Our clients often ask us if it is prudent to use a Raspberry Pi in an industrial environment and, despite doubts, more and more companies are choosing to base their new developments on a Raspberry. The reasons are well known: reasonable computing power, excellent video camera handling, wifi / ethernet connectivity, I/O expansion bus, and a huge and very active community of enthusiasts.
There are only three weaknesses inherent to the hardware and the operating system to consider:
1) The ambient temperature cannot exceed fifty degrees centigrade
2) The SD card on which the operating system resides is sensitive to vibrations
3) NOTHING SHOULD BE WRITTEN to the SD, due to the risk of corrupting the file system by abruptly shutting down the Raspberry.
Wait, temperature below 50 degrees, no vibrations and no writing to the SD? Seriously?
Well, the truth is that yes, it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be the so-called “industrial environment”.
Yes, of course, the official temperature range of an industrial environment is -20 up to 85 degrees, but the truth is that the control electronics are usually placed in a connection cabinet located inside the facilities, which translates into a very comfortable and fairly controlled temperature range (far from the Siberian cold and the Saharawi heat)
Therefore, if we know that the destination of our equipment is a switch cabinet, we do not have to fear neither the temperature nor the vibrations.
It only remains to solve the detail of NOT WRITING ANYTHING IN THE SD. Well, the trick is to create a “ghost” drive, which, instead of residing in the SD, resides in the RAM.
In this disk unit, we will direct all those writing operations that the operating system needs to maintain its activity. Operations that, for the most part, are log files that are not very important or temporary semaphores.
Okay, but what about our data?
In the cloud: The Raspberry has ethernet, wifi and all the communications and network support that Linux offers us. There is no need to save permanent data on the SD.
We trust that this reflection will be useful to you.