The difference between software and hardware is easy to understand. Hardware is hard… literally. It’s made out of metal and plastic, and can’t be folded. It’s too hard.
Software is so soft that it can’t even be touched. It can be downloaded and stored on or in some tangible device, but it can’t be folded, either. It’s too soft.
So what’s firmware? It’s programming that is resident in a device, controlling its behavior. It doesn’t change or get upgraded much, it doesn’t have extra apps, and you can’t decide to use it in some new and exciting way.
There are plenty of examples in daily life. Traffic lights, for example, are controlled by firmware. You get that some electronic decision-making is involved somewhere, but you don’t expect to be able to play games with the traffic light or to use it for word processing.
It’s software that’s kind of hard. Ascher Opler came up with the term “firmware” in 1967, when people were trying to find an easy way to distinguish between ROM-dwelling programs that ran machinery and software, which was easily changed.
You could understand it metaphorically by thinking of your body as your hardware, your mind as your firmware, and your knowledge and experience as your software.
Indramat Personality Modules took advantage of the good things about firmware by separating it physically from its hardware. That means that the firmware from an Indramat unit that has worn out can be put into a repaired, refurbished Indramat unit.
Sort of like taking an older guy’s confidence and worldly experience and putting it into a younger, fitter body.
This is not practical for human beings, and that might be a good thing, but it’s entirely practical for Indramat drives.
Having some issues with your firmware? Firmware fine but you’re beginning to wonder about the hardware? Give us a call. We can help.