Some businesses are pretty obvious, Minuteman Diner, Bedford Florist—got it. Middlesex Savings Bank—got it. But what about some of the others?
Our mission is to answer the question – What do they do there anyway?
Next up – FUJiFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. – 45 Crosby Drive
Fujifilm has been in Bedford since the mid-1980s, albeit with a few name changes (BASF, and others). I may be dating myself but I remember Fuji 35mm film being sold next to the Kodak film in camera stores. As for BASF, I remember their VHS tapes were also popular. With both 35mm and VHS tapes being for the most part relics of the past I was wondering what they do there now.
I talked with Kim Ryder, VP of Finance & Operations in the Bedford plant. She said that “Bedford is the world’s largest manufacturing facility of Linear Tape-Open (LTO) high-capacity data cartridges,” in layman’s terms, tape backup and archive media for data centers—very large data centers.
I’ve always thought of hard drives, cloud storage, and other hi-tech solutions as ways to backup and archive systems. It turns out that tape solutions have advantages. Ryder stated, “There are many advantages of today’s modern tape technology. But I think the big ones have to do with cost savings, capacity, sustainability, and cyber security.”
The cost savings and capacity issues are pretty intuitive. You can store more data for less money.
Cyber security is intuitive also. Tape archives are considered “cold storage,” for valuable data that isn’t changing and can’t be deleted. ‘ A backup is a copy of active data at a specific point in time. You literally back up the system and put the back-up copy on a shelf in a secure offline and offsite location. With ransomware and other hacking issues, having a complete clean backup, off the network, makes a lot of sense.
The sustainability issue was something I was less aware of. Data storage is actually a significant contributor to carbon emissions produced by data centers. Currently, the global carbon footprint for data centers accounts for up to 2% of global carbon emissions (the equivalent of the world’s entire airline industry), with the number expected to rise in the future as new digital applications come online.
Fujifilm is walking the walk when it comes to reducing its carbon footprint. Ryder said “The FUJiFILM Groups’ approach to creating a sustainable society is to resolve social issues through our business activities and to consider society and the environment in our business processes. In response to the corporation’s vision, in November 2013, we installed 1,870 solar modules on the roof of our Bedford manufacturing facility.
“Our solar installation has produced 4,858,000 kWh since its inception. That is the equivalent amount of energy used by 9,700 homes during an entire month. It’s also the equivalent of a reduction of 2,915 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Over 20 years, this would equal the carbon sequestered by 11,870 acres of U.S. forest in one year.”
She continued, “In addition to our solar panels, we converted to LED lighting in our manufacturing facility. By converting to LED bulbs, we will reduce our carbon footprint by approximately one-third, minimize daily maintenance work, decrease our UV emissions to zero, and be more energy-efficient overall. With over 3,000 bulbs replaced, we estimate a savings of 400,000 kWh this year!”
“Of course, tape is the greenest form of data storage available, consuming 87% less energy than the equivalent amount of hard disk drive storage. When you look at the total lifecycle from raw materials to production to distribution, to usage and disposal, the reduction of CO2 goes up to 95.”
Ryder says about 100 people work at the Bedford site. She mentioned some of the problems you hear in the news all the time-supply chain issues as well the difficulty of hiring and retaining workers in the current economy.
So that’s what they do. Let us know if there are other companies you’re curious about.