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Data storage for the coming generations

Together with Piql, we have developed a system with a life time of >500 years.

We are living in an increasingly digitised world and together with our client Piql AS (Drammen, Norway), Norner has developed a solution to a growing concern regarding storage of digital data. 

The amount of data in the world is doubling every two years and is estimated to reach >3 Trillion GB in 2022. 5% of it needs secure, long-term preservation. 

The available storage mediums lack the durability, robustness and technology independence needed to secure that the data can be retrieved in the future. In fact, hard drives and magnetic tape, commonly used for preservation, were developed for back-ups and short-term data storage. To compensate for this weakness, the industry standard is to migrate data to newer storage medium every 3 to 5 years. Migration cost escalate as data volume increases and the risk of data loss is considerable. 

Piql has selected Norner as partner for testing and securing long term properties of the various components of the Piql Preservation System. The idea of this system is to enable data storage for 500 years. Such  requirement calls for specially designed and verified stabiliser package in the polymer. Piql is building on the established preservation practice of microfilm, and has added digital technology and higher resolution. 

Together we have developed a system with a life time of >500 years. 

The Piql Preservation System converts photosensitive film into a digital storage medium, similar to what was done with analogue magnetic tapes many years ago. Any file can be written onto the film, including databases, text documents, images, and full motion pictures with sound. Together with film manufacturers, Piql has developed improved film where photosensitive silver halide has been modified on nano-level to improve data density and reduce storage cost. The technology is unique and only one of this kind in the world. 

The Polyester film comprise a gelatine layer containing the photosensitive silver. Like all materials, this structure is subject to degradation. Norner has tested and verified the longevity of the films by combining methods developed from the film and polymer industry. 

The film reels are protected by an outer packaging, developed by Plasto AS together with Norner. Norner developed the PP material recipe compatible with the film avoiding negative impact on film degradation.

Both the film and the packaging has been tested under controlled accelerated aging and results so far indicates a life time close to 1000 years in standardized storage conditions; 21°C, 50% RH. Norner has based the testing on the same principles as for pressure pipes like PE100.  

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