The impact of digital decay for older industrial devices

September 29, 2016 // By Julien Happich
The 80s: an era of double denim, floppy disks and such classics as Don't You Want Me, by The Human League. Back then, the concept of storing the vinyl collection of your standard new romantic and enough movies to rival the local video shop on a ‘cloud’ was unimaginable and let’s be honest, ridiculous.

Today, data storage for consumer and industrial technology is advancing rapidly, but what does this mean for older industrial devices?

Digital decay describes storage media, or anything stored in computerised form, gradually decaying over time. Much like the spine of a well-read book will crack and its pages will fade and crease, digital media is also vulnerable to breakdown and deterioration over time. For consumers, the throw out and upgrade attitude to storage devices is fine, but for industrial manufacturers it’s not quite so simple.

In a factory setting, industrial data can range from basic figures on the energy usage to complex operational commands and procedures for factory automation. For these more advanced industrial applications, data storage can be crucial to the running of a plant. Take this as an example; a programmable logic controller (PLC) is an industrial control system that continuously monitors activity throughout a factory. While it shares common terms with the common PC like its central processing unit, memory storage and software, a PLC is specifically designed for use in an industrial environment.