Building on the success of participation in the Young Professionals (YP) social event and Women in Engineering (WiE) roundtable breakfast at this year's Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) in March of 2022, PSMA continued efforts to increase engagement by participating in both events during the 2022 Energy Conversion Congress & Expo (ECCE) held Oc
Other news of interest
ULS was founded 40 years ago in Munich, Germany with a handful of engineers and one common goal; to revolutionize power supply technology. Today, PULS is the leading manufacturer of the most efficient DIN-Rail switched mode power supplies and DC power products. This was made possible by our focus and a global team that strives for the next stage of innovation for every PULS product. Users can experience this ambition in the highest efficiency levels, longest service lifetimes, smallest form factors, and absolute reliability of all PULS products.
PULS is committed to developing and producing leading edge technologies and energy efficiency is at the heart of all PULS product designs. Achieving the highest efficiency ratings possible reduces exess heat generation, minimizes power losses, and extends the service lifetimes of PULS products to provide users with the lowest total cost of ownership. Minimizing excess heat generation also extends the lifetimes of surrounding components located near PULS power supplies. The wide breadth of the PULS product offering enables users to select the best PULS products for their individual application requirements. PULS products are frequently used in Proccess Automation, Material Handling, Food & Beverage, Semi-Conductor, Railway, Renewable Energy, Water & Waste Water, Automotive, and Building Automation applications throughout the world.
Production of all PULS products is carried out in two innovative and highly automated manufacturing plants in the Czech Republic and China. The entire value chain is kept under our full control, and this level of control is important to us. In customer audits, our plants are repeatedly praised for their efficiency, streamlined structure and environmentally friendly objectives. Owning and operating multiple manufacturing facilities provides PULS the flexibility to ensure seamless delivery for a global market.
Innovative and efficient product designs are just a part of the PULS advantage. PULS provides technical and commercal support globally to support customers needs and requirements. PULS locations throughout the world maintain significant levels of inventory to ensure immediate availability and timely delivery for our customers. Training session are provided regularly to better educate the market on the many critical aspects of PULS' industry leading products. Detailed product specifications, application notes, drawings, agency approvals, and other valuable information can be found at www.pulspower.us
Provided by Matt Biskner,
President & General Manager, PULS, LP
stronics - Advanced Electronic Systems (AES) serves global customers as the aircraft industry's electrical power experts, offering a breadth of power solutions for commercial transport, business, VIP, rotorcraft, and military aircraft. The company offers airframe power systems as well as the in-seat power systems and outlets that keep passenger devices charged throughout a flight. Astronics AES customers include more than 280 airlines, all major aircraft manufacturers, plus a myriad of military manned and unmanned aircraft manufacturers and inflight entertainment providers. In short, Astronics provides the power systems that support the entire industry.
"At Astronics, innovation is in our core," explained Mark Peabody, President of Astronics AES. "We pioneered the in-seat power that passengers use while seated on a plane, and today there are more than a million seats outfitted with our product. Every day, our team members work side-by-side with customers to create exciting new technologies that, like in-seat power, will help transform the future of the flight experience."
To date, Astronics power engineers have generated dozens of patents for power systems on aircraft.
Driving Innovation in Aircraft Passenger and Crew Power Systems
"Recently we introduced USB Type-C outlets to serve laptops, phones, and other emerging devices powered by this new standard," Peabody said. "And what we're really excited about right now is wireless charging, where we're now able to provide inductive charging for the newest passenger devices. Creating this for the aircraft was a challenge where we had to satisfy stringent power and safety requirements, and today we're thrilled to say many first and business class seat manufacturers are implementing this new technology to service their most tech-savvy passengers."
Astronics in-seat power systems offer real-world impact on passengers and flight crews, enabling them to enjoy inflight entertainment and stay connected to loved ones throughout their journey without worrying about conserving device batteries.
On a Mission: To Drive the More Electric Aircraft
"We're thinking about the performance improvements that can be expected in transitioning to an aircraft where more systems are powered and monitored electronically. With our power systems, we're also incorporating smart sensing elements to help with vehicle health management and predictive maintenance. We're pushing power to do more than simply provide power -- we're excited to be introducing a whole new class of intelligent power systems for the evolved aircraft of tomorrow," Peabody said.
For airframe power, Astronics manufactures power generation, power conversion, and power distribution products. Incorporating the latest solid-state technologies and designs, these systems deliver highly efficient, clean electrical power that improves aircraft operation through weight and system wiring savings.
The Importance of Culture at Astronics AES
Located in beautiful Kirkland, WA, Astronics AES draws inspiration from a tech-focused community rooted in aerospace but that now incorporates the fast-forward pace of companies including Amazon, Google, and Apple who also call the Seattle area home.
Provided by Ellen Cheng, Marketing Communication Coordinator, Astronics
Editors Note: We would like to feature your company in a future issue of the Update. Please contact the Association Office for information about how to submit an article for consideration.
Four members of the Board of Directors are elected at the PSMA Annual Meeting held every year, usually held during the APEC conference. Each Director serves a three-year term and is eligible to be reelected for one additional term. In this issue we would like to introduce you to Tim McDonald and Fred Weber.
Consulting Advisor for the CoolGaNTM Program, Infineon Technologies
ithout a doubt we are approaching the end of a quite different and challenging year not only for our organization but also for all our member-companies and individuals who support, participate and volunteer for PSMA. As the world and businesses continue adjusting to a new pandemic-imposed reality, PSMA not only confronted the challenges, but with creative and agile support of its numerous volunteers, the dedicated people who run the office, the board and the executive committee, co-sponsors and partners responded with agility and creativity to minimize financial loss and risk, while maintaining the valuable services to its members and the community.
We at the executive committee are excited to implement and work in alignment with the newly adapted four pillars of our organization: (i) build on strengths, (ii) become more applications oriented, (iii) integrate performance metrics to assure value add to our community, and (iv) engage with the stakeholders. Using these guidelines, we hope to drive success and growth of a more vibrant, more active, and more relevant PSMA.
As the member of the executive team who champions the third pillar, the implementation of key performance indicators throughout the operations and activities undertaken by PSMA, I hope to establish a measurable understanding of the "value-add" to "asset allocation" ratio in order to prioritize and improve the effectiveness of our efforts and resources. Ahead of us is another financially challenging year and this task is critical for sustaining short- and long-term financial viability.
Some of the areas that we plan to implement performance metrics so that we can better understand impact on growth and revenue include: membership movement comparable to the number of professionals in the industry, web activity tracking, differentiation and consumption of PSMA exclusive offerings such as special projects, reports, databases and other contributions as well as feedback received on our activities.
We also plan to apply these metrics to activities related to popular workshops and webinars to maximize the value to our members and the wider power electronics industry, return on investment and exposure for PSMA. Remember, as a not for profit organization of volunteers, we need to spend our income from memberships, studies, and events prudently and maximize the use of in-kind human capital from our volunteers. We hope to expand the key performance indicators across the whole organization for example to support and help optimize the numerous committee efforts so as to attract more participation and increase activity.
The Executive Committee will not be able to establish, build and strengthen the performance metric pillar to become an impactful potency without the support and the collective effort of all the members and the volunteers of our organization. We are encouraging all of you on an ongoing basis to provide feedback, thoughts, and new ideas as we continue to grow a successful PSMA.
Please feel free to contact me or any of the executive team members or the PSMA office anytime. We would love to hear from you and need your inputs!
Power supplies are everywhere, an essential part of all electronic equipment. Whether powered by battery or from the grid, there are as many power solutions as there are applications. From body sensors powered by harvested energy to high power systems for medical imageries such as MRI, medical power supplies, all have a common requirement to be safe, reliable and energy efficient.
At the APEC 2022 Plenary Session, John H. Scott, Principal Technologist, Power and Energy Storage, NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate presented a very interesting topic: 'On the Moon to Stay', covering the various aspects of power electronics that would be required to make that statement feasible. Space exploration has not only been a dream and a source of imagination, but also an amazing research area seeking to break 'unbreakable' limits, and in the processing providing benefits to many applications we are now using daily on planet Earth.
The Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) is pleased to announce that a new slate of officers has been elected to lead its Board of Directors for the 2022-2024 term. The new officers are Fred Weber (Future Technology Worldwide), Chair; Trifon Liakopoulos (EnaChip Inc.), President; Renee Yawger (Efficient Power Conversion (EPC)), Vice President; and Tim McDonald (Infineon Technologies), Secretary/Treasurer.
As is the case in many industries, power electronics has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes a boost in new technologies and opportunities for power designers to capitalize on the benefits of E-learning. While it is always difficult to derive trends from large industries, as we get closer to APEC 2022, as a power engineer it is interesting to take a minute to ponder and consider what will contribute to making power supplies more efficient, more reliable and exciting to design.
Overall trends and technology
A major trend that we are all aware of is the 'electrification' and transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. There are a lot of technological innovations required in this segment to reach the carbon neutral level expected by the European Commission, US DOE and similar initiatives in Asia. If we focus on what most of the power supplies companies are developing, I foresee that four trends, all of which will benefit from the implementation of Wide Band Gap Semiconductors, will influence the power industry in 2022:
- Reducing energy consumption
- Power supplies becoming part of the Machine-to-Machine eco-system
- Enhanced energy storage solutions
- Acceleration of harvesting energy solutions,
In the quest for reduced energy consumption, from harvesting energy to the grid, the power electronics industry is seeking new long term solutions to improve efficiency. International and local regulations have already forced power supply manufacturers to innovate, and we are seeing more stringent regulations under discussion that would require the power industry to further explore new topologies, components and materials.
One example that illustrates and will benefit from this trend is E-commerce.
E-commerce was already growing before Covid-19, but as consequence of curfews, working at home, and the drastic reduction of physical interaction, it has grown exponentially, putting a high demand on shipping hubs, computerized storage and the overall supply chain. Before we even mention the associated datacenters required to manage the E-commerce process, there are the shipping hubs and warehouses that have become gigantic and consume lots of energy. Making these hubs more energy efficient has been on the agenda for all the major players, and the 2020-2021 peak on demand was a strong a signal for the need to reconsider the way to use and to manage energy.
Figure 01: Smart Power operation in Smart Factory with machine-to-machine communication
Power supplies as such are not consuming the majority of this energy, but, when one considers their strategic position in the operational chain, they become a key point in the overall process to optimize how energy is used in the complete chain. In 2022 we will see very advanced power supplies used in E-commerce handling and shipping hubs. Not only will they integrate higher levels of communication, they will also be able to store and restore energy from supercapacitors banks, reducing peak disturbances on the grid and consumption. Already experimented with in 2021, the power supplies have been integrated into a complete eco-system with Machine-to-Machine communication (Figure 01). They not only deliver power to a load e.g. conveyor motors, but they are able to sense and adjust the level of energy to store in local supercapacitors bank (Figure 02).
Figure 02 - PRBX S-CAP BOOST supercapacitors bank with digital control and communication
interface able to deliver peak energy to load and to store backward energy
Almost invisible, from the RFID inserted in the shipping box that will get power from RF signals, to sensors placed on motors or moving elements powered by vibration, micro-systems powered by harvested energy are developing very quickly. Additionally, the nanotechnology, such as nanotubes, make it possible to develop very small supercapacitors able to store enough energy to power sensors and transmitters.
To make this possible, the implementation of digital power and communication is a must, but the level of performance will also require power electronics engineers to design new power solutions with the so called 'Wide Band Gap' semiconductors. Depending on the application and voltage required they may select GaN or SiC types, but the benefits of WBG will contribute to making E-commerce more energy efficient and to reducing the carbon footprint.
Critical building blocks!
For decades the improvements in energy efficiency levels of power supplies have been made possible by technological evolutions. Moving from linear to switching technology was an early major one, followed by a number of more minor leap-frogs until digital power came to market.
Despite it having been on the market for several years, with the emerging WBG technology and the possibilities offered by those components, digital control becomes an absolute MUST and I strongly believe it will be a major building block for power designers when developing new products.
For components, the WBG transistors are without doubt the ones that will prevail in 2022. That said, conventional Power FETs are also making big progress and power designers will have to achieve new levels of business assessment and acumen when selecting the most appropriate technology for their applications.
Figure 03 - PRBX multi-cores auto-tuned power converters with
advanced digital control and GaN FET transistors
The third building block I foresee as important is the advanced planar transformer with interleaved multi-core technology. Not all power supplies require megahertz switching but considering the constant quest for smaller power supplies with higher efficiency, power designers will have to consider new types of transformers and new winding techniques. In that respect they will not only be helped by ferrite manufacturers developing new materials but also by Artificial Intelligence software that can shorten the time to design and test new transformer types (e.g., Frenetic, Simba).
One specific example of this is research currently being conducted at PRBX, combining digital control, GaN, and multicore transformers with advanced wiring and auto-tuned performance within the wide operational range that is seen in some industrial applications that require extremely wide input voltage ranges, as well as outputs subject to repetitive peak loads. Final products while not ready yet will not be possible without the combination of digital control, WBG and advanced magnetics (Figure 03).
I believe many of the new products that we will see in 2022 and onwards will be based on these three building blocks, which I'm sure will also include more communication to become part of a Machine-to-Machine ecosystem.
In WBG we trust!
One interesting aspect about Wide Band Gap semiconductors is that we are seeing a similar situation to when the first power MOSFETs were launched. Some immediately considered the benefits of the WBG, despite early products that were based on a depletion mode that required very specific drivers and were not very user friendly, it didn't take too long for power semiconductors manufacturers to provide 'easy-to-use' solutions.
It has now been more than five years since manufacturers first promoted the benefits of that technology but if the Go To Market is ready, the Go To Application for mass users still requires a certain amount of time.
Figure 04 - Experienced power designers have crossed that technological chasm many times,
with the latest one being the migration from analog control to digital
We are all familiar with the 'camel-back' curve reflecting new technology adoption and crossing the chasm. Experienced power designers have crossed that technological chasm many times, with the latest one being the migration from analog control to digital, which took more than 10 years to reach a significant level of adoption (Figure 04).
Figure 05 - Navitas' next-generation GaNFast power IC that will drive the 120W ultra-fast charger, contributing to reduce its size by 26%
Figure 06 - Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) approach is very interesting, minimizing interconnection losses, and making it possible to shrink a power converter to an unprecedented size
In the case of WBG, and especially Gallium Nitride (GaN), early adopters entered the fray much quicker than some had predicted a few years ago. It is no surprise that the PC and Mobile/Nomad industries were some of the early adopters. The number of USB-C chargers using GaN semiconductors announced in 2020-2021 is very impressive. Particularly worthy of mention is Navitas' next-generation GaNFast power IC that will drive the 120W ultra-fast charger supplied 'in-box' with vivo's iQOO-brand flagship iQOO 9 Pro mobile phone, demonstrating the rapid adoption of GaN by the 'nomad' industry. But it is not just the electrical performance, using GaN also reduces the physical size by 26%, reaching a stunning 1.3W/cc power density, which is quite incredible (Figure 05).
While it took 10 years for digital power to become a de facto technology, it took only five years for WBG to reach a similar level.
What is interesting in the development of the WBG semiconductors is that due to the specificity of this technology, with very low internal resistance and the ability to switch very fast, the packaging is very important and we see a lot of innovation from manufacturers to offer optimized solutions. Technologywise the Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) approach is very interesting, minimizing interconnection losses, and making it possible to shrink a power converter to an unprecedented size (Figure 06).
Of note is the amazing number of technical webinars held during the Covid-19 era, not to mention the virtual APEC 2021. Many companies have taken that as an opportunity for their power designers to attend online training, and as a result some power-semiconductor companies have reported shipping up to 10 times more evaluation kits than before the pandemic days.
If we simplify the market into two segments: High voltage (using SiC) and Low voltage (using GaN), we see two different patterns. High voltage applications such as electric vehicles and solar are already familiar with SiC transistors, and for that segment it is no big revolution for power engineers to undergo a learning phase for the relatively new low voltage technology.
In many different ways we have all been affected by the pandemic, although looking back it has contributed to a boost in learning new technology and speeding innovation. Considering all of that, 2022 will be a very important year for WBG and we can expect many new power supplies (AC/DC and DC/DC) to be announced during the year. 2022 will be a very exciting year for all of us designing power solutions.
Powerbox (PRBX): https://www.prbx.com/
Navitas Semiconductors: https://navitassemi.com/
Efficient Power Conversion (EPC): https://epc-co.com/epc
Applied Power Electronics Conferences (APEC) https://apec-conf.org/
Provided by Patrick Le Fèvre
Professor Cian Ó Mathúna with the 2021 EARTO Innovation
Award for Impact Expected
ne of PSMA's long-time contributors and supporters, Professor Cian Ó Mathúna, from Tyndall National Institute in Cork, Ireland has been recently named the recipient of two major international awards celebrating innovative technology created in Ireland, which could have a lasting environmental impact.
Minimizing energy consumption in electronics continues to be a major, technological challenge. Responding to this challenge, Cian, who is currently Head of MicroNano Systems at Tyndall, has, over the last 27 years, developed MagIC (Magnetics on Silicon), an innovative technology that can greatly extend the battery life of portable electronics and dramatically reduce the energy use of high-performance electronic systems and equipment.
The ground-breaking impact of the technology has been recently recognized with prestigious awards from the 400,000 member IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and EARTO (European Association of Research and Technology Organisations).
The IEEE Power Electronics Society Technical Achievement Award for Integration and Miniaturisation of Switching Power Converters celebrates Cian's extraordinary, global influence and leadership over the last decade in bringing together the electronics industry and academia to collaborate toward the development of the Power Supply-on-Chip (PwrSoC).
Tyndall is the first Irish recipient of an EARTO Award, which recognizes key contributions from European research to high-impact, technological innovation. The 2021 EARTO Innovation Award for Impact Expected looks to the future and recognizes the impact Professor Ó Mathúna's research will have on the technology of the future. Including dramatically reducing system energy consumption, extending battery life and reducing the overall size, weight and cost of future electronic systems.
Tyndall's MagIC technology makes bulky magnetics components in electronic equipment to disappear onto the silicon chip, just like Gordon Moore and colleagues did with the transistor over 50 years ago. Using MagIC technology, electronics will be able to use power more efficiently by minimizing the energy wasted or lost as the battery powers the multiple-voltage rails required in multi-core microprocessor chips and/or other complex SoC chips. This improved efficiency can extend the charge time of batteries by more than 50%. The breakthrough technology will have a huge impact on markets for mobile phones, IT equipment, and any device needing a battery. It is also envisaged that the technology will deliver significant energy savings in servers in the data centre and high-performance computing space.
Professor Ó Mathúna said, "This ground-breaking and disruptive innovation is set to change the global approach to how power is managed in electronic devices and will contribute to addressing a critical environmental issue for society and our planet. We continue to partner extensively with global companies to develop and commercialize the technology which has already received more than €20M in funding from research, licensing and productization. We have joint publications with companies such as Global Foundries in Dresden and Singapore; Intel, USA; Philips in the Netherlands, TI in the USA; Wurth Electronics in Germany as well as a joint patent with Apple Computers."
Cian joined the November 2021 PSMA Board of Directors meeting and was very gracious and effusive in acknowledging the influence PSMA has had on the emergence of PwrSoC over the last 3 decades. Cian mentioned that he was first introduced to PSMA by Don Staffiere who managed to convince one of his Irish clients, Gary Duffy, then MD of Computer Products (later Artseyn Technologies) to fund Cian's attendance at the 1994 APEC. Cian came to APEC with a very limited background in power electronics but, through Don's introductions to PSMA, he began participating in the PSMA Technology Roadmap initiative, and was quickly able to leverage his expertise in microelectronics packaging which was just beginning to have a very positive impact on the miniaturization and integration of power electronics products.
Joe Horzepa, Gary Duffy, Arnold Alderman and Cian Ó Mathúna at APEC in the mid 2000s
With the support of Don Staffiere, Bob Huljak, the late Prof. William Sarjeant and the strategic guidance and wisdom of Joe Horzepa (and Judy!), Cian engaged with Arnold Alderman and Doug Hopkins to run the Packaging Technical Committee with Brian Narveson and Ernie Parker later contributing their expertise. Around 1997/98, PSMA awarded NMRC (National Microelectronics Research Centre – the precursor to Tyndall) funding to undertake a special project on the state-of-the-art in commercial 3D power electronics packaging and followed this, in 2006/2007, with funding, for Tyndall and Anagenesis, on the very first study on fully-integrated power – the visionary and seminal "PSiP2PwrSoC" project.
Looking back, Cian sees this project as the inspiration for him to establish PwrSoC, the International Workshop on Power Supply on Chip which was first held in Cork in 2008 with over 100 international participants. At PwrSoC2010, Tyndall agreed to hand over the workshop to PSMA and the IEEE Power Electronics Society from which point the Workshop has become recognized as the flagship technical forum worldwide for both industry and academia to get together to discuss both the technological and business challenges and opportunities for PwrSoC.
In his closing remarks, Cian commented "the vision and strategic perspective of PSMA, over the last 27 years, has had a dramatic impact on seeding research in power electronics, on providing a dedicated forum to gain insight into major power industry challenges and, in particular, in providing me, and the wider team at NMRC/Tyndall, with the international perspective to succeed. For all of this, I am forever in PSMA's debt."