Low Cost Flash Memory Comes at a Price for Industrial Applications

I’m contacted regularly by OEMs regarding competitor’s flash storage parts not working in their Embedded OEM applications. It’s really not the competitor’s fault since many sell consumer flash products which were never meant to be used in an embedded application.

In cases where the issue is resolved using Industrial Grade, SLC NAND based, flash products the next step is to review pricing. The biggest problem reviewing pricing after the design is complete is the system only has a memory budget that was related to the consumer grade flash.Industrial Grade products are significantly more expensive.

The best answer to this problem is to design with the correct parts for the application from the beginning. This way proper budgets can be established and possibly features can eliminated early on which would have necessitated a higher memory capacity.

Beware as well of MLC NAND based flash cards masquerading as Industrial.If you look enough, you’ll find SD Cards labeled, “Industrial SD” or “Industrial SDHC” which use the lower cost MLC NAND and meet the SD Association’s mandated -25C to 85C operating temperature range.

An example of this would be an 8GB Industrial SD Card which sells for a consumer price of ~$10.00.A true Industrial SD Card costs several times this amount since the SLC memory alone is substantially more than the entire cost of the MLC based card.

At Cactus Technologies, we live and breathe flash storage devices for Industrial Embedded applications. If you are an OEM requiring the best supplier for your embedded application, please contact a Cactus Technologies’ Expert.

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.