To improve efficiency and decrease latency, computing power is increasingly placed in the field. Whether on the factory floor, in outdoor kiosks, or for defense equipment, more and more devices and tools find themselves in locations with temperatures varying across a wide range. Harsh and fluctuating environmental conditions and SWaP-constrained (Space, Weight, and Power) systems can cause the embedded components like memory chips to lose stability, performance, and reliability. These applications including industrial, defense, communications, and automotive often require parts that operate in a temperature range between -40°C and +105°C, or Wide-Temperature. These types of applications are often mission-critical and cannot afford downtime or interruptions. Reliable performance and consistent operation are imperative for the safe deployment of the application. Component malfunction must be ruled out to avoid overall system failure.
The great outdoors
In many cases, outdoor equipment calls for specification of wide temperature memory components since the devices are exposed to a cycle of warmer daytime temperatures and cooler nighttime temperatures on top of seasonal variations. The embedded memory components should be able to handle these temperature variations for extended periods with minimal maintenance. The cabinets or housing of the applications are often not temperature-controlled, causing the outdoor climate to get amplified even more. The case temperature or temperature of the memory chip during operation is always the same as or higher than the ambient temperature. On the high end of the temperature range, (over)heating of memory chip components can cause performance degradation. High temperatures generally also decrease the component’s lifetime. At very low temperatures, commercial-grade components are simply not able to function.
In close quarters
The need for wide temperature memory components is not limited to systems exposed to extreme environmental climates. Embedded systems have an increasingly dense design that can restrict airflow and ramp up the local heat generated by the components. When systems are constrained in space, weight, and power, compact form factors and fanless designs can build up heat quickly, even when the outdoor weather conditions are normal. Especially the higher end of the wide temperature range becomes imperative under those circumstances. Designing with memory components in the wide temperature range is necessary to provide stable performance and extend the memory IC’s lifetime.
On the go
Automobiles may also use Wide-Temperature range components in certain applications such as passenger compartment hots spots including infotainment systems, communication, navigation, door controls, etc. The idea behind automotive grading is to ensure a level of quality and operation to minimize failure, and in the event of failure, to do so safely. More on this in a future blog!
Come rain or shine
For most commercial applications and specific industrial applications the deployment environment is equipped with heaters and/or air conditioning. However, for many networking, communications, industrial robotics, defense , and automotive applications there is no heating or cooling to balance out the surrounding temperature. The embedded memory components need to continue to perform according to specification in temperatures as low as -40°C and up to +105°C. Under those circumstances, Wide-Grade temperature DRAMs and eMMCs are crucial to ensure proper component and system operations. Regardless of the environmental conditions, the embedded components need to perform reliably for extended periods of time.
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.