Two new bits of news from Everspin today, a new package and a new customer. These may not sound like a big deal but SemiAccurate thinks real world customers for NVRAM are worth noting.
On the technical side the news is a bit less exciting, Everspin has now qualified two new products in automotive grade packaging. Those are 16Mb MRAMs in x8 and x16 widths, together they count as one new offering. You can also get a 128kb version with a SPI interface in Grade 1 and Grade 3 temp ranges. These densities may not seem like much but for engine control and analysis it is more than enough, the near infinite write lifetime of Toggle MRAM is the important bit. Yes pun intended.
Speaking of automotive grade packaged MRAMs we come to the new customer, Schneider Electric. Guess what they use? Yes it is non-automotive grade MRAM because they are using it in their PAC (Programmable Automotive Controller – Schneider’s name for PLCs) meant for the factory floor, not under a car hood. If you peel apart a Schneider Modicon M580 ePAC (Ethernet PAC), you will find an Everspin MR4A16BMA32 16Mb MRAM.
As with the automotive parts this is a Toggle MRAM and it serves to save critical machine control parameters locally. You don’t want to have a high-end robot do a little ‘whoopsie’ because a critical function was written to a bad bit, things like effectively infinite write lifetimes and 20-year data retention are quite valuable. Process data is not all that large but it is critical, 4MB of MRAM is enough to do the job, the rest is sent over Ethernet like the rest of a factory’s automation info.
So there you have it, small compared to flash or DRAM today but with much better endurance and retention times. While the next generation Spin Torque MRAM has higher densities, it will also have less endurance, ‘only’ ~10^10 write cycles, a tad more than the best of the other NVRAM technologies on the market. Throw in a shrink or two, a major foundry partner, and a new generation that has some very interesting characteristics, and you have a potential game changer. Stay tuned for more on this.S|A