Is an Industrial USB Flash Drive right for your Embedded OEM Design?

The USB interface and Flash Drives have been around since the mid-1990s. In fact, USB Flash Drives are so common, little thought is given to what their made of.

The “guts” of the USB Flash Drive determine if it is not reliable for much more than a single use - all the way up to - a full-blown Industrial USB Flash Drive for mission critical applications.

The purpose of this article is for OEM Designers to look at the usage model of their embedded OEM designs which use a removable USB Flash Drive.

For requirements where there is a need to send out an update once in rare time frame, which will be loaded to the system and then disregarded, a consumer USB Drive with extremely limited endurance cycles, ruggedness and life expectancy may be acceptable.

An SLC USB Flash Drive is highly recommended for an application in a harsh environment where the USB Flash Drive is:

  • Subjected to High Shock & Vibration
  • Used to run an Operating System
  • Constantly written with Data Logging Files
  • Exposed to Temperature Extremes
  • Subject to being Jarred or Hit
  • Required to have a Long Life Cycle
  • Carrying Critical Data to and from Site

Since Industrial Grade Flash Storage Devices are orders of magnitude more reliable than the Consumer flash products, they can provide a solid solution for the OEM Designs dealing with the issues above.

Bottom line, it’s a good idea to review your usage model prior to making your selection of USB Flash Drive product and supplier. The vast majority of USB Flash Drive applications can get by with a consumer part, but for more important data and crucial embedded OEM requirements, a robust Industrial UFD is a more fitting solution.

If you have additional questions regarding your embedded OEM system design, please contact us for more information.

Steve Larrivee has over 30 year's experience in the data storage market, including 5 years at Seagate Technology and 10 years at SanDisk. He joined Cactus Technologies Limited as an equity partner and Co-Founded Cactus USA in 2007 with partner Tom Aguillon. Learn more about Steve on LinkedIn.