The Cost of Power Failures in Industrial Applications

By SMARTsemi
October 26, 2023

When it comes to industrial applications, the bar is high: The equipment and devices in industrial manufacturing often perform crucial operations and handle critical data. A malfunction or failure is not just costly, it is often dangerous. When a consumer product fails, the user gets frustrated, but overall the damage is limited. A failure in manufacturing automation can have catastrophic consequences. For that reason, industrial applications require specific components suited for the environment they are operating in. For example, memory chips for industrial applications are subject to a long list of requirements. Once the memory type is specified, the thermal range, power consumption, and form factors are often the prime selection criteria.

The cost of power failures

Preventing failure of any kind is a priority. Engineers and procurement specialists go through extensive - and often regulated - processes to design, select, and test devices and their components to avoid failures. The loss of power is a specific type of failure that should be prevented as much as possible but can never be eliminated entirely. Outages disrupt the manufacturing process, which can result in costly material damage and operational delays. A power failure can impact safety, inventory, delivery times, and in that way also customer satisfaction and sales. According to a survey published by S&C and Frost & Sullivan in 2021, 22% of industrial companies estimated the cost of a single power failure exceeded $100K USD, and 2% even reported the financial impact of a loss of power at their production facility to surpass 2 million USD.

Better safe than sorry

What can industrial equipment developers do to reduce power failures and minimize their impact, including cost? When power is lost, the equipment stops working entirely. Non-volatile memory components, like NAND flash and SSDs, retain their data even when the power is removed. However, it is important to keep in mind that if data was being written when power failure occurred, loss of that data is still possible.

Selecting industrial-grade memory components that can withstand the temperature range of the environment and remain reliable under the applicable levels of shock, vibration, and/or rugged circumstances is the first line of defense for engineers and designers. Because the power needs of the memory components themselves can also contribute to power failures, designers should keep an eye on the power consumption of the specified components and select low-power memory chips where possible.

Memory component selection

For embedded memory ICs in industrial manufacturing and automation equipment, eMMCs are a great fit. As a non-volatile memory component, eMMCs are suitable to store all the data the device needs as soon as power turns back on, for example, the boot code in order to resume work quickly in the event of a power loss. SMARTsemi’s eMMC products also disseminate a notification for power-off to make sure there is enough time for the component to back up potential cache data.

Power failures in industrial applications can be very costly. Embedded industrial-grade memory components play a crucial role in the prevention of power loss, recovery from it, and data protection. Engineers and designers should keep this in mind when qualifying components for their applications. Check out SMARTsemi’s catalog of FLASH components to find a match for your industrial design.

SMARTsemi is your supply chain partner for DRAM components, eMMC solutions, and SD/microSD Flash Memory Cards for long-life applications. With 20+ years of industry experience, we understand your challenges and have aligned our priorities with yours to simplify your memory chip supply chain for the long run. We know what you need before you need it. Get a jump start and request a sample today.

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Established over 20 years ago, SMARTsemi is a Line of Business of SMART Modular Technologies, Inc. that globally manufactures and delivers millions of memory components annually for embedded medical, robotics, communications, industrial, defense, home entertainment applications and standard, ruggedized, and custom memory and storage solutions in high-growth markets. When you think memory, think SMART. When you’re sourcing memory components, select SMARTsemi.