2 Key Factors when Selecting Industrial SD Cards

April 20, 2015
By Anonymous

You’re choosing an SD card for your industrial application, but are not sure if it’s going to get the job done.  Sound familiar?  You’re not alone. 

Most SD cards on the market are designed for purely consumer usage (think digital cameras).  Because of this, they’re generally made to handle different stresses than those found in industrial applications.  Data integrity is important, of course, but not nearly as critical as in industrial usage.  So, these cards tend to prioritize storage volume and price over long-life performance. 

The two main attributes that you should really be looking at when shopping around for an industrial grade SD card are Temperature Range and NAND Memory Cell Type.

Temperature Range

The standard SD card specification calls out a temperature range of -25C to +85C.  Depending on your application, this may suffice. However, options exist where the temperature range opens up to -40C to +85C, which gives you a little breathing room on the low end of the range. 

NAND Memory Cell Type

The memory cell structure of the SD card can have a big effect on the lifetime of the card in a stressful application. The write/erase count for an application depends on the access pattern, especially when employing a driver that uses a file system. Because of this, certain NAND memory types may leave you prone to failure more so than others.

NAND Memory Cell Type - Industrial SD Card ChartTypical consumer level cards have a triple level cell (TLC) structure, which provides larger storage space and low cost, but also low endurance. Multi-Level Cell (MLC) technology provides a greater endurance level, and Single Level Cell (SLC) offers the highest endurance and data integrity.   

Both MLC and SLC bring with it a higher initial cost, but the endurance leads to a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) over the life of the application.  Panasonic even offers an SLC-Lite type that uses MLC NAND memory, but is controlled like an SLC type to store binary information per cell.  This gives you a lower cost option, with the benefits of the high-end SLC type. 

To see a selection guide for all of Panasonic’s SD Card options, click here.

If you’re not sure which memory cell type you really need for your industrial application, Panasonic offers free testing to help you decide.

Why Panasonic?

Panasonic’s added value lies in the controller and screening process that backs up our offering.

Proprietary SD Controller

The Panasonic SD controller is a proprietary solution that was crafted from the ground up to be tailored for mission-critical data applications. It ensures high-end performance with standard built-in features such as:

  • Error Correction
  • Data Randomization
  • Bad-Block Management
  • Wear Leveling Algorithms
  • Data Recovery Algorithms

In the Industrial Grade models, Panasonic has also added an automatic data refresh algorithm for read intensive applications, as well as power failure protection which ensures data security and recovery if a power loss occurs during usage. 

Screening and BOM Control

Panasonic performs 100% testing of the user-writeable area of each card manufactured.  This screening test is effective in reducing initial card failures and field card failures. It also helps to detect failure spikes in each card lot, stabilizing the quality level of each shipment.

In addition to our robust quality screening, Panasonic recognizes the fast pace in which NAND flash memory is evolving.  Because of this, we diligently issue product change notices (PCN) any time the NAND flash memory we use undergoes a generation change.  This helps you control your BOM and anticipate any changes well before they can become an issue for you. 

If you have any further questions about the Panasonic SD Card line, contact us today. 
In the coming weeks, we’ll be doing a deeper dive into the Panasonic line, and the features that set us apart.