How SD Cards Are Made

Do you ever stop to consider the complex engineering, precision, and technology that goes into creating a tiny yet powerful piece of hardware like an SD card, and How SD Cards are made?

It’s not something many of us consider on a daily basis, but truly understanding how these cards are made can give us immense respect for their capabilities.

From data storage to recording video footage or capturing photos with advanced cameras, SD Cards have changed the way consumers, students, teachers, and engineers interact with digital media in our world today.

In this blog post, we will take an inside look at the fascinating process of how these miniature superheroes are created!

Manufacturing Of A SD Card

SD card was developed together by SanDisk, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1999. It is also the establishment of the SD Association in 2000 that helped to make SD cards the standard card used in many digital devices and wide adoption in the market.

Thanks to miniaturization techniques, we can store a lot of information/data on an SD card. With such an important device in our pocket, it is important that we understand how an SD card is being made in a factory.

Manufacturing a memory card requires an assembly process of cutting-edge technology. Plastic material is heated to its softening point and pressure is applied to embed an electronic module into the plastic.

Controlled by an integrated circuit (IC) chip and powered by NAND Flash memory chips, precision on the microscopic level is achieved through SMT and COB techniques where passive components are arranged in parallel rows onto a PCB panel before IC chips adhere with wire.

The device then undergoes a protective molding process followed by singulation through laser cutting, water jetting, or mechanical grinding until requirements for the small package set out for memory cards are met.

The final product needs to pass through all the full diagnostics, and are printed with a logo in a typography workshop, and packed into final retail packaging.

Here is a YouTube video showing how a factory makes memory cards using an automated machine:

Inside A SD Card

Inside the SD card, there is circuitry including NAND memory chips, a controller, a slider for write protection, a plastic cover, gold-plated connection pins, and the labels on the card’s front cover indicating the capacity of the card.

The main component of the SD card is the memory chips. Several flash memory chips can be stacked in the SD Memory Card.

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Inside 16GB SD Card

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Inside 2GB SD Card

Another key component is the flash-memory controller. This component manages the NANDs and does a handshake to the outside world. The controllers in the fastest-speed-class microSD cards use strategies to help both functions, such as using multiple channels and interleaving data.

Usually, the front cover will have a label containing information like the read/write speed, bus interface, video speed, and class type.

Below youtube shows you what is inside the microSD card:

Main Applications of SD Card

The engineers who designed the SD card were developing the MMC card initially. As the demand for portable, small, and light devices like digital cameras and action cameras (such as GoPro) skyrocketed, so did consumers’ need for reliable flash-memory removable storage.

SD cards quickly emerged as a popular choice due to their convenience; they provide an efficient way of storing large quantities of data across visual, audio, and other formats in products such as digital music players, PDAs cellphones, or video cameras.

After competing with major alternative standards including SmartMedia(TM), CompactFlash (TM) & MultiMediaCard – it was SD that ultimately reigned supreme claiming its rightful place at the top.

Are SD Cards Made Out Of Gold?

The exterior cover of SD cards is made of plastic, and inside the card has gold metal on the circuit board. All the combination of materials together provides storage for the digital data.

Plastic is derived from petroleum products and it will never biodegrade.

Only the pin connection is gold-plated and is in small amounts. Therefore, you cannot consider SD card is made out of gold.

Technology Used in SD Card

Technological advancements have been game-changing for the NAND memory production industry, improving storage density by shrinking design-rule dimensions from 110nm to 19nm. Now, we are able to create higher storage capacities and allow microSD cards to store more data on them.

3D technology is set to revolutionize things further; grinding individual cells so they are much thinner and stacking more allows each horizontal plane to hold multiple cells – increasing capacities even higher than before. It offers much greater opportunities than traditional formats.

Final Thoughts

SD card is like most of the memory cards in the market, it can be used in every portable device like mobile phones, tablets, gaming consoles, cameras, and laptops as well as in media players. The compact size makes it easier to record, store, and transmit information.

As technology gets more advanced, there are many improvements and benefits we will be enjoying from it. Among them are cost reduction, product innovation, increased efficiency, and improved safety.

We look forward to more innovative and intelligent SD cards in the coming years.

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2 thoughts on “How SD Cards Are Made”

  1. Hey this was certainly an interesting post to read, definitely learnt something new!

    I find it amazing how they can create such a small yet essential piece of chip in vast amounts thanks to machinery. It would be certainly interesting to see how they advance overtime as technology evolves. Thanks for this insight!

    Have a great day!

    • Hi Sariyah,

      Yes, the 3D NAND technology is expanding in all kinds of applications. We expect in 3 to 5 years times there will be a breakthrough in another area, especially the power to drive the NAND chips. 

      The package will be even thinner and we will see new innovations appearing in the market.

      Look at the SD specification upgrade recently with SDUC supporting cards up to 128TB, you can imagine the amount of knowledge and data you can store in the tiny microSD card. Wonderful applications will emerge from here to bring humankind to another level. 

      This is the beauty of advanced technology, especially in the electronics industry.  


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