chip electronic wafer processing company Seagate, to develop photonic materials and processes for improved hard disk drive (‘HDD’) technology. More important than the modest boost to Ilika’s top line, this commercial development is blue-chip validation of Ilika’s core rapid materials discovery and optimization business model in high-tech, high-growth areas other than solid-state batteries.
The data storage market is going through a period of explosive growth, as the volume of digital data being generated that requires storage continues to increase at pace. Seagate are at the forefront of innovation in the field of increasing hard disk drive capacity through materials and materials processing advancements, and the joint development program has the potential to generate some quality, high-value IP for Ilika in this exciting field.