Application Highlight: Everspin EMxxLX MRAM Brings Robust Memory to PLC and Industrial Robotics

By Ken Briodagh

Senior Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

October 03, 2023

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Application Highlight: Everspin EMxxLX MRAM Brings Robust Memory to PLC and Industrial Robotics

In automated manufacturing and industrial robotics, no part of the system is more critical to operations, efficiency, and avoidance of downtime than a well-designed and integrated PLC (programmable logic controller), and the MRAM (magnetoresistive random-access memory) configuration memory that gives it stability and reliability.

A PLC intended for manufacturing process controls must be paired with a unique memory configuration program. This programmable memory customizes work processes to given production requirements, and it is required to store program instructions and process monitoring, among other functions.

The major PLC manufacturers have chosen MRAM for this configuration’s memory because of its high write cycle endurance compared to other non-volatile memory, and because MRAM offers 20-year data retention at extremely high temperatures. These factors ensure that line configurations are preserved and stable. MRAM can also write fast to capture interim data in process if there is a power loss or other downtime event, shortening the time back to work and reducing losses.

Use Case

The industrial processes that might use MRAM can include assembly lines, robots and robotic devices, inventory managers, and any automated machine process that must be reliable under any conditions, simple to program, and easy to diagnose and repair.

Almost any industry can benefit from the implementation of MRAM, and in automobile production, food processing, oil and gas processing, healthcare, aerospace, utility management, chemical production, gaming, and pharmaceuticals, it is already a key component, as you can see in the figure below.

In aerospace, MRAM is useful for many systems important to proper operation of aircraft, data logging, and a variety of critical systems. In a recent release from Everspin Technologies, developer and manufacturer of persistent memory solutions, Stephan Roux, Electronics Hardware Architect at Airbus, said, “Airbus has used Everspin’s MRAM products in several critical systems, and we are looking forward to taking advantage of the improved performance and density of the EMxxLX products.”

Other key applications for MRAM systems include industrial automation and PLC, data logging for robotics, and industrial electronics process automation applications, where Everspin MRAM is the preferred memory option. Finally, in electric vehicles, major manufacturers are leveraging MRAM from Everspin for datalogging in inverters and battery management systems, sensor data collection, diagnostic and fault codes for analysis, and predictive maintenance.

Everspin EMxxLX

Everspin recently announced that its EMxxLX family of high-density STTMRAM products is now commercially available, and according to the testing data, is the highest-performing persistent memory available today.

In testing, embedded technology engineer Edouard Haas of JBLopen found that the Everspin EMxxLX lineup outperforms flash memory in almost every aspect examined, and showed a broad gap in performance between MRAM and flash in terms of access speed, especially considering write throughput, write latency, and RAM usage.

This new lineup is designed for use in electronic systems where data persistence and integrity, low power, low latency, and security are most important, including industrial IoT, network/enterprise infrastructure, process automation and control, aeronautics/avionics, medical, gaming, and FPGA configurations. The company says that EMxxLX is the only commercially available persistent memory with a full read and write bandwidth of 400 megabytes per second via eight I/O signals with a clock frequency of 200MHz. This means that devices with EMxxLX MRAM devices can offer SRAM-like performance with low latency, protect against memory loss with or without power, and endure extreme environments in industrial and hazardous situations.

Key features of the EMxxLX xSPI STT-MRAM Product Family include:  

  • Standard Serial Interface/JEDEC compliant
  • 4Mb, 8Mb, 16Mb, 32Mb, 64Mb and 128Mb Densities
  • -40 to +105 ºC Operating Temperature
  • Up to 400MB/s (200Mhz) Read and Writes
  • Unlimited Read and Writes
  • Byte level writes/reads or Sequential Bursts
  • Low voltage 1.8V
  • 10-year data retention at 105c
  • Interface Compatibility
  • nvSRAM, FRAM, and NOR Flash
  • No external ECC required
  • 24-Ball FPGA and 8-Pin DFN package options

EMxxLX devices may be purchased from Everspin directly or through Everspin’s distributor network.

Additional Resources

Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers, he would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars. In previous lives, he’s been a short order cook, telemarketer, medical supply technician, mover of the bodies at a funeral home, pirate, poet, partial alliterist, parent, partner and pretender to various thrones. Most of his exploits are either exaggerated or blatantly false.

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