Industry 4.0: The Kind of Storage You Will Need

September 25, 2020 Anthony Spence, Marketing Specialist, Silicon Power

Industry 4.0, aims to bring massive changes in the make-up of production systems, but most importantly changes in the way they create value and how they interact with the world that surrounds them. Industry 4.0 builds on top of the technological developments achieved during Industry 3.0 to further bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds.

The primary goal behind Industry 4.0 is the partial transfer of the decision-making process to autonomous cyber-physical set-ups. By leveraging the vast amount of data generated within and outside the system, these set-ups are able to make appropriate choices based on what the situation demands. Industry 4.0 opens the door to a wealth of possibilities; new forms of machine-human interaction will bring forth tremendous gains in productivity and an increase in customer satisfaction.

Nonetheless, further developments in Industry 4.0 depend on achieving additional progress in related areas. IoT, for example, has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to the rapid spread of sensors and connected devices. Meanwhile, AI and ML are benefiting by the bigger and richer datasets which are now available. Not to mention that investments into these technologies keep on coming as 5G and Edge computing start taking the spotlight.

The realm of electronic components is not an exception to the above mentioned: Industry 4.0 is pushing the requirements and capabilities of key components used in industrial applications. Storage is one of such components. Industry 4.0 demands high-endurance, safe, customizable solutions which are capable of adapting to the unique needs of the cyber-physical set-ups, yet affordable enough to allow adopters to scale up their projects.

When it Comes to Storage, Endurance is King

Storage solutions employed in industry 4.0 should be able to cope with harsh environmental conditions. Extreme temperatures, high humidity, and vibration are commonplace in industrial environments such as Smart factories. High-endurance 3D NAND Flash solutions are designed and optimized to thrive under such settings. Silicon Power Industrial, for example, offers a variety of storage solutions equipped with wide temperature technology allowing them to operate in temperature ranges as low as -40 °C and as high as 85 °C.

Environmental stress is not the only source of wear to which storage is exposed to. The process of writing data into the cell degrades flash overtime. Sensors being one of the primary generators of data, write into their logs at a speed and frequency that can easily take its toll on memory. System integrators who require high endurance yet affordable storage capable of handling write intensive application might find in pSLC a reliable option. Pseudo SLC showcases a remarkable balance in terms of endurance, cost, and performance. Silicon Power Industrial pSLC solutions guarantee high levels of endurance of up to 30K PE cycles at lower costs than those of SLC.

A Safety Vault for Your Information

Cybersecurity and data privacy are two of the most common concerns whenever industry 4.0 is discussed. Developing and implementing a data governance strategy is an effective way to offset both. A sound data governance strategy not only concerns itself with procedures, people and software, it must also account for the importance of the system architecture and its components. Storage, being the primary spot where data is located, makes of its adequate selection a key decision.

For storage high durability and reliability are the basic elements for keeping data safe. High reliability ensures that data won’t be lost due to unexpected failures. Nevertheless, this does little to protect against the dangers of data breach and data theft. To maximize security it is important to employ dedicated features that target the most vulnerable spots. Software development kits (SDK), such as Silicon Power’s Host Lock, prevent unauthorized access to user data via a 128-bit password encryption, and the ability to hide the whole or specific partitions of the drive. Similarly, TCG/OPAL 2.0 Compliant Self-Encrypting Drives (SED) allow for data to be encrypted when it is written into an SSD to maximize privacy. Large volumes of data are a landmark of Industry 4.0, meaning that no efforts can be spared to keep it safe.

Storage Adaptable for your Needs

Industry 4.0 as a concept is in constant flux. The rapid technological changes and unpredictability that define contemporary times make of flexibility an important feature. Flexibility is present in all the pieces that composed a cyber-physical set-up, even in components such as storage. In storage conformal coatings clearly exemplify this; by applying a thin layer of protective paint into their motherboards, storage products can obtain an extra layer of protection against temperature, dust, moisture and even anti-vulcanization properties depending on the coating utilized.

Storage firmware is another equally important avenue of customization. As you may know, Industry 4.0 wouldn’t be possible without developments in the field of IoT. Nonetheless, to harness its full potential, battery free and low energy consumption devices are a must. Sensors that rely on environment harvested energy and small battery supplies are becoming the norm. System integrators must look for ways to minimize energy consumption; the use of low voltage components is often the best choice. Here is where firmware customization plays an important role; a good supplier should be able to fine-tune their firmware in order to offer low energy consumption.  SP Industrial, for instance, offers its customers the possibility to customize their storage firmware for maximum energy efficiency, plus its variety in form factors offers customers a full range of options from which to choose from.

The Age of Predictive

Industry 4.0 brings forth a paradigm shift from the preventive towards the predictive. Real-time data analysis minimizes uncertainty at all levels allowing organizations to plan more effectively and for processes to run without the need of human intervention. To give an example, in manufacturing data is utilized to analyze the status of machines, and maintenance is executed before it reaches critical status. To ensure the success of predictive systems, even the most basic of its components must be endowed with predictive features.

Storage components should come equipped with tools that help organization during their transitions towards establishing a predictive system. Silicon Power Industrial storage offerings come equipped with a full range of SMART Software analysis tools which contribute in monitoring their health status at all times. SP SMART toolbox, Dashboard and IoT Sphere provide a combination of mechanism that facilitate remote real-time management of a drive, meanwhile SP SMART embedded ensures the seamless integration of the set-up with any embedded system.

A Step Towards A New Revolution

As any revolution, Industry 4.0 promises massive changes. The convergence of digital and physical systems will transform the way organizations create value bringing forth a series of benefits for both consumers and industries to enjoy. For revolutions to happen a series of requirement must first be cleared, choosing the right storage is one of them. Industry 4.0 requires durable, high-performing storage solutions able to cope with the strenuous demands of embedded systems, yet available at price points that allow scaling up implementations when needed. Reliability, safety and adaptability sum up some of the basic requirements of storage as we stepped up into the 4th industrial revolution.

Previous Article
Alliance Memory Releases AS5F Series of SPI NAND Flash Memory Products
Alliance Memory Releases AS5F Series of SPI NAND Flash Memory Products

Alliance Memory announced the release of the AS5F series, a collection of SPI NAND flash memory 1.8V-3V pro...

Next Article
Electronic Device Design Tips: Operating in Harsh Environments
Electronic Device Design Tips: Operating in Harsh Environments

Products designed for space are exposed to the some of the harshest environments. They must operate reliabl...