Other news of interest

Keith D. Jackson Announces Plans to Retire as President and CEO of ON Semiconductor Effective May 2021
Posted: 2020-9-4

ON Semiconductor Corporation announced today that Keith D. Jackson, the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, intends to retire from ON Semiconductor in May 2021. To ensure an orderly transition, Mr. Jackson will continue to remain in his current roles until his retirement and will assist the Board of Directors in its search for his successor. In addition, Mr. Jackson will also retire as a member of the Board of Directors in connection with his retirement as President and Chief Executive Officer and does not currently anticipate standing for re-election at the Company’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

ON Semiconductor’s Board of Directors is initiating a comprehensive search to identify the next CEO and will engage an executive search firm to support the search. The Board of Directors will consider both internal and external candidates.

“I have had the privilege of working in the semiconductor industry for more than 40 years and leading ON Semiconductor has been the highlight of my career,” said Jackson. “It has been a pleasure working with our remarkable employees to witness the expansive growth of the company since 2002. I believe now is the right time, though, to start transitioning the leadership of the company as it will allow me to spend more time with my family and wonderful grandchildren.”

Mr. Jackson joined ON Semiconductor as its President and Chief Executive Officer in 2002 and has overseen significant growth of the company during his tenure, including growth in the company’s market capitalization from approximately $300 million in 2002 to approximately $8.9 billion in 2020, and in the company’s revenue from approximately $1.1 billion in 2002 to Fortune 500 company status with approximately $5.5 billion in revenue in 2019 and approximately 35,000 global employees in 2020. Mr. Jackson was also instrumental in leading extraordinary growth of the company’s innovative product offerings through both organic development, particularly with respect to products in the automotive, industrial and internet of things markets, as well as through significant strategic expansions of the company, including the company’s acquisitions of AMI Semiconductor, Aptina Imaging, Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc. and Quantenna Communications, Inc.

“On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Keith for his significant contributions and impact in advancing ON Semiconductor’s position within the semiconductor industry,” said Alan Campbell, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “The company has benefited from his leadership, industry expertise and keen vision and we intend to work closely with Keith to ensure a smooth transition and engage in the next phase of leadership. The board is confident that Keith and his team will continue to focus on growing the company’s business as the board searches to identify the right person to takeover the reins from Keith.”

iNEMI Publishes Best Practices for Protecting the Reliability and Integrity of Electronic Equipment when Disinfecting for COVID-19
Posted: 2020-8-20

The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) today announced publication of “Recommended Best Practices for Protecting the Reliability and Integrity of Electronic Products and Assemblies when Disinfecting for SARSCoV- 2 (COVID-19).”

Developed by a team of experts from across the member organizations of the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI), this document provides guidance on how to mitigate the possible detrimental impact of disinfecting procedures on electronic equipment and assemblies. Groups such as the U.S. EPA, CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have published general guidelines regarding cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19, but none of these specifically address the impact of disinfectants and their application methods on electronic equipment and assemblies. Many commonly recommended disinfection substances and/or application methods could potentially cause failures in electronic equipment.

To develop these best practices, the iNEMI team reviewed key industry, government and technical sources. They also assessed the chemicals included in the U.S. EPA List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and common application methods, identifying those substances that minimize the risk of negative impact on electronic equipment when applied in an appropriate manner. 

“With the COVID-19 crisis, several of our members have contacted iNEMI for guidance on how to mitigate the possible detrimental impact of disinfecting procedures on electronic equipment and assemblies,” said Marc Benowitz, iNEMI CEO. “There are guidelines from groups such as the U.S. EPA, CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19, but none of these address the impact of disinfectants and their application methods on electronic equipment and assemblies.” 

“Many commonly recommended disinfection substances and/or application methods could potentially cause failures in electronic equipment if the internal electronics were inadvertently exposed to them,” continued Benowitz. “This is an obvious concern for electronics manufacturers who are wanting to ensure the safety of their employees, supply chain partners and customers, while protecting the reliability and integrity of their products.”

Benowitz explains that, in response to this industry need, a team of experts from across iNEMI member organizations reviewed key industry, government and technical sources and assembled a best practices document. The team assessed the chemicals included in the U.S. EPA List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and common application methods, identifying those substances that minimize the risk of negative impact on electronic equipment when applied in an appropriate manner. 

iNEMI’s best practices are now available to download here.

ON Semiconductor to Explore Sale of Niigata Manufacturing Facility
Posted: 2020-8-8
Company intent for buyer to continue to manufacture products and maintain supply continuity for customers

ON Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: ON), driving energy efficient innovations, today announced it is exploring a sale of its manufacturing facility in Niigata, Japan. The intended sale of Niigata facility is part of the company’s plan to optimize its manufacturing footprint and sharpen its focus on highly differentiated power, analog and sensor products. The company will begin searching for strategic buyers to enter into a mutually beneficial arrangement that is expected to facilitate an orderly transition of products from its facility in Niigata to other facilities in its network.

The Niigata facility is an automotive qualified facility, which meets the IATF 16949 global industry standard for quality management. The company believes that the facility is an attractive semiconductor manufacturing asset. The site is run by a highly skilled and productive workforce capable of managing a large mix of technologies.

The Niigata facility consists of two co-located wafer fabs with 215,000 square feet of clean room space, located on a 40 acre campus with 1.1 million square feet of building space. The large campus, existing infrastructure and capability of eight inch wafer manufacturing provide potential buyers a compelling growth opportunity. Currently, the facility supports the company’s BCD, BiCMOS, CMOS, Discrete and Smart Discrete technologies.

ON Semiconductor remains committed to growing its presence in Japan, and the company recently added a large eight-inch wafer fab in Aizu to its manufacturing footprint. ON Semiconductor plans to continue to invest in its various functional groups, such as field service, research and development, solution engineering centers, and manufacturing plants to better serve its customers in Japan.

For more information, visit http://www.onsemi.com.

ON Semiconductor’s SiC Power Modules to Support Delta’s Solar PV Inverters
Posted: 2020-7-20
Delta's Three-Phase PV Inverter benefits from the efficiency offered by SiC technology

ON Semiconductor, driving energy efficient innovations, has introduced a full SiC power module for solar inverter applications, which has been selected by the global leading provider of power and thermal management solutions, Delta, to support its M70A three-phase PV string inverter portfolio.

The NXH40B120MNQ family of full SiC power modules integrate a 1200 V, 40mΩ SiC MOSFET and 1200 V, 40 A SiC boost diode with dual boost stage. The use of SiC technology delivers the low reverse recovery and fast switching characteristics needed to achieve the high levels of power efficiency required in applications such as solar inverters.

"Silicon Carbide technology has the potential to revolutionize the energy market," commented Asif Jakwani, senior vice president of the Advanced Power Division at ON Semiconductor. "The full SiC integrated power modules developed by ON Semiconductor address the need for higher system efficiency at elevated power levels in solar inverters, and demonstrate the maturity of SiC technology."

"With our focus on providing innovative, clean and energy-efficient solutions for a better tomorrow, we are always looking to engage with suppliers that can help us achieve highest efficiency, reduce product volume and weight, and meet the needs of the global solar PV market,” said Raymond Lee, head of Delta’s PV Inverter Business Unit. He added, "The full SiC power modules from ON Semiconductor were selected for our M70A 70kW three-phase PV string inverter because they provide best in class performance, which combined with our unique expertise in high-efficiency power electronics, allow our products to achieve peak energy conversion efficiency as high as 98.8%."

As part of ON Semiconductor's growing portfolio of Power Integrated Modules (PIMs) based on wide bandgap (WBG) technology, the NXH40B120MNQ offers a high level of integration with pin assignment optimized for inverter design. By using SiC components, the power module delivers low conduction and switching losses, enabling the use of higher switching frequencies, which contributes to higher inversion efficiency. The modules are designed for ease of use, with solderless press-fit connections and customer-defined thermal interface options, depending on customer preferences.

For more information, visit www.onsemi.com.

ON Semiconductor Releases Annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report
Posted: 2020-7-9
ON Semiconductor continues to encourage ethical, sustainable and responsible business practices across its global footprint

ON Semiconductor, driving energy efficient innovations, has today released its seventh annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. The report highlights key initiatives that are driving the company towards its goals in ethics, sustainability and responsibility, which in turn is positively influencing and impacting its surrounding communities. These key initiatives are a result of the company’s culture and core values, which remain unwavering since its public offering over 20 years ago – respect, integrity and initiative.

“In 2019, the organization hit many milestones in the area of CSR and ethics, all while remaining a leader of energy efficient semiconductors that help make the world greener, safer and connected,” said Jean Chong, vice president of ethics and corporate social responsibility at ON Semiconductor. “The results of our sustainable investments have allowed us to improve our competitive position and create a relationship of mutual trust and respect between the company and the local communities in which we operate.”

The organization’s CSR efforts focus on continually improving how it operates, whether it be related to business, governance and ethics, people, environment or communities. By keeping these principles at the forefront of its operations, ON Semiconductor has been able to achieve the following:

  • Sustainability Project Savings: In 2019, the company saved more than $10.8 million USD through sustainability projects across energy conservation, water conservation, chemical waste reduction, material optimization and recycling efforts. With an in-house team dedicated to sustainability excellence, ON Semiconductor has achieved marked successes within the company’s conservation programs, all of which are vital to the success of our semiconductor device manufacturing business.
  • Reclaim and Recycle: In 2019, approximately 910,000 kilograms of scrap materials and 1,376 kilograms of precious metals from its worldwide manufacturing facilities were processed, sorted and sold for reuse. The reclamation of these materials recouped more than $22 million USD.
  • Community Support: In 2019, the ON Semiconductor Foundation was formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to further align the company’s corporate giving and employee volunteer programs to its purpose, brand and culture. It also focuses on external exposure of its giving programs towards communities where employees work and where it does business. Since the inception of the global corporate giving program in 2016, almost $5 million have been funded. In 2019, ON Semiconductor invested over $2 million USD to support its communities worldwide in the areas of STEAM education, health, human services, disaster relief and environment.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: In 2020, ON Semiconductor ranked #1 Fortune 500 high tech / semiconductor company for gender diversity. ON Semiconductor has long remained committed to diversity and inclusion, recognizing that the company is at its strongest when it effectively draws upon the wide variety of experiences, knowledge, culture and backgrounds of its employees. The company continues to meet or beat its diversity metrics in the areas of policies and practices, development and training, talent and succession pipeline, communication and awareness, and measure success, since established in 2018.

“I am proud of our award-winning CSR and ethics initiatives and the everyday actions our employees take to enhance our global communities to create a better world for our future leaders,” said Keith Jackson, president and chief executive officer at ON Semiconductor. “As we continue to grow, we are committed to supporting our company’s ethical framework, operating a responsible company and continuing to advance our position within the CSR and ethics realm.”

ON Semiconductor places high importance and value in being ethical, sustainably responsible and community-centered with plans to continuously evolve its CSR efforts. The company has seen the fruits of its labor to be a CSR leader within its industry winning World’s Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere five years in a row, as well as being named Barron’s 100 “Most Sustainable Companies” in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Further, this year the company was also recognized as Newsweek’s America’s Most Responsible Companies, while also advancing its position on Fortune’s Fastest-Growing Companies list.

To learn more about ON Semiconductor and its CSR initiatives, read the 2019 CSR Report.

iNEMI Elects New Chairman of the Board
Posted: 2020-7-7
Intel’s Mostafa Aghazadeh Elected Chairman of iNEMI’s Board

The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) has announced that Mostafa Aghazadeh of Intel has been elected Chairman of the iNEMI Board of Directors.

Aghazedeh is Corporate Vice President and Director of Die Prep & Assembly Technology Development at Intel Corporation in Chandler, Arizona (see biography and photo). He has served on the iNEMI Board since 2013 and replaces Jean-Luc Pelissier of Universal Instruments, who has served as Chair since 2018.

“Mostafa is a recognized leader in the technology industry with strong expertise, and he has been an omnipresent, very dedicated member of the board and a strong supporter of iNEMI for many years,” said Pelissier. “We have worked together closely and I have always valued his insights and guidance. I have no doubt that he will provide excellent leadership to iNEMI as Chairman of the Board. His knowledge of the industry and deep relationship network will be a tremendous asset to the organization.”

“Mostafa and I first worked together on the board when I was representing a member company, and have continued to do so since I took over as iNEMI’s CEO,” said Marc Benowitz. “He is a strong advocate for iNEMI and collaborative research. He has not only helped guide iNEMI during his years on the board but has also been a strong ambassador for the consortium throughout the electronics manufacturing supply chain. I look forward to working with him even more closely as Chairman. I also want to thank Jean-Luc for his tremendously valuable partnership and leadership as Board Chair, and look forward to his continued contributions on the board.”

For additional information, visit www.inemi.org

ON Semiconductor to Provide Danfoss with High Power Devices for Inverter Traction Modules
Posted: 2020-7-6

ON Semiconductor, driving energy efficient innovations, and Danfoss A/S today announced that ON Semiconductor will supply Danfoss Silicon Power with high power IGBTs and diodes for inverter traction modules in the fast growing electric vehicle market.

As a leading supplier of power semiconductors for more than 50 years, ON Semiconductor has developed a wide range of automotive components, by applying advanced technology and extensive R&D expertise, in the fields of high-voltage interfacing, smart power management, in-vehicle networking, system level integration, and sensor interfaces. The company also provides a robust set of modeling tools that enable the designer to realize application performance in simulation rather than costly measurement cycles. In addition, utilizing the 12 inch Fab in East Fishkill, ON Semiconductor is perfectly positioned to supply competitive devices at a scale necessary to serve the vehicle electrification market for years to come.

Danfoss Silicon Power is a subsidiary of the Danfoss Group, the largest industrial company in Denmark. For decades, Danfoss Silicon Power has been helping top tier manufacturers and system suppliers meet stringent reliability, design and cost targets by designing, developing and manufacturing customized power modules for automotive, industrial and renewable applications.

“Chip independency is an important and fundamental element of the Danfoss go-to market strategy. By selecting IGBT chips from ON Semiconductor we are accommodating the high growth expectations from our automotive customers,” said Claus A. Petersen, senior vice president and general manager, Danfoss Silicon Power. “Our main objective is to develop world-class power modules, fitted exactly for the application in question. We are happy to have a long-term and robust relationship with ON Semiconductor.”

“With investment in power technologies and manufacturing capacity globally, ON Semiconductor reiterates our firm commitment to be the top supplier of automotive high power devices,” said Asif Jakwani, senior vice president of the Advance Power Division at ON Semiconductor. “Utilizing our semiconductor portfolio with Danfoss’ extensive experience in power module design and manufacturing, we expect our penetration in the vehicle electrification market to accelerate, benefitting both companies.”

ON Semiconductor will fabricate the high power components in manufacturing locations in East Fishkill, New York, and Bucheon, South Korea. Danfoss will fabricate their power modules in Flensburg, Germany, and Utica, New York.

For more information, visit www.onsemi.com.

RECOM Power Hires Martin Rausch as Chief Technology Officer
Posted: 2020-7-1

RECOM Power is pleased to announce that Martin Rausch has been appointed to the newly created position of Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Rausch joins RECOM after six years serving as a Managing Director at TGW Mechanics where he managed the development and supply chain locations in Austria, China and the US.

Within his professional career, Rausch has completed an MBA, a PhD in electrical engineering, and has held managerial positions at both Siemens and General Electric making him expertly qualified to manage the global development of RECOM’s manufacturing sites in Austria, Italy, China Mainland and Taiwan area. As CTO, he will be responsible for overseeing every aspect of product development including research and development, production, quality management, certification, and purchasing, as well as customer support and satisfaction. 

Karsten Bier (Owner): “Our vision at RECOM is to provide our customers across the world with ideal power solutions and best-in-class support in our role as a service provider for bespoke and off-the-shelf products as well as innovative platform architectures. We follow one clear objective – to continue growing. The new CTO’s mission is to lead us into the next level of development while tapping into the wide variety of world-class resources in the RECOM group and using them across the globe.”

Martin Rausch (CTO): “We need two things to achieve this goal and go full force with the energy we have at our disposal throughout the RECOM group: Professional organization with people that can take personal responsibility and think in a team, and efficient global processes serving our independent units. This will involve striking a balance between utilizing existing resources to the full and exploring and developing new markets.”


PSMA Energy Efficiency and Safety & Compliance Databases Access Now Open
Posted: 2020-6-30
No Registration Required

The Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) announced the opening of the popular Safety & Compliance Standards Database (SCDB) and Energy Efficiency Regulations Database (EEDB) to the industry with no registration required. You can find information about a Regulation or Standard, its most recent version, revision history, or the latest agency updating work. PSMA has successfully offered the EEDB and SCDB databases to the industry at no charge to the user for several years. Now access is even easier with neither a registration nor log-in required to access all of this industry regulations and standards information.

Every product sold today must meet the requirements of agency regulations, and ultimately standards. Each country or group of countries may have different requirements. It is critical to know the specific ones which your product must comply and the ones requiring compliance within the next two to four years, products you are probably just commencing to design. Since there are numerous regulations and standards, the SCDB and EEDB databases simplify access to the one you need to find. The specifics for each of these databases and how you can easily find them is as follows.

To find the databases, go the PSMA Home Page www.psma.com and follow the links to the database or use the direct links:

The Energy Efficiency Database (EEDB)

PSMA Energy Management Committee sponsors the Energy Efficiency Database, which covers energy efficiency regulations globally for power supplies and motor drives. This database presently tracks on a daily basis 56 agencies and 521 regulations. A significant number of regulations are presently under revision, or revision is complete to become active in 2021/2022.

Figure 1 shows the regulation selection page. You can select a specific agency by application, country or state, or global region. You can also select a regulation by the application. The "Recent or Upcoming Events" section lists all the latest work on all regulations tracked by the database with the most recent date first.

Figure 1 – Energy Efficiency Database Regulations Page

The Safety & Compliance Database (SCDB)

The PSMA Safety & Compliance Committee sponsors the SCDB, which monitors the Power Electronics Standards globally. Presently, this database tracks 778 standards from 50 agencies. The Standards categories include: Product Safety, EMC, Material Toxicity, Environmental, Quality Standard, Performance, Energy Efficiency, and Fundamental Standard.

Figure 2 shows the standard selection page. As with EEDB, you may select a specific agency by application, country or state, or global region. If you have the standard number, you can find it quickly in the bottom selection menu box. The "Recent or Upcoming Events" section lists all the latest work on all standards tracked by the database by the latest date first.

Figure 2 - Safety & Compliance Database Standards Selection Page with Agency Drop List Shown Expanded

And… PSMA Helps You to Stay Up-to-Date Weekly

PSMA further simplifies your access to Regulation updates and Standard updates by offering weekly email announcements containing the latest "Recent or Upcoming Events". This permits you to stay current automatically with present change considerations and work in process on standards and regulations upgrades. There are an average of 30 updates each month from agencies around the globe which the PSMA database team gathers and includes in the weekly email updates. To receive this service, which is provided at no cost to the recipient, you just need to sign up, provide your email address and select the update announcements you want to receive -  SCDB,  EEDB or both.

The direct links to sign up for email updates to the EEDB data base  is https://www.psma.com/webforms/psma-energy-efficiency-database-email-sign.

The direct link to sign up for email updates to the SCDB is https://www.psma.com/webforms/psma-safety-compliance-database-email-sign.

35th Anniversary of PSMA & APEC
Posted: 2020-6-30


Can you believe that the PSMA & APEC are both 35 years young this year? We can look back on our accomplishments and look forward to what we will achieve in the next decade. That means that there is still time to add to the list of accomplishments. For inspiration, here are some PSMA accomplishments over the years:

  • Sponsored APEC (Applied Power Electronics Conference)
    • Created and organized various APEC Industry Sessions
    • Pioneered APEC Presentation Awards
    • Pioneered APEC Student Travel Support
    • Pioneered pre- APEC Magnetics & Capacitor Workshops
  • Supported and contributed to the International Future Energy Challenge (IFEC)
  • Supported Industry input on proposed regulations and standards
  • Created the Energy Efficiency and Safety & Compliance Databases, a collection of international standards and regulations.
  • Pioneered the Power Technology Roadmaps.
  • Pioneered the PwrSoC Workshop, 3D-PEIM Symposium and EnerHarv Workshop
  • Published series of reports on trends and advances in power packaging and 3D Power Packaging working with leading universities and technical organizations.
  • Republished and made available several out of print industry reference books on magnetics

If your company is not yet a member of PSMA, visit www.psma.com/membership/benefits to learn more about joining PSMA and adding your voice to the almost 200 companies, organizations and educators who for 35 years have worked together to support the mission and initiatives of PSMA and to influence the directions of the Power Sources Industry.

Consider how you can contribute to the many opportunities this year, here are few to get started:

  • Contact the Power Technology Roadmap Committee on how you can help the upcoming Power Technology Roadmap 2021.
  • Attend an Energy Management Committee meeting to learn how you can stay informed and help shape upcoming regulations from the US Department of Energy in external power supplies.
  • Attend a Semiconductor Committee meeting to contribute to the adoption of wide bandgap semiconductors.
  • Attend a Transportation Power Electronics Committee meeting to understand the electrification of automobiles and other vehicles.
  • Attend a Reliability Committee meeting to address power supply communication bus issues.
  • Help lead the Safety and Compliance Committee to discuss emerging electromagnetic compliance and certification testing issues facing designers and meeting customer demands.

If you are interested in any of these opportunities, email power@psma.com.

In addition, all of the PSMA Technical Committees welcome your participation in planning and organizing industry sessions for APEC 2021. Help to raise the bar for APEC 2021 Industry Sessions with new presenters with different views discussing their perspectives. Regardless of whether APEC 2021 is the traditional in person conference or virtual event, people still need to hear new points of view and interact with others to discuss the emerging opportunities in the power electronics industry.

APEC has grown and evolved from the first conference in 1986 with 250 Attendees and 20 Exhibitors while staying true to the original ideals, solidifying its status as the leading conference for practicing power electronics professionals. View the APEC 35th Anniversary presentation to see the conference roots and learn more about the volunteers starting with the original "Gang of 8" who have made APEC so successful!

First APEC Social (All 250 Attendees)

Provided by Ada Cheng and Frank Cirolia
PSMA Marketing Committee members


PSMA Launches Webinar Series to Prepare for the Next Power Technology Roadmap (PTR)
Posted: 2020-6-30
This Online webinar series will feature industry experts who will discuss ongoing trends in power technology. The biweekly seminars will be held throughout 2020 and extend into 2021 and will set the stage for the next PSMA Power Technology Roadmap

The Power Sources Manufacturers Association announces a series of webinars as a lead-up to the next edition of the PSMA Power Technology Roadmap (PTR). The webinar series, organized by the PSMA Power Technology Roadmap Committee, will feature invited experts from different fields to offer a range of technological perspectives. In addition to setting the groundwork and providing input for the next PTR, the webinars will give participants access to expert opinions on technology trends and include a question and answer session at the end of each session.

The webinar series will include a number of highly regarded industry and academic experts covering a variety of topics covering components, systems, packaging and applications. The series began on February 20 with a presentation by Ajay Hari of ON Semiconductor "Utilizing WBG Devices in Next Generation Power Converters." Two webinars were held in May, "JEDEC JC-70 Issues Industry First Guidelines for Testing and Evaluating Wide Bandgap Power Devices" presented by Stephanie Watts Butler, Texas Instruments and Peter Friedrichs, Infineon; and "Powering & Retrofitting IoT Devices for Industry 4.0" by Mike Hayes and Peter Haigh, Tyndall National Institute. Future topics include "Ultra-High Density Double-Sided Half-Bridge Packaging with Organic Laminates", "Advanced Packaging Concepts for Wide Band Gap Power Electronics", "Switching Performance of Wide Band Gap Devices", and many others.

Webinars are tentatively scheduled to be held every other Thursday from 10:00-11:00 a.m. Central Time. For updates to the schedule and news of webinars that will be added, please visit: www.psma.com/technical-forums/roadmap/news-events and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. To join the PSMA mailing list to receive invitations to all upcoming webinars, sign up at  www.psma.com/webforms/psma-email

The Power Technology Roadmap provides a consolidated outlook of trends in power conversion technology for the next two to five years. The trends provided in the report are intended to give a broad outlook of the power conversion technologies, components and applications. The complete Roadmap document has been published every two or three years, incorporating the content of the Roadmap Webinars Series conducted over the months prior to publication. The other content for the PTR is sourced from recognized industry experts and comprises write-ups about trends in components, applications, emerging technologies and university research. It also includes a comprehensive projection of key metrics evolution in four selected power conversion technologies (ac-dc front-end power supplies, ac-dc external power supplies, isolated dc-dc converters and non-isolated dc-dc converters).

Conor Quinn of Artesyn Embedded Technologies and Dhaval Dalal of ACP Technologies, Power Technology Roadmap Committee Co-chairs, stated; "The PTR webinars provide a window into technology trends and the presentations are unique in terms of their diversity of perspectives, commercial-free tone and the opportunity they offer for the audience to interact with industry experts. We are always looking to enrich and expand our panel of webinar presenters and we welcome suggestions and proposals from prospective speakers." Joe Horzepa, PSMA Executive Director, added that the Committee "welcomes and invites subject matter experts who are willing to actively participate and contribute to the development of the next PSMA Power Technology Roadmap to contact the PSMA Association Office at power@psma.com."

About Our Members
Posted: 2020-6-29


Indium Corporation

Since its founding in a small garage in Central New York over 85 years ago, Indium Corporation has established itself as a leader in the research and development of new materials and products to solve the industry challenges of today and the future. Now a global company with 13 facilities worldwide, Indium Corporation believes that materials science changes the world, and their commitment to innovation is reflected in the continuing growth of the company's R&D department.

Indium Corporation is dedicated to providing proven, reliable materials for power electronics in automotive, mobile, 5G infrastructure, and other applications across the globe. This commitment is seen in their collaboration with industry partners and customers to address the challenges facing the industry, as well as in their own devotion to developing cutting-edge materials that meet or exceed the ever-evolving power requirements.

As a result, Indium Corporation has developed a wide portfolio of industry-proven materials for power electronics, ranging from solder paste to solder preforms and ribbons, thermal interface materials, and silver sintering paste, such as:


  • InFORMS® reinforced solder alloy fabrications that improve mechanical and thermal reliability while ensuring uniform bondline thickness. InFORMS® also address specific challenges of the power electronics industry by providing an enhanced material for the development of more reliable and higher performance modules.
  • QuickSinter® silver sintering paste delivers consistent, high-speed sintering on a variety of surfaces and die metallizations. QuickSinter® works well in both high- and low-temperature pressure or pressureless applications. It can be used for discretes, small modules, and integrated power modules.
  • Metal thermal interface materials (TIMs) are available for a wide variety of applications and process challenges. Heat-Spring® TIM offers uniform thermal resistance with minimized surface resistance and increased heat flow. HSMF is a compressible TIM that is ideal for large area thermal interface requirements, such as IGBTs.

Indium Corporation is a premier materials manufacturer and supplier to the global electronics, semiconductor, thin-film, and thermal management markets. Products include solders and fluxes; brazes; thermal interface materials; sputtering targets; indium, gallium, germanium, and tin metals and inorganic compounds; and NanoFoil®. Founded in 1934, the company has global technical support and factories located in China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

For more information about Indium Corporation, visit www.indium.com. You can also follow our experts, From One Engineer To Another® (#FOETA), at www.facebook.com/indium or @IndiumCorp.

Provided by Jingya Huang, Marketing Communications Assistant Manager, Indium Corporation





MinDCet NV

MinDCet is experienced in application-specific integrated circuits (ICs) development for power electronics and measurement systems with over 10 years of innovative solutions. The company was founded by Mike Wens and Jef Thoné as a spin-off from the KULeuven University in Leuven, Belgium. Since then, the MinDCet team has grown to become world-renowned specialists in analog-mixed mode and high-voltage IC design. MinDCet's measurement systems business unit is developing and delivering state-of-the-art inductor and capacitor measurement equipment to globally renowned passive component manufacturers and related industries.

IC Design & Production

Our customers require unique integrated circuit solutions, as off-the-shelf products cannot fulfill their requirements. MinDCet develops encompassing solutions in partnership with the customer by guiding them from the idea stage to the implementation of the custom IC. During this process, MinDCet takes care of the entire development and production chain. Dedicated teams of IC designers, layout engineers, characterization/test engineers and application engineers ensure a predictive and controlled flow from idea to final product. Whether your product needs radiation hardening, high temperature-, high-speed-, high-voltage- and high-reliability-capabilities, MinDCet has the expertise and readiness to provide a fitting result.To date, Astronics power engineers have generated dozens of patents for power systems on aircraft.

A lab-technician programming a production IC test setup.
A 40V / 5A intelligent half-bridge IC.

MinDCet is your single point of contact, taking care of the entire IC process: foundry access, prototyping, characterization, packaging, test development, and the final production and testing. Our network of partners ensures a stable production flow. Since 2019, test development and final production testing are conducted in-house in our new cleanroom facilities. This approach offers significant benefits in timing and cost reduction as the characterization and test steps are combined. Additionally, the closed-loop interaction between our test engineers and IC designers enables short response times, an essential aspect towards a stable production flow.

A BGA packaged GaN gate-driver IC
and the test-socket.

MinDcet Standard IC Solutions

The MADMIX inductor measurement system.

MinDCet firmly believes in a green future driven by wide-bandgap power electronics. Consequently, we have an established track record in developing supporting ICs for wide bandgap circuits, specifically GaN and SiC gate-drivers, signal isolators and monolithic GaN power ICs. Currently, our unique gate-driver solutions are being launched as standard products to further enable wide-bandgap power electronics applications.

Measurement Systems

In the early days of MinDCet, we discovered that switched-mode power supply (SMPS) inductors and capacitors were missing the required models to accurately simulate SMPS circuits. As a key component in the power IC development, this deficit triggered our in-house development of the MADMIX and MADCAP equipment. These patented systems allow measurement of AC losses in SMPS inductors and capacitors under real-life, switched-mode stimuli. Although initially developed for internal use, today this equipment is commercially available and found in many labs throughout the world.

Future Outlook

We live with power on our minds, pushing the power electronics industry to the next level. MinDCet's success story will continue with cutting-edge power products, available in the near future. Stay tuned at www.mindcet.com.

A micro-photograph of a 200V monolithic GaN half-bridge with integrated gate-drive.

Provided by Mike Wens, CEO, Managing Director, MinDCet NV


Richardson Electronics Power and Microwave Technologies
Richardson Electronics – Power & Microwave Technologies

For over 70 years, Richardson Electronics has been an industry-leading global provider of engineered solutions, power and microwave components.

With an extensive global supply network and a presence in over 43 countries, we are well equipped to meet the challenges and considerations unique to any location around the world. We speak the local language and transact in local currencies.

Power electronics is one of our two focus markets. Thanks to our history and specialization in vacuum tubes, we have test capability and experience that reach exceptionally high voltages and high power- up to 100kV and over 100KA.
Leading edge technologies we distribute and support include Silicon Carbide devices and ultracapacitors for a range of applications, along with current generation IGBTs, capacitors, batteries, gate drivers, magnetics, thermal management and related products. Our partners are in the US, Europe, Korea, Japan, China and more; giving us the best performance at competitive costs. Familiar names include Cornell Dubilier, Fuji Semiconductor, LS Mtron, Tamura, UnitedSiC, Starpower, Kendeil, Ohmite and more.

We are more than just a specialized distributor. By and large, we are experts in identifying and designing in disruptive and leading edge technologies, introducing new products to the market, developing solutions for our customers' needs, and providing exceptional global support.

As a manufacturer and authorized distributor, Richardson Electronics – Power & Microwave Technologies' division provides specialized technical expertise and engineered solutions based on our core engineering and manufacturing capabilities. We also provide solutions and add value through design-in support, systems integration, prototype design and manufacturing, testing, logistics, and aftermarket technical service and repair—all through our existing global infrastructure. Our portfolio of products and detailed product specifications, and other valuable information can be found on https://www.rellpower.com/.

Provided by Jeffrey T. Kerner, Business Unit Manager, Power & Energy,
Power & Microwave Technologies, Richardson Electronics, Ltd.


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.


Meet Your Directors
Posted: 2020-6-29


Four members of the Board of Directors are elected at the PSMA Annual Meeting held every year 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 Mike Hayes and Fred Weber who are both serving their second term.
Mike Hayes (M.Eng.Sc.) Head of Group ICT4EE, Tyndall National Institute

Mike is an established technology and thought leader in 'power IoT' promoting synergy opportunities between power electronics, energy harvesting and ICT domains. He has written a number of publications, participated in EU studies, presenting & chairing conferences and workshops related to this. His team delivered the world's 1st indoor energy harvesting power management solution operating indefinitely in indoor lighting conditions and for 72 hours in darkness. The team has also delivered MISCHIEF, the world's leading multi-source energy harvesting compatible PMIC (power management IC) for ultra-low power applications He is currently work package leader on several EU energy efficiency projects and co-ordinator of a 'Powering the Internet of Things' infrastructure project ('EnABLES') worth $6M giving industry access (expertise, equipment, models, feasibility studies) to 11 leading research centers and universities in Europe (Tyndall, Fraunhofer, IMEC, CEA et al.)

Mike gained 20 years power electronics industry experience at Artesyn Technologies in various design and senior management roles developing custom power supplies for blue chip telecoms companies. He has previously managed a number of technology collaborations with Power Electronics Ireland and Tyndall.

Mike has over 30 years of experience working in the Power Electronics industry & research. He is an active member of the PSMA Packaging, Energy Management and Energy Harvesting Committees. He has been a member of the PSMA Executive Committee since 2016 and now serves as Chair.

Mike currently works at Tyndall as head of the ICT for Energy Efficiency Group covering collaborative projects on power electronics & energy efficiency for IoT applications. Tyndall is one of Europe's leading research centers and a world leader in PSiP & PwrSoC domains and an epicenter for micro-power energy harvesting research in Europe.

Key achievements to date related to PSMA

  • Co-chair of the Energy Harvesting Committee since 2015
  • Co-chair of PSMA Energy Harvesting industry session at APEC since 2017
  • Co-founder with Brian Zahnstecher (PowerRox) and general chair of EnerHarv, an inaugural PSMA led energy harvesting international workshop (May 2018)
  • Contributor to 2017 & 2019 PSMA Technology Roadmap (Energy harvesting applications)
  • Managed PSMA 3D Power Packaging Phase 1 special project 
  • Represented PSMA in workshop steering committees for PwrSoC, IWIPP2017 and ECPE

Mike continues to identify, promote & drive industry/academic synergies internationally particularly between packaging, MEMS manufacturing, ICT, energy harvesting & power management. This was demonstrated at EnerHarv2018 where over 80 industry and academics participants form 4 continents gathered together forming an ecosystem driven to collaborate together to devise solutions to power the internet of things. This is expected to be a trillion sensor economy by 2025 and a disruptive opportunity for the power electronics community. In 2018 he received a leadership award from University College Cork (Tyndall's parent university) for his various 'powering IoT' initiatives over the past decade. 

Outside of work Mike is a keen golfer, plays tennis, runs, follows the 'highs and lows' of the Cork hurling team and enjoys travel and leisure time with his family. 

Provided by Mike Hayes, Head of Group ICT4EE, Tyndall National Institute

Fred J. Weber, President, Future Technology Worldwide, LLC

Fred Weber is the President of Future Technology Worldwide. LLC (FTW), a Manufacturers Representative firm covering the Great Lakes States with a portfolio of product, component, and service Principals tuned to Power Electronics. Having earned both a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Evansville, and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Fred has a strong technical and business acumen. This has been strengthened by years of product design, project management, and sales experience. His ability to open doors, close sales, and manage accounts has allowed FTW to steadily grow since its founding in 2001.

FTW has been a member of the Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) for almost 10 years.

Fred is active in the PSMA Magnetics Committee, and serves as the co-Chair of the Capacitor Committee, and the Transportation Power Electronics Committee and is currently the President of PSMA.

"I originally joined PSMA to help support a few of my Principals. I found that the diverse membership of PSMA and their continuous effort to educate, keep abreast of the latest technologies and create a networking community were ideal for my business and my personal professional growth. It is my honor and pleasure to work with the PSMA Board and Executive Staff to help guide PSMA into the future. PSMA has made great strides in the past year(s) to cement its position as the leading Power Electronics Organization. It is my goal to help PSMA continue to build on our position and to grow into industries that have only recently migrated towards Power Electronics. These industries are involved in Vehicle Electrification, Autonomous Vehicles, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Energy Storage to name a few."

Provided by Fred Weber, President, Future Technology Worldwide


Automotive 4.0 – The New Revolution?
Posted: 2020-6-29
Bus-fleet infotainment ready for "AUTOMOTIVE 4.0"

The automotive segment is often misunderstood, quickly being solely associated with cars and related applications. However, it is much bigger than that, including a broad range of applications such as buses, trucks, industrial vehicles, mobile machinery e.g. mining equipment, forklifts, automated cleaning machines, emergency service vehicles. Currently everyone in industry is talking about the increasingly famous INDUSTRY 4.0, which is often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

INDUSTRY 4.0 provides for what some call a "smart factory". Within the modular structured smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor processes, creating virtual copies of the physical world enabling decentralized decisions. Over the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real time, and, via the Internet of Services, both internal and pan-organizational services are offered and used by participants of the chain. The effects of applying some part of the INDUSTRY 4.0 upon the automotive industry can be translated into an AUTOMOTIVE 4.0 concept.

In 2019, more than 70% of cars were equipped with a color screen, part of the infotainment system, and the demand on the quality of the information delivered to the driver and passengers is very high. We all expect the same user experience from our cars as we get from our other personal devices, home entertainment and high speed connectivity. These increased expectations add complexities in interoperability and safety for the auto-manufacturers, especially when considering the promise of 5G and intelligent vehicles.

Whilst the screen is the obvious visible part of the 'iceberg', a lot of computing, sensors and other componentry make cars safer and more reliable. Collectively they are requiring increasingly efficient and robust power solutions. In the car industry, power management is often achieved by a set of power-management integrated-circuits (PMIC), part of the centralized embedded computer system. Semiconductor manufacturers are offering a large range of PMIC's, with the latest generation including digital-control and advanced communication interfaces.

If the car industry represents the mass market for automotive infotainment systems, with the development of larger cities and growing demand for inter-city exchanges, existing rail  networks are often insufficient on their own and require complimentary fleets of buses to enable passengers to reach destinations effectively.

Market Analysts reported that the global demand for buses is projected to grow significantly (more than 7% year-over-year), especially in Asia. All categories included (from local, to long distance transit) the number of buses in use worldwide is expected to exceed eight million units in 2022. Many of them will incorporate advanced infotainment and fleet monitoring equipment requiring stable and reliable power solutions.

Connected buses

As with airplanes and the new generations of high-speed rail, infotainment equipment is often installed in passenger seat, requiring local power sources immune from line disturbances, with low level of radio-emissions that are able to work without forced air cooling. In addition, bus manufacturers are requiring seat-manufacturers to make seats simpler and easier to maintain (and upgrade), with less cabling and interconnections.

To satisfy these requirements seats will depend upon simplified connectivity, limited to only one power cable and an optical fiber for data-transmission, meaning that the power source powering the infotainment equipment must be installed within the seat, placing high demand on power supply manufacturers.

Figure 1 – New generation of DC/DC converters (Powerbox ENAR100/200) designed to meet “One package to fit all” integrating advanced thermal management and high efficiency topologies for automotive applications.

For decades power supplies for such equipment used to house underneath seats, utilizing free air convection cooling. The new generation of power modules however must operate without airflow thus they must be design-optimized for conduction cooling (e.g. baseplate connected to the seat armature). To reduce power losses and optimize cooling, power converters require very high efficiency ratings with dissipative components connected directly to the baseplate (figure 01). Technologies used in high power density converters, in the telecommunication industry, such as planar transformer, thermal via, thermal-drains and in some case heat-pumps are now being implemented throughout the automotive industry.

Powering infotainment in automotive applications demands that the power converters comply with international standards, such as ISO7637 specifying electrical disturbances for conducting and coupling test conditions for road vehicles using 12V or 24V batteries (figure 02), requiring the power supplies companies to work in very close cooperation with the equipment manufacturers ensuring the final products operate in full compliance with their environments.

Figure 2 – Example of ISO7367-2 pulse test, simulating supply voltage reduction by energizing the starter-motor circuit of internal combustion engines. The ISO7367 covers a broad range of electrical disturbances tests.

Holistic fleet management


Appreciation is rarely given to the fact that modern buses are equipped with an impressive array of advanced electronics equipment requiring stable and sustainable power supplies (Figure 03). For reliability and optimization of fleet management, new generations of buses are equipped with real-time tracking capabilities connected to the navigation system, engine conditioning and safety equipment such as driving behavior analyzers. Monitoring systems are permanently reporting on the status of the vehicles, making it possible to also manage preventive maintenance and report the positioning of the fleet to a central coordinator.

Figure 3 – Applications installed in modern buses, requiring stable power and
some local battery for safety operation.

For safety reasons, to guarantee continuity of vital functionality, it is imperative in the event of main battery power failure, that strategic systems include local batteries requiring micro-chargers. These micro-chargers share similarities with the infotainment power supplies, in that they are often installed in confined environments. Thus they share a need for high efficiency designs optimized around thermally managed conduction cooled mechanical formats. Designing to mitigate potential failures, caused by thermal stress, is vital and actively contributes towards high reliability units on the road.

Designers must also take into consideration specific demands for battery charging optimization e.g. measuring battery temperature, and in some cases communication between the battery charger and a central monitoring system. Such considerations need to be employed holistically in the overall design process, with suitable comparisons being made with the performances of previous generations of products, mainly based on analog control, the latest generation integrating micro-controllers and real time charging optimization. Some would argue that adding digital control in a micro-charger is overkill technology for such applications, whilst others would counter such arguments claiming that the technology has already proven benefits in terms of reliability and longer battery life-time.

But whatever the arguments, due consideration needs to be given to the number of power sources required to supply stable and reliable voltage to infotainment and other electronic equipment employed on buses. Bus manufacturers are increasingly requiring power supply manufacturers to develop standardized DC/DC converters, Chargers, Step down regulators that are easily installed, maintained and capable of higher powered demands, when upgrading equipment. The concept of "One package to fit all" is no longer a dream but has become reality, adding challenging mechanical constraints to the unit's design parameters.

For power designers, bus-fleet modernization, and new generations of buses with modern infotainment and impressive array of advanced electronics equipment, there are opportunities to bring advanced power technology to a segment that has historically been very slow at adopting new technologies, taking big steps forward towards AUTOMOTIVE 4.0. Perhaps those early adopters are right to call this the fourth automotive revolution!

Provided by Patrick Le Fèvre
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Powerbox




Message from the PSMA Executive Committee
Posted: 2020-6-28


Hello friends and members of PSMA.

I was honored to be elected as chair of PSMA accompanied by a very strong executive team comprising Fred Weber (President), Trifon Liakopoulos (Vice-President) & Tim McDonald (Secretary/Treasurer).

Many thanks and appreciation to outgoing Chair Steve Oliver for his leadership the past two years. 

I am delighted to announce that we are adding 2 new features to our newsletter, the PSMA UPDATE.

The first one will be a 'Message from the Executive Committee'. In this issue I will provide a high-level overview of our vision and activities. In future editions, one of our Executive Committee members will give a brief update and a more detailed insight into some of our activities. As was presented at the PSMA Annual Meeting, we have categorized our vision for the future of PSMA into 4 areas and assigned a champion to each one:

  1. The 1st one Maintaining strengths (continue doing what our members seeing as most valuable, e.g. roadmaps, workshops, education) – championed by Tim
  2. Becoming more applications and problems oriented (how PSMA can help you solve real life issues, identify trends, market opportunities, etc.) - championed by Fred
  3. Putting more metrics in place to monitor our performance, assess feedback, identify opportunities to improve, etc. – championed by Trifon
  4. Engaging more with our industry and academic stakeholders, increasing collaborations with existing partners and finding strategic new ones – championed by Mike

Based on discussions to date, the anticipated strategic areas we have identified are IoT (internet of things), Smart Mobility (clean, efficient, safe and connected transportation) & Energy Storage (from micro-power to grid power). But we are open to suggestions from our members.

The second new feature in the PSMA UPDATE will be 'Friends of PSMA' and will start in the next issue.  PSMA has links with many other industry associations and we plan to use this space to increase awareness of this and to promote synergies. First up will be the China Power Supply Society (CPSS). If you have suggestions on new links or ways we can improve our current links with other industry associations, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Finally, please let us know what  you like to see in the PSMA UPDATE newsletter.  Suggestions are always welcome!

Mike Hayes
PSMA Chair
Tyndall National Institute



RSL10 Mesh Platform from ON Semiconductor Enables Smart Building and Industrial IoT Bluetooth® Low Energy Mesh Applications
Posted: 2020-6-23
Strata-enabled solution supports node-to-node communication with smart sensing and cloud connectivity

ON Semiconductor, driving energy efficient innovations, has introduced a new Bluetooth® Low Energy mesh networking solution based on its ultra-low-power RSL10 System-in-Package (RSL10 SIP). Using the RSL10 Mesh Platform, engineers can easily implement ultra-low-power mesh networking, using Bluetooth Low Energy technology, and move quickly towards full deployment. Optimized for smart home, building automation, industrial IoT, remote environment monitoring, and asset tracking and monitoring applications, this multi-faceted solution has all the essential elements needed for developing and deploying a mesh network. It consists of two RSL10 Mesh Nodes and a Strata Gateway for connectivity to the Strata Developer Studio™.

Complementing the RSL10 SIP, an array of sensing and indicator devices have been incorporated into the node hardware, including an ambient light sensor (LV0104CS), temperature sensor (N34TS108), magnetic sensors, LED indicators and a triple-output NCP5623B LED driver (for color mixing purposes). Alongside this is a built-in battery charger suitable for batteries with either Li-Ion or Li-Poly chemistries.

The mesh nodes can be easily configured to take on different roles and demonstrate particular functional aspects. The accompanying Strata Gateway allows evaluation processes to be carried out using the highly intuitive Strata Developer Studio. This cloud-connected software enables provisioning of additional mesh and supports firmware-over-the-air (FOTA) updates. Using the virtual workspaces for common mesh networking examples, including a smart office, developers can access sensor data and trigger settings. The highly energy efficient RSL10 radio is supported by an Eclipse-based Integrated Development Environment, a mobile application for provisioning, configuring and controlling a Bluetooth Low Energy Mesh network, and a Mesh Networking software package compliant with the Bluetooth SIG.

“The value of Bluetooth Low Energy mesh networking and the elimination of range limitations are now being recognized within a multitude of different contexts in the industrial, agricultural, enterprise and logistics sectors, as well as in relation to the emergence of smart cities. However, operational constraints and ease of implementation still represent major challenges,” stated Wiren Perera who heads IoT at ON Semiconductor. “Through this new platform we are helping to dramatically accelerate mesh networking development, so that nodes can be more rapidly deployed which push the performance envelope in terms of range, resiliency and power budget.”

For more information, visit www.onsemi.com.

EPC and VPT, Inc. Announce Joint Venture – EPC Space
Posted: 2020-6-16
Targeting Rad Hard Power Electronics Market for Mission Critical Applications

EPC is pleased to announce a joint venture with VPT Inc, a HEICO company, focused on designing and manufacturing radiation hardened (Rad Hard) GaN-on-silicon transistors and ICs packaged, tested, and qualified for satellite and high-reliability applications.

EPC Space (web address: EPC.Space) will provide advanced, high-reliability, power conversion solutions for critical spaceborne environments in applications including power supplies, light detection and ranging (lidar), motor drive, and ion thrusters. GaN-based components offer superior performance advantages over traditional silicon-based solutions, taking the superior performance of gallium nitride to the high reliability community offering electrical and radiation performance beyond the capabilities of the aging Rad Hard silicon MOSFET.

TDK-Lambda's Unified Power Supply Website Has Enhanced Search And Product Pages
Posted: 2020-6-1

TDK Corporation is pleased to announce that TDK-Lambda Americas has launched an upgraded website, combining AC-DC, DC-DC, programmable, high voltage and power supply accessories into one location. www.us.lambda.tdk.com can now be accessed using smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices without any loss of functionality.

New features have been added to the website including enhanced searches by product part number, type, parameters and application. Popular functions like “contact us”, distribution inventory, videos, TDK-Lambda’s long-running technical blog, exhibitions, environmental and the value of TDK-Lambda are now easier to find and view.

The website provides a one-click navigation to TDK’s Product Center containing over 100,000 part numbers, where all the necessary documentation is visible on one page.  This includes 3D files, specifications, installation manuals, application notes, evaluation, immunity and reliability data along with the product’s safety certifications.

More information about TDK-Lambda power supplies can be obtained from the TDK-Lambda Americas website at www.us.lambda.tdk.com.

Powerbox’s COVID-19 Task Force Provides Strategic Business Support to Medical and Para-Medical Applications
Posted: 2020-5-20

Powerbox, one of Europe’s largest power supply companies, and for more than four decades a leading force in optimizing power solutions for demanding applications, is not only working diligently to reduce the risk inherent to the Covid-19 to the ecosystem, but equally to ensure that its customer support and service continue without interruption. PRBX Standard and Custom power solutions are used in medical equipment such as ventilators, infusion-pumps, remote patient monitoring, anesthesia machines, ultrasound, MRI, mobile X-ray equipment, and many more. Without a Power Supply Unit (PSU), nothing works. So the PSU is a critical component in all of these equipments. In close cooperation with its customers, and with the highest level of priority given to maintaining medical equipment whilst maintaining service to all of its customers, PRBX has set up a dedicated COVID-19 Task Force to guarantee business continuation during this difficult period.

Powerbox (PRBX) stands united in a global crisis that is evolving daily, impacting each and every one of us including our families, friends, and communities. Our prime concern is the health and safety of our employees, customers, and partners. That commitment covers everything, from making sure we are doing our part to “stop the spread”, to maintaining business continuity so that our customers and partners don’t have to worry about theirs.
We are operating effectively with most employees working remotely. Maintaining a high degree of safety we have reinforced some of our workforce in European manufacturing facilities; we have implemented actions to scale our operation and meet critical customer demand; and should the need arise, we have business continuity plans that address the potential impact of this crisis.

We are confident that we can continue to deliver the highest service levels complete with the care and attention expected by our customers. In many regions, our employees are considered essential because they support customers engaged in the race to help medical care fight COVID-19, where all PRBX departments are working closely and supporting each other to bring the highest level of service to our customers.

“In these extraordinary times, PRBX is committed to the health and well-being of our families, colleagues, customers, and partners who together make PRBX part of a global community. It is our top priority to maintain the business continuity needed to provide support and service to all our customers around the world.” Said Tatsuo Yamamoto, Powerbox (PRBX) C.E.O.

In Europe and Asia our logistic teams are working hard to ensure we get strategic components and sub-assemblies needed to manufacture the much-needed PSUs. In the event of specific component shortages resulting in it not being possible to complete certain products, our R&D and Product Management teams are able to work closely with customers to provide alternative solutions from PRBX or COSEL product ranges.

Some of our customers’ medical equipment require very specific, custom designed PSUs to meet unique requirements and specifications. For those, it is business critical to avoid disruption of their supply chain and for that purpose, PRBX has expanded its Swedish manufacturing workshop, bringing in additional resources including support from our manufacturing team at Bremen, Germany.

Part of The Cosel Group, the PRBX portfolio spans commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Point-of-Load to multi-kilowatt, fully customized power solutions offering a broad range of solutions to support medical and para-medical applications. We are committed to the highest level of support to our customers, simultaneously helping to protect our community. As an example, PRBX has donated protection masks to the Norrköping hospital in Sweden and our regional offices engaged in local activities.

By working together, we will all get through this together.



K-SIM 3.0 has launched
Posted: 2020-5-12

Starting today you can experience K-SIM 3.0, KEMET's 3rd generation component simulation tool. Featuring a modern, enhanced user experience and API connections to ComponentEdge and CalcZ, K-SIM 3.0 is a completely new technology platform that allows for modern web experiences.

More features and functionality: 

  • Support for 33,000+ components across 100 series
  • Four new tools and calculators
  • Save and share work with a link or image download
  • Download models in netlist format and S2P
  • Add new parts to performance graphs without having to start over
  • An introduction to guided part navigation
  • A single-page user experience
  • A new power inductor design feature

Check out the new K-SIM 3.0

Flex Power Modules Launches New Website
Posted: 2020-3-23

Flex Power Modules, a leading manufacturer of scalable power supply solutions to improve the operational efficiencies of communications networks, announces the launch of its newly revamped website. With a modern design aligned to its parent company’s branding, the new website – http://www.flexpowermodules.com – has many new features to enhance overall user experience, navigation and search. For example, the website has introduced a parametric search, allowing customers to find products by using specific search criteria to match their precise needs. The website also has general product series pages, and more comprehensive links to pages with individual part numbers and related downloadable supporting documents such as technical specifications, application notes, design notes and much more. It is also now possible for customers to create their own account and gain direct access to the Flex Power Designer Tool when they are logged in. Based on an e-commerce platform, the new website is future-proofed to enable Flex Power Modules to implement access management and create gated areas accessible to selected partners and customers for secure storage of confidential documents. It is envisaged that this feature will also secure connection to distributors to share stock inventory and availability." target="_blank">http://www.flexpowermodules.com – has many new features to enhance overall user experience, navigation and search.

For example, the website has introduced a parametric search, allowing customers to find products by using specific search criteria to match their precise needs. The website also has general product series pages, and more comprehensive links to pages with individual part numbers and related downloadable supporting documents such as technical specifications, application notes, design notes and much more. It is also now possible for customers to create their own account  and  gain direct access to the Flex Power Designer Tool when they are logged in.

Based on an e-commerce platform, the new website is future-proofed to enable Flex Power Modules to implement access management and create gated areas accessible to selected partners and customers for secure storage of confidential documents. It is envisaged that this feature will also secure connection to distributors to share stock inventory and availability. 

ON Semiconductor Names 2019 Distribution Partner Award Winners
Posted: 2020-3-5

ON Semiconductor, driving energy efficient innovations, today announced its top distribution partners for 2019. These awards honor the distributor in each region that led channel sales, grew market share, captured increased sales of products and scored highly on overall process excellence in an evolving semiconductor market.

The top 2019 distribution partners are:

  • Americas: Avnet EM
  • APAC: Macnica
  • EMEA: Avnet Silica
  • Japan: Ryosan
  • Global High Service Distributor: Digi-Key Electronics
  • Global Distributor: Avnet EM

ON Semiconductor is an industry leader in leveraging partnerships in the global distribution channel. Approximately 60 percent of the company’s business results from distribution sales, and distribution remains the fastest channel to market. Over the past few years, ON Semiconductor has continued to grow distribution sales, most notably when the company reached $1 billion in distribution resales in Q3 2018.

“At the end of 2019, we reported that distribution sales accounted for more than half of ON Semiconductor’s 2019 annual revenues,” said Jeff Thomson, senior vice president of global channel sales for ON Semiconductor. “On behalf of the organization, I want to thank our excellent channel partners for their contributions in 2019. Each of these winners successfully grew product sales, generated significant new business and effectively supported customer needs while keeping our company initiatives for operational excellence at the forefront. The support of our worldwide distribution partners is essential as we continue to increase market penetration, revenue growth and achieve overall success of the company.”

A strong foundation in compliance and ethics results in trust from customers and partners, who count on the company to be honest and equitable regardless of macroeconomic factors. ON Semiconductor is committed to maintaining a strong culture of compliance and ethics, which was further testified when the company was recognized for the fifth time as one of the 2020 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere.

To learn more about our sales and distribution support, visit the website for more information. For more about the company’s commitment to compliance and ethics, read the most recent CSR report.

RoHS 3 – The countdown is engaged!
Posted: 2020-3-3

As specified in the European Directive 2015/863 dated 22nd of July 2019, electronic equipment manufacturers will have to comply with the third revision of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), referenced as RoHS 3. All categories of electrical and electronic equipment are affected except medical devices and monitoring and control instruments, for which restrictions will apply from the later date of 22 July 2021 to take into account their longer innovation cycles. The "Revision 3" adds four additional restricted substances, listed under phthalate, to the original list of six (see table 1).

Table 1– From RoHS 1 to RoHS 3

In 2010 some phthalates were on the REACH candidate list or listed in REACH Annex XIV as subject to the authorization process. They were also included in the European Commission's proposal for the recast of the EU Directive on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment as priority substances to be assessed for potential restriction, which eight years later is now happening.

Since the original listing in REACH, and in the candidate list of Substances of Very High Concern for authorization (SVHC), the risk and toxicity of the four substances, listed below, have been researched by international laboratories.

  • Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

The results of more than 10 years tests and investigation exhibit a very high hypothesis that the effects of exposure to phthalates may affect human reproduction, development and risk of cancer. These results have motivated the European Commission to move the four phthalates from "Observation" to "Restriction and Interdiction".

Phthalates are a group of chemical substances used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl. They are commonly used in all industries from food packaging to cables, in insulation tapes and in some resins, in short they are almost everywhere (see table 2).

Table 2 – The four banned phthalates are widely used across the whole industry

On the way to compliance

As was the case for the previous six restricted substance in RoHS 1st edition and RoHS 2nd edition, due to the high usage of phthalates in electronics equipment - including in power supplies - designers must work in close cooperation with their suppliers to substitute such materials with "phthalate free" elements and components.

Due to some industries (e.g. medical) being more sensitive to the risk of phthalates affecting people (patients), as long ago as 2010 they were informing and educating their suppliers about the forthcoming regulations, thus anticipating the demand for parts with less than 1000 ppm of the identified substances listed in REACH and SVHC.

Today, a number of companies are offering RoHS 3 compliant substitutes but there is a huge legacy lagging in the supply chain which will require some pretty intense work to ensure that all products delivered after 22nd July 2021 are compliant, which for newly made products might not be a major problem but it could be for products held in stock all over the world.

Are my products complying and what about legacy?

Since the European Directive 2015/863 was released on the 31st March 2015, designers have worked with their suppliers to guarantee that all new products pre-comply with the forthcoming regulation, but in some case it has been difficult to replace certain parts (e.g. insulation tape for high voltage transformers), thus delaying the compliance of some products. In three years' time suppliers will have implemented different processes and substances to replace banned phthalates, but there are few questions remaining on special components or parts.

However, if in new products the level of banned phthalates is reduced to below 1000 ppm, the doubt remains for items laying in stock. To be on the safe side a number of companies have taken the decision to run samples through an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, and if this is not deemed enough to use Fourier Transform Infra-red Spectroscopy (FTIR) testing methods and sometimes Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM).

The cost for such analysis could be substantial however, in the context of present day market conditions and the effects of component shortages, scraping products without knowing if the level of the four phthalates below or over the 1000 ppm threshold might cost even more money.

Repair and maintenance, what should I do?

As specified in the Directive, the restriction of DEHP, BBP, DBP and DIBP shall not apply to cables or spare parts for the repair, the reuse, the updating of functionalities or upgrading of capacity of electrical and electronics equipment placed on the market before 22 July 2019, and of medical devices, including in vitro medical devices, and monitoring and control instruments, including industrial monitoring and control instruments, placed on the market before 22 July 2021.

RoHS-1, RoHS-2, RoHS-3, what's next?

"REACH aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances." That means that research on toxicology and its impact on health and the environment will continue in order to identify risks.

As well, the European Chemical Agency has worked on a "Roadmap for SVHC identification and implementation of REACH Risk Management measures from now to 2020" which gives an EU-wide commitment to ensure that all relevant, currently known substances of very high concern (SVHC) are included in the candidate list by 2020. The objective of the SVHC Roadmap is to screen to identify new substances of concern, and to analyze the risk management options (RMO) appropriate to the particular substance of concern.

In today's business environment, electronics engineers must continuously monitor the evolution of REACH and SVCH. With the growing concerns about health and the environment we can expect more substances to be added to the RoHS list, which in some cases may prove to be extremely challenging.

As in many other situations, knowing your industry, being innovative and investing in new technologies is probably the only way to go.

Provided by Patrick Le Fèvre
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Powerbox



Editor's Note: Article reproduced with courtesy of Power Systems Design and Powerbox (PRBX)

X Capacitor Discharge Must Satisfy Both Safety and Energy Efficiency Rules
Posted: 2020-1-3

Many products including power supplies and household products are connected to the ac line. Within these products we find the so-called X capacitors used to provide line filtering. If no measures are taken to discharge these capacitors, they can retain a high-voltage charge even after ac power is removed from the product.

So, when the consumer removes the ac power cord plug of one of these products from the ac socket, there may be significant voltage remaining on the X capacitors. This high voltage may cause a shock to the consumer if their fingers touch the metal prongs of the ac plug during or shortly after its removal from the wall socket.

There are several regulations from the IEC/EN to prevent the consumer from being shocked if their fingers should touch the metal prongs of the ac power plug. These regulations are based on the IEC60335[1], IEC62368[2], and IEC/EN/ UL 60950[3] standards.

IEC62368 applies to IT equipment and video and audio equipment, while the IEC60335 concerns appliances. Meanwhile, UL/EN/IEC 60950 is the harmonized standard for power supplies. UL has regulated the discharge of X capacitors for many years for TVs, where the X capacitor typically had a resistor value between a 1.0 MΩ and 2.2 MΩ to discharge them.

Satisfying the safety requirements for the discharge of X capacitors would be straightforward were it not for the energy efficiency standards, which are pervasive and over time are becoming more demanding. The simple act of using discharge resistors in a product's power supply can raise its power consumption under no-load or standby conditions to the point where it may exceed the mandated levels. This article discusses both the safety and energy efficiency requirements, looks at the different circuit approaches to discharging X capacitors and how well they do in terms of satisfying the energy efficiency regulations.

While the focus here is mainly on the X capacitors, note that there also Y-capacitors. Nick Davis [4] describes these X and Y capacitors along with the IEC ratings in his article, "Safety Capacitors First: Class-X and Class-Y Capacitors". 

The Y capacitor is connected from the mains to ground while the X capacitor is connected across the ac power mains. Fig. 1 shows both capacitor types. The Y capacitors are often ceramic and less than 0.0033 µF or 3.3 nF. The X capacitors cited in the standards are greater than 0.1 µF. These X capacitors are to be discharged to less than 34 V peak in 1 second after the power plug is removed from the socket. While it's only the X capacitors that pose the safety hazard, the Y capacitors are important to the discussion because they contribute to the ac leakage current.

Therefore, they also impact a product's ability to meet the energy efficiency rules.

Fig. 1. Generic schematic showing the front end of a power supply including discharge resistors, R, common-mode choke, differential-mode choke, X film capacitors, and Y ceramic capacitors for a product. The X capacitors are for EMI control, and the Y capacitors are limited in value due to leakage current to ground.

Discharge Resistor Power Consumption

While a product is plugged in, any discharge resistors associated with X capacitors will be continuously dissipating power, contributing to the product's continuous power loss.

The power loss produced by an X capacitor discharge resistor is a function of the ac line voltage and the resistor value:

Power Loss = (Vac Line)2/R

In the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, Vac is 120 Vrms nominal and R is typically 1 MΩ, so:

Power Loss = 0.0144 W or 14.4 mW

In Europe, Vac is 230 Vrms nominal and R is typically 1 MΩ, so:

Power Loss = 0.0529 W or 52.9 mW

This wattage seems small until you take into account the standby power requirements for some products. The U.S. Department of Energy [5] and the California Energy Commission [6] have new requirements for standby energy consumption that are, in the most stringent case, less than 2X the loss imposed by the discharge resistor. The no-load mode power is given below in Table 1.[7]

Table 1. Efficiency requirements for single-voltage power supplies.

Discharge Time for X Capacitors

According to IEC 60335[1] and IEC 62368[2], the voltage across the X capacitors must be below 34 V, in less than 1 second. The X capacitors are part of the line-conducted EMI filter, and the values of these capacitors are determined at the timeline-conducted EMI testing is performed. The design engineer should use place holders on the pc board so the different values can be tried.   

Table 2 was created to show the value of the two resistors in series in Fig. 1 to discharge the total of X2 capacitors. The value of the X capacitors ranges from 0.1 µF to 5.6 µF. The voltage used for the calculation was 230 Vac. In addition, the power dissipation was calculated for the resistors in series. The value of the capacitance is the sum of the EMI capacitors including X-1, X-2, X-3 and the MOV capacitance. 

Table 2. Discharge resistor values for power supply circuit in Fig. 1.

The power dissipation shown exceeds the 0.1 W in the U.S. Department of Energy's standby power no-load regulations for some low-wattage power supplies and battery chargers of cell phones. To reduce the power dissipation in the standby mode, the semiconductor industry created X2 discharge ICs such as the Power Integrations CAPZero [8] family of parts. In a nutshell, these ICs disconnect the discharge resistors from the circuit when a product is plugged in and reconnect these resistors at the time ac power is removed. In this way, the discharge resistors are not dissipating unnecessary power that contributes to the product's standby or no-load power consumption.

Other companies have similar parts such as the TEA1708[9] and HF81.[10] This approach is shown in Fig. 2, which is taken from the Power Integrations Application Note AN-48.[15]

Fig. 2. CAPZero X capacitor discharge IC approach. While the product is plugged in, the CAPZero IC disconnects the discharge resistors so that they are not dissipating power.

The semiconductor industry has found other ways to discharge the X capacitors and these methods have been implemented in pulse width modulation control ICs for the power supplies. This approach eliminates a separate X capacitor discharge control IC.

Some of these ICs were found via web search using "X capacitor discharge" as the search topic: FAN6756,[11] NCP12400,[12] TEA19363,[13] and BM1C102F. [14] This is not a complete list. The PWM control IC approach shown in Fig. 3 is taken from the NCP12400.

The application notes AN-48[15] from Power Integrations was helpful in determining the values of the discharge resistors and the time to discharge the X capacitors. The X capacitors used in the EMI or RFI filter capacitors can be classified as either X1 or X2 depending upon the construction of the capacitors; reference 4 explains the difference and uses of these capacitors.

Fig. 3. The discharging of the X capacitors using the NCP12400.


This article explains why there are discharge resistors across the X capacitors of a product. The resistor is used to discharge the voltage left on the capacitor to a safe level so as not to cause an electrical shock to the consumer when the product in unplugged. The time allowed to discharge the capacitor is 1 sec.

However, whenever a product is plugged in, the discharge resistors are consuming power, unless there is a control IC used to eliminate the resistors' constant current draw. Without such a control IC, the power draw of the discharge resistors contributes to the product's power consumption in the standby or no-load mode and may exceed the power consumption mandated by regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission. Similar regulations apply in Europe. 


  1. IEC 60355.
  2. IEC 62368.
  3. UL 60950-1.
  4. "Safety Capacitors First: Class-X and Class-Y Capacitors" by Nick Davis, All About Circuits, May 06, 2019.
  5. U.S. Department of Energy.
  6. California Energy Commission.
  7. https://ac-dc.power.com/green-room/regulations-agency/us-doe-eisa2007-energy-independence-and-security-act/ 
  8. CAPZero-3 and CAPZer0-2 product page.
  9. TEA1708T data sheet.
  10. HF81 data sheet.
  11. FAN6756 product page.
  12. NCP12400 product page.
  13. TEA19363 data sheet.
  14. BM1C102F data sheet.
  15. "CAPZero Design Considerations," Power Integrations application note AN-48.


I would like to thank Edward Ong of Power Integrations and Carl Walding of ON Semiconductor for their input to this article. - Jim Spangler


Kevin Parmenter
Director of Applications Engineering
Taiwan Semiconductor America

  Jim Spangler
Spangler Prototype Inc. (SPI)

Editor's Note: This article was first published in the December 2019 issue of How2Power Today (http://www.how2power.com/newsletters/index.php).

Smart Power for a Smart Industry
Posted: 2019-12-6

Because power supplies are a core component within any electronics application, the power industry often has to develop power solutions years before certain applications reach the market. This is a big challenge and to be able to achieve that and to support customers, the power designers not only have to work closely with system and equipment manufacturers, but equally and ongoing, perform business trends analysis to define what power solutions will be required in the coming years in the industrial, medical and other industry sectors.

With a lot of uncertainty in the global economy, trade wars, BREXIT, a lack of qualified operators, 99.99% quality requirements and many others, the transformation of the industrial landscape from conventional to smart is accelerating. In a study published by the Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute, it is  estimated that within the next five years smart factories could add as much as 1.5 trillion USD to the overall industry. This is really significant and if only a portion of that amount is represented by power supplies this  is not a negligible growth. However such advances  will require a lot of technical innovation from power supplies manufacturers to meet customers' expectations.

At a time when some are talking about Industry 5.0 that will focus on the co-operation between man and machine, Industry 4.0 is still at an early stage, though the growing numbers of applications is truly impressive. A lot has been written about Industry 4.0 and intelligent power solutions but since 2015 we have seen other segments such as medical moving forwards to smarter levels of automation and a growing numbers of robotics requiring power supplies meeting both industrial and medical safety approvals.

Small and medium size robotic equipment is becoming more common place across all industries and if we are used to the impressive robots operating in the car or heavy industries, there is a myriad of smaller robots accomplishing complex tasks, assisting people to improve life (e.g. home healthcare robotics helping disabled people in daily tasks) and even helping surgeons in complex operations, some even being performed by remote control miles away from the surgery theater. The surgical robotic segment alone is expected to grow from USD 3.9 billion in 2018 to USD 6.5 billion by 2023, which is only a fraction of the 600,000 robotic units projected in 2023.

Smart factory automation is already well established in many industries, but with the progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI), remote communication and the growing demand for shorter customer lead times, it is predicted to explode in coming years

Smart power to small and medium robots

Powerbox (PRBX) and its parent company COSEL are developing power solutions for demanding industries and in both industrial and medical segments we see a strong demand from systems designers for a new generation of power supplies with lots of built-in functionalities, requests for higher flexibility levels in configuration, and more communication interfaces.

The industrial and medical segments are influenced, at one point or another, by the Internet of Things (IoT), and for connected devices from a few watts to multi-kilowatts. Communications is becoming very important. We are used to CAN Bus or PMBus but in the smart industry, power supplies will become an active part of the machine-to-machine architecture embedding radio communication and using much faster Bus communication that what is currently in practice.

For many it might seem like science fiction but already today, power systems used within the auto industry are able to control and test Lithium-ion battery charging during the car assembly process, operating as an autonomous equipment transferring charging information data to the next work station to continue charging and testing without disruption. All power supplies are communicating via radio transmission, making it possible for auto manufacturers to physically move charging equipment to accommodate ever changing production needs.

Another interesting area is the new generation of small and medium size robots deployed in various industries and the medical sector. The level of integration is impressive, requiring power supplies manufacturers to integrate more features such as IGBT gate drivers with high isolation in addition to normal power channels, without mentioning the flexibility required by designers in terms of output voltage combinations (figure 01).

Figure 01 – COSEL RBC200F triple isolated outputs for small and medium robotic and factory automation

Adding challenges to challenges

Because small and medium size robots are used differently in various industries, robotics equipment manufacturers often require power supplies to comply/certify with industrial standards such as EN62477-1 (OVC III) making it possible to connect the equipment directly to the distribution panel, but also with the new EN62368-1 which was originally created for audio, video and ICT equipment, without forgetting medical standards such as IEC 60601-1 and collateral. Additionally, power designers have to consider a large raft of safety and operational standards, adding yet another level of complexity to an already challenging environment.

Smart industry also means a smart way of organizing factories, with site developers optimizing factory and workshop layouts to increase flexibility and efficiency. Examples include minimizing the main power cabling to equipment, and exchanging Ethernet and other data transmission cabling for ruggedized and secure RF communications.

Industrial RF communications networks will develop to facilitate machine-to-machine communications and although power supplies might not need built-in RF transmission capability, they will need a higher level of interaction with their surroundings compared to now, and as it has been in the auto industry, it could become a must for certain applications.

RF communication is an interesting research area for power designers to explore, and similarly, how power supplies will follow the machine-to-machine evolution.

Smart power to smart factory automation

Smart factory automation is already well established in many industries, but with the progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI), remote communication and the growing demand for shorter customer lead times, it is predicted to explode in coming years. Similarly, the growth of automated parcel-hubs is expected to rise spectacularly. The rapid development of e-commerce has contributed to the creation of highly automated hubs with conveyers, sorting switches and many other equipments requiring efficient and intelligent power solutions able to work in demanding environments.

Parcel hub-designers and hub-operators are facing multiple challenges in having to deal with a large variety and types of equipment. The new generation of parcel hubs are built on a very sophisticated architecture. Instead of having (say) a 100 meter long conveyer belt, the new lines are composed of shorter individual segments five to ten meters long, and turned on and off on demand when a parcel is transported from point A to point B. Each segment is powered by a DC motor requiring the use of an advanced power supply able to not only deliver power but also to meet the complex requirements inherent to the modern parcel hub environment.

Traditionally, below 1000W, DC motors are powered by a single phase AC/DC power supply. Though to simplify installation, reduce unbalanced phase loading and for better optimization of energy from the grid, parcel hub designers now require that all power supplies for DC motors have a three phase input, and for whatever the power level. Also, considering energy saving and reducing peak-loads, hub designers require power supplies to include peak energy control and energy storage, thus able to store energy when motors are decelerating or stopping, but also to deliver high energy levels when DC motors are activated. This is usually achieved by capacitors or supercapacitor banks partly controlled by the microprocessor in charge of the power supply energy management (Figure 02).

Figure 02 – PRBX ENI250A24 designed for high speed e-commerce hubs conveyers with microprocessor controller and energy recycling

The smart power revolution is coming

Those two examples illustrate the changes in demand from systems designers, the levels of innovation required, and the challenges that power supplies manufacturers will face. This is a really exciting time for power designers, not just to think out of the box, but to add more to the box.

Provided by Patrick Le Fèvre
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Powerbox




Editor's Note: Article reproduced with courtesy of Power Electronics News and Powerbox (PRBX)


Explaining the ROI of Compliance Efforts to Your Colleagues
Posted: 2019-12-5

In this column, we frequently stress the need to plan for compliance requirements—all types including safety, EMC, energy efficiency and environmental/restricted materials—early in the product design cycle or process. We stress the need to know the requirements and to perform pre-compliance testing as you go through the different design stages. But knowing we should do these things, and getting our companies to agree to do them are different things. So often there is resistance from other members of a design team, or other colleagues in the organization, to take the necessary extra steps to ensure that compliance needs are considered throughout product development. How do we overcome this resistance? A paper presented at the recent IEEE EMC + SIPI 2019 conference[1] provides guidance on how compliance advocates can convince their colleagues in engineering and management of the value, or more specifically, the return on investment (ROI) of addressing compliance needs early and throughout the product design process.

Consultant Sanford Rotter and Jerry Meyerhoff from JDM discuss a range of issues in their paper "Effectively Communicating the EMC Message in Design Teams."[2] Among the challenges in getting design team to address EMC compliance needs are conflicts between EMC requirements and other product design criteria, a lack of experience on the part of the new EMC engineer, differing perspectives and motivations among various design team members, an organizational structure that isolates the EMC engineer, and various challenges relating to communications and relationships among team members.

Although, the paper by Rotter and Meyerhoff focuses on EMC requirements, the same issues and solutions apply broadly to safety and other compliance areas. And while the paper is written specifically to assist EMC engineers, it's equally relevant to power supply engineers since the power electronics is subject to many of the safety and compliance requirements in a product. We often operate from the mains power lines and switching power converters generate a great deal of EMI which needs to be managed. In addition, the compliance and regulatory landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace. As we have written in previous columns, it's usually incumbent on the power supply engineers to keep informed of the changing regulations.  

As noted above, the need to address EMC requirements can be at odds with other design criteria. In their paper, Rotter and Meyerhoff mention the difficulty of balancing compliance considerations against product functionality and the ever-present release dates. So, in light of these and other challenges, how does the EMC engineer persuade the rest of the organization including finance people, the business side and other members of the engineering teams to listen, pay attention and most importantly to act at the start of a product development? That's essentially the question that Rotter and Meyerhoff try to answer in their paper. And it's a challenge that's made more difficult by the pressure to accelerate the design as fast as possible towards the NPI (new product introduction) phase.

From the engineer's point of view, it often seems that conveying technical requirements should be a straightforward and rational process. But experience teaches us otherwise. We can sit in meetings all day long and scream from the rafters that common sense and logic—plus good engineering practice dictates that you must consider safety and compliance at the early stages of any project. But the reaction from other team members will likely be a blank stare because the information is not being communicated in the language the rest of the organization speaks.

Most importantly, the message has to be understood and accepted by the part of the organization that actually decides what really happens. In my own experience, I have observed the necessity of justifying engineering decisions to the businesspeople who run tech companies. As a product of engineering education in the 1980s, I came to realize over time that my engineering training was insufficient. By the early 2000s, I realized I needed a business degree to get anything accomplished because I was operating in an environment where terms were dictated by the accounting and finance people.

As an engineer, your warnings about safety and compliance, if not framed properly, will be received as inhibiting progress and interfering with the company's return on investment (ROI). This is a position you don't want to be in. Often an experienced engineer will articulate a clear thoughtful, rational and compelling case of why the present design plan will not meet compliance requirements only to have other parts of the organization or even other design team members not understand and ignore the simple changes. The end result of this failure to make the simple changes early in the design could be the need for a total redesign later, as the authors of the paper observe.

When a project reaches this point of having to start over, for those who advocated the compliance needs, it can difficult to resist the temptation to say, "I told you so". But we are all adults after all, and laying blame or finger pointing doesn't help to build the communications and trust among design team members, which as Rotter and Meyerhoff explain, are essential to effectively conveying the compliance message.

So how do we save our organizations from themselves so that we make safety and compliance top of mind in the early stages of a design? We have all heard, been told, repeated and otherwise discussed the fact that if you take care of regulatory issues upfront early in the design process it's less costly. However, your finance department and management will want you to quantify the cost advantage with demonstrable evidence. In their paper, Rotter and Meyerhoff provide a graph, originally published by Sunpower,[3] that can help you to do so (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. The cost per engineering change is, on average, $3500 per change early in the design cycle, but becomes orders of magnitude more expensive as the product approaches production. So, the ROI of making small design changes for compliance, rather than waiting until after the design is released to manufacturing is clear. Source “Effectively Communicating the EMC Message in Design Teams,” EMC + SIPI 2019 Proceedings,[2] originally attributed to Sunpower.)

In this figure, you can see that when EMC, safety and environmental materials issues are considered early in the design cycle they are much less costly to change. If they are done before release to production, the average cost to change is $3,500 per change event. In fact, this goes for any design change yet for the sake of this discussion we are referring to changes needed to meet safety and compliance requirements.

Use the information in the figure to gain support of senior management and the rest of the design teams early in the process to advocate and gain buy-in for the safety and compliance specifications as part of the marketing requirements documents (MRDs) and as part of the product spec. I would even suggest that you over-communicate the figure graphic with your teams. Doing so will boost your credibility and show the rest of the team members including senior management "WIFY"— what's in it for you. Everyone wants to be part of a successful winning program and project and in today's environment that can only be done when the product passes all necessary regulatory issues and is able to be sold into its intended market while meeting or exceeding the market's and customer's needs.
Getting the compliance requirements incorporated into the MRDs and the product spec is just a beginning. As the product development process continues, you'll need to communicate with your design team the status of conformance as it's just as important as any other attribute of the design. Test and verify conformance to the required standards early and often and emphasize to management and the rest of your team that you cannot launch the product until it meets all the required standards. Penalties for not doing so are more onerous than ever before. Realize that if you can quantify these penalties that may also help you to communicate the ROI of your compliance efforts.

As the authors of the EMC + SIPI paper[2] explain, establishing good communications with other team members is crucial in conveying regulatory requirements. Establishing a dialogue to define the needed standards and communicating them on a routine basis during the full course of the product development process is critical to a successful NPI. I have seen too many cases where the requirements "can" gets kicked down the road for the sake of product expediency or engineering is over-ruled by a "driver" type A personality somewhere in the organization. This is often someone on the business side trying to meet their metrics only to discover later they cannot launch the product on-time due to non-conformance. Then delays and expenses mount.

Ultimately, you should know going into the final compliance tests that you are going to pass based on the pre-compliance work that has been done all during product development for safety, EMI-EMC and materials–environmental global compliance. Missing a new product launch window is a big price to pay for not paying attention to the three areas of product safety and compliance that permit your product to be shipped anywhere in the world.

I would recommend that you review the paper by Rotter and Meyerhoff as well as the rest of the papers and presentations from the IEEE EMC+SIPI 2019 conference. These materials are available for free to IEEE EMC society members[4]. If you are not already a member, you can join and instantly have access to all the papers.[5]

While EMC may not be your main focus, if you are working in power electronics, EMC requirements are for the most part unavoidable. Finding practical, timely information on EMC requirements and how to meet them is not trivial. Whatever problems you're encountering in addressing your EMC needs, chances are the EMI and EMC experts who participate in the IEEE EMC + SIPI conference have faced these issues before and are dealing with any new challenges that are coming along. Consequently, the EMC + SIPI proceedings are a great source of useful information for those in the power electronics field.


  1. IEEE EMC + SIPI 2019 conference.
  2. "Effectively Communicating the EMC Message in Design Teams" by Sanford Rotter and Jerry Meyerhoff, IEEE EMC + SIPI 2019, available online to IEEE EMC society members.
  3. Sunpower Electronics.
  4. IEEE EMC+SIPI Conference proceedings.
  5. IEEE memberships and subscriptions catalog.


Kevin Parmenter
Director of Applications Engineering
Taiwan Semiconductor America

  Jim Spangler
Spangler Prototype Inc. (SPI)

Editor's Note: This article was first published in the September 2019 issue of How2Power Today (http://www.how2power.com/newsletters/index.php).


2020 International Future Energy Challenge IFEC 2020
Posted: 2019-10-3
Call for Proposals

2020 International Future Energy Challenge
College Student Competition http://energychallenge.weebly.com/

IFEC Introduction
IFEC is an international student competition for innovation, conservation, and effective use of electrical energy, which is open to college and university student teams from recognized undergraduate engineering programs in any location.

The competition is sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Power Electronics Society (PELS), Power & Energy Society (PES), Industry Application Society (IAS) and Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA).

Topic: Power Supply for Nano Satellites
Preliminary Specifications:

  • 2x DC inputs: Max power < 60 W, Max current < 3 A, voltage 20 V
  • 3x DC outputs: 3.3 V @ 5 A, 5 V @ 4 A, and 8 V @ 2600 mAh
  • Functionalities: MPPT control (uniform and non-uniform solar irradiance)
  • Functionalities: Battery charging and discharging
  • Judgment criteria: Functionality, efficiency, power density, and cost.

Final Competition Location
Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

Participation is on a proposal basis. Those schools that are interested must submit a proposal to the topic chair before the proposal deadline. Each Proposal will be judged by a distinguished panel of volunteer experts from the IEEE and from industry. Schools with successful proposals will be notified and qualified for the rest of the competition. Deadline for each period will be posted on the IFEC website. The finalist teams will be invited to a competition event in summer of 2020.

There will be a Grand Prize of $10,000 and three additional awards granted at $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000 each.

Important Notice:

  • Each university can support only one team.
  • Each team should have at least 4 members.
  • Interdisciplinary teams are encouraged.
  • Teams should be composed of primarily undergraduate students.
  • Graduate students can participate in team to provide high-level support.

Workshop at ECCE 2019                         September 29, 2019
Letter of Intent Deadline                          November 11, 2019
Proposal Deadline                                   November 25, 2019
Notification of Acceptance                       December 21, 2019
Workshop at APEC 2020                         March 15, 2020
Notification of Finalists                             April 15, 2020
Final Competition                                     July 20-22, 2020

Safe Power in Magnetic Resonance Imaging Environment
Posted: 2019-9-10


From the smallest to the largest, all electronic equipment requires power supplies, and with the increase in the amount of wireless connected devices deployed in the medical environment, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) has become a big concern for all users. In the vast majority of applications the power supplies' EMC is manageable, but in some extremely demanding areas such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), the challenges for power supplies manufacturers are twofold, not to disturb the sensitive equipment, but also not to be disturbed by the multi tesla (T) magnetic field generated by the core of the MRI.

How to guarantee that power supplies exposed to such extreme conditions will do the job?

From Conrad Roentgen to Raymond Damadian

As long ago as 1895, Conrad Roentgen found that an emitting discharge tube contained in a sealed box and radiating in the direction of a paper plate covered on one side with barium platinocyanide became fluorescent, and even when an object was placed between the tube and the plate a picture was obtained - the first X-ray. Fast forward to 1977 when Raymond Damadian was performing equally groundbreaking experiments with his Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) body scanner to produce much more detailed images of the inside of a human body. In both cases the images obtained have contributed greatly to improve medical diagnostics, the quality of treatment and peoples' lives.

From the original X-Ray equipment and the Damadian NMR to the latest MRI technology offering extremely high-resolution imagery, all share a common need for a large variety of power supplies delivering from a few watts to multiple kilowatts. As the level of imaging resolution has improved, MRI manufacturers are designing new equipment placed very close to intense magnetic fields, requiring very stable power that does not interfere with the data acquisition process.

Operating a switching power supply in very high magnetic field environments is very challenging and even reaches certain technical and physical limits as we know them today. To surpass these limits, power designers are exploring new paths, combining state of the art power conversion topologies with advanced software and digital technologies.

This is a very interesting area for power designers to explore, but before revealing the magic power solution, let us understand how MRI works and what challenges face power designers in such extreme environments.

From discovery to practice

Figure 01 - 1974 Damadian patent

X-Ray equipment has contributed to impressive medical progress, but the resultant images are limited to identifying solids, and exposure to radiation is dangerous for both patients and operators. These drawbacks provided the original motivation for the physician and scientist Dr. Raymond Damadian to explore a new way to scan the human body by researching the properties and behavior of an atomic nuclei when exposed to a magnetic field. After more than 10 years of research and a mix of successes and failure, in March 1972 he applied for a patent for an "Apparatus and method for detecting cancer in tissue" which USPTO granted in February 1974 (US3789832) (Figure 01).  "An apparatus and method in which a tissue sample is positioned in a nuclear induction apparatus whereby selected nuclei are energized from their equilibrium states to higher energy states through nuclear magnetic resonance. By measuring the spin-lattice relaxation time and the spin-spin relaxation time as the energized nuclei return to their equilibrium states, and then comparing these relaxation times with their respective values for known normal and malignant tissue, an indication of the presence and degree of malignancy of cancerous tissue can be obtained."

When Nikola Tesla revealed the evidence of the rotating magnetic field in 1882, he could hardly have imagined that 90 years later it would lead to Dr. Raymond Damadian using a magnetic field to see inside bodies! And for sure, no one could have imagined the level of resolution that modern MRIs have achieved.

Let's look at how an MRI works and how power supply designers have invented new power solutions able to operate in multi tesla environments.

Hydrogen nuclei are the key in MRI!

As we learned in school, the human body is composed of 70% water. Water molecules are made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (H2O). An MRI machine can identify hydrogen nuclei contained in water molecules, which have a quantum physics property called spin. We can compare the Hydrogen proton to the planet earth rotating on its axis, with a north and a south pole. Under normal circumstances, these hydrogen proton bar-magnets spin in the body with their axes randomly aligned (Figure 02.1).

Figure 02 - Hydrogen nuclei polarization during the MRI activation phases

When the patient's body is placed in a strong magnetic field the protons' axes all line up. This uniform alignment creates a magnetic vector oriented along the axis of the scanner (Figure 02.2). Depending on the object under observation, the MRI scanners have different field strengths, usually between 0.5 and 3 tesla (T) (note that the gauss unit is often used as well: 1 tesla = 10.000 gauss). The latest generation of MRI reach six tesla, thus Neurospin brain research is using 11.7 T, which is 234.000 times the Earth's field, and in the case of spectroscopy even up to 20 T. The main magnetic field is referenced as vertical or B0  (B zero).

When additional energy in the form of a radio wave is added to the magnetic field (B0), the magnetic vector is deflected. The radio wave frequency that causes the hydrogen nuclei to resonate is dependent on the element sought and the strength of the magnetic field (Figure 02.3). Two magnetics fields are used, the Gradient (B1) and the RF field.

Figure 03 – Brain high resolution picture obtain after data acquisition

When the radio frequency source is switched off, the magnetic vector returns to its resting state, and this causes a signal (also a radio wave) to be emitted. It is this signal which is used to create the MR images. Receiver coils are used around the body part in question to act as aerials to improve the detection of the emitted signal (Figure 02.4). The intensity of the received signal is then plotted on a grey scale and cross-sectional images are built up (Figure 03).


Multiple transmitted radio frequency pulses can be used in sequence to emphasize particular tissues or abnormalities. A different emphasis occurs because different tissues relax at different rates when the transmitted radio frequency pulse is switched off.

This simple description highlights the level of the strong magnetic fields involved in the hostile environment of MRI applications, which power supplies designers must take into consideration when developing products for such demanding applications.

Forces in power

To understand what power designers have to consider, it is important to understand the magnetic and electromagnetic forces involved with an MRI scanner and how they can interact with the power supply, which can also interact with the sensitive data collected by the different sensors (Figure 04).

Figure 04 – Simplified representation of an MRI equipment and the different fields contributing to create the final image

Master magnetic field (B0)
B0 is generated by a permanent or superconducting magnet and is oriented along the main axis of the scanner (Z axis). Depending on the application, field intensity varies from 0.5 T up to 20 T.


Gradient fields (B1)
B1 is generated by a specific combination of coils in the three axis X, Y and Z. The pulsed frequencies are around 100 KHz with intensity as low as few mT/m. The frequency is adjusted to suit the object being examined and the frequency can be modulated.

RF field
The RF field is generated by a separate coil in the X and Y-axis. The frequency range is comprised between 64 MHz and 299 MHz with micro-tesla intensities.

How to provide power in such environments?

To avoid interference, the best practice in powering MRI is to avoid alternative voltage/current (AC) and to only use continuous voltage/current (DC), even for lighting. Master power supplies are traditionally positioned outside the shielded operation room and the DC voltage is distributed to the electronic equipment via shielded cables.

To adjust the voltage from the main DC line to a specific load (e.g. 24 VDC to 12 VDC), the old generation of MRI equipment used a large variety of linear step-down voltage regulators, which reduced the risk of disturbances, but inherent to their technology is a very low energy efficiency and high power dissipation. Requiring more power and better energy utilization, new generations of equipment have adopted switching power regulators, which have improved power efficiency but have also became a source of potential disturbances! When the power supply is far enough from B0 and sensitive equipment, efficient shielding and grounding can prevent interference, but when the power supply is located close or even within B0, then power designers are facing real challenges.

MRI impact on the power supply

Master magnetic field (B0)
A switching power supply transforms a DC voltage into an AC one, and then rectifies it to DC. During the conversion process the transferred energy is stored in a transformer composed of a coil(s) and a core, usually made of ferrite. The high density of B0 interacts directly with all ferromagnetic components, saturating iron-cores and making it impossible to transfer the energy and even becoming a short circuit.

Gradient fields (B1)
The gradient field frequency is very much the same as the average switching frequency of conventional power supplies but induces a 'current storm effect' in cables and conductive areas. This also affects the switching performance of the power stage resulting in signal distortion, heat and in most of the case short circuit of the switching components.

RF field
Due to its much higher frequency, the RF field is less harmful for the power supply though induced currents could result in the form of similar collateral defects as generated by the B1 field.

Power supply impact on MRI

Master magnetic field (B0)
Even though the Larmor frequency is 42.58 MHz/Tesla for protons (hydrogen nuclei), there is a risk that the power supply switching spikes can impact the signal with the consequence of generating artifacts that affect image quality and resolution.

Gradient fields (B1)
Because the switching frequency of a standard power supply is in the same range (100 KHz) of the gradient filed, that could interfere with the signal generated by the gradient loop, and as a consequence modify the encoded signal, resulting in image artifacts.

RF field
In the case of RF, the harmonics of the fundamental switching power supply could interfere with the RF coil loop causing alteration of the MRI RF signal and a negative effect on image quality.

How to make a power supply that works?

Taking into consideration the different parameters, it is obvious that a suitable power solution will have to exclude ferromagnetic components and its switching frequency must not interfere with the MRI signals.

Because conventional magnetic cores will saturate when exposed to the B0 field energy, air-core inductors, having no ferromagnetic core material, should be considered. One downside of air-cored inductors is their low inductance values, which can be compensated by designing a multi air-cored power stage operating in parallel. Controlling multi-parallel air-cored power supplies requires the implementation of the latest digital control technology, offering a high degree of flexibility in how the different power channels operate. Digital control allows designers to adapt the profile of the power supply to specific conditions.

Figure 05a shows an example of an advanced air-core power supply, the PRBX GB350. To accommodate the specific MRI, B0, B1 and RF specifications that it has been designed for, the GB350 has a fundamental switching frequency of 600kHz. With such a switching frequency and its four-phase interleave mode, the GB350 has a resultant output frequency of 2.4MHz. This allows easier filtering and extremely fast regulation response times. The unit also includes EMI shielding to lower radiated emission and prevent any risk of artifacts (Figure 05b).

Figure 05a – Triple outputs, multi-phases, PRBX coreless power supply sustaining B0 field
Figure 05b – PRBX coreless power supply sustaining B0 field shielded to protect against interferences

In conclusion

Figure 06 – MRI equipment with advanced data acquisition requires very stable power supplies able to operate in high magnetic field (Source: iStock / baranozdemir / PRBX)

In less than 50 years, the progress of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner has been impressive and image resolution quality, astonishing (Figure 06). By permanently innovating, the power supply industry has contributed to delivering efficient, sustainable and safe power to very demanding applications such as B0 field conditions. Ultra-high field strength systems with a new generation of sensors will require extremely fast response power sources switching at 25 MHz to avoid harmonics in the safety band and I can foresee a new generation of coreless power supplies combining air-core, digital control and the use of Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors.

There is no doubt, power designers developing power solutions for medical imagery systems will continue to make magic a reality!


  • US patent 3,789,832 - Feb. 5, 1974 – Damadian – Apparatus and method for detecting cancer in tissue
  • Anne Perrin and M. Souques (eds.), Electromagnetic Fields, Environment and Health, DOI: 10.1007/978-2-8178-0363-0_2
  • Robert R. Edelman - The History of MR Imaging as Seen through the Pages of Radiology - Radiology: Volume 273: Number 2 (Supplement)—November 2014

Provided by Patrick LeFévre
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Powerbox





Forms vs. Function: Battling the Paperwork Deluge on Restricted Substances
Posted: 2019-9-10

Almost once a week or more, the phone rings or an email arrives, usually from a top name brand company or on behalf of one, asking about our product's compliance with environmental and hazardous materials regulations. I [Kevin] work for a semiconductor manufacturer, so the requests concern components we're supplying to a customer. But anyone supplying any components, subassemblies or finished electronic instruments or equipment could be subject to such inquiries. The request comes from a far-off land, because it's been outsourced to someone to get a form filled out. It seems this is more fun and monkey motion from our friends in corporate finance and legal departments.

The good news is that people are paying attention to restricted materials regulations. However, the bad news is that these OEM customers are unwilling to subscribe to a supply-chain service such as SiliconExpert, which would allow them to have all the necessary materials information at their fingertips. They probably figure it is less money to get their suppliers to do it for free, using telemarketers to ask us to fill out an extensive check list that someone dreamed up as the standard for the Mr. Big company. The intention was to get every supplier to fill out this form with the same info on it.

The problem is compounded by the fact that different individuals working for the same company will contact us at different times asking us to fill out forms for different parts. As a supplier we have even asked them, "Can you send us a list of all the parts you use at one time so we can work on a complete list for you?" The response has been, "No, all I have here is part ABC123. Please fill out the form." Next week they call back with another part and don't even know their company asked us for something else last week. The process is usually not very organized.

Naturally, as suppliers we balk at these requests. After all, the information the customer is requesting has already been published on our company's website. So, we try to point the customer there. However, almost every attempt at telling them "here are the links which list all the information you are requesting," results in them responding, "yes but you must fill out our form in our format". What they don't say is why they insist we fill out their form. If they did, the answer would be "because I have no idea what any of this means and I will be calling people next week asking them for compliance information relating to health insurance."

Then too, we can't help fill out everyone's form because each one is different. But wouldn't it be nice if we had a standard form everyone could agree on? Maybe EICA (the Electrical Industry Certifications Association) or some other organization could establish a standardized form to simplify our lives a bit? While we wait for such a form to be developed, in the spirit of helping (without the ability to fill out every possible form that might cross your desk), we offer the following list of materials resources (see the table). These are the websites for the various global regulations that your customers may ask you about and these sites provide the information you'll need to help you fill out the RoHS, prop 65 Reach, and plethora of other requirements concerning restricted materials.

As noted previously, these regulations are not just for semiconductors. They apply to all components including passive electromechanical devices, cable assemblies, connectors and any parts going into an assembly. That includes hardware, plastic cases, rubber feet, purchased assemblies, batteries, power supplies and anything that goes into the box that you ship your product in. And they also mean the box, plus line cord and packaging materials—even the user's manual!

If you supply any of these items to a company that makes a product, then your product must be cleared for compliance with the targeted regulations, and you are required to fill out the tick box check list that company needs. This activity may not be fun, but visiting the regulatory websites and getting familiar with the requirements may take some of the pain out of the process.


Regulation Website
RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substance) http://eur-lex.europa.eu
REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization of Chemical) https://echa.europa.eu/
WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/weee/
Proposition 65 https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65
JIG-101 (Joint Industry Guide, Ed. 4.1) http://www.ipc.org
PFOS/PFOA (Perfluorooctane solfonetes/ Perfluorooctanoic Acid) http://eur-lex.europa.eu
PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) http://eur-lex.europa.eu
POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) http://ec.europa.eu
PPW (Packaging and Packaging Waste) http://ec.europa.eu/
EU Battery Directive http://eur-lex.europa.eu
Table. List of worldwide restricted materials regulations affecting electronic product development.
Kevin Parmenter
Director of Applications Engineering
Taiwan Semiconductor America

  Jim Spangler
Spangler Prototype Inc. (SPI)

Editor's Note: This article was first published in the July 2019 issue of How2Power Today (http://www.how2power.com/newsletters/index.php).


Remembering Douglas McIlvoy
Posted: 2019-9-10

It's with a heavy heart to report the passing of Douglas "Doug" McIlvoy. Doug passed away on August 28th due to complications from a recent heart operation.

PSMA first came in contact with Doug when he was the vice president of OECO Corporation in Milwaukie, OR. He later led a management buyout of the business in 1995 after serving there for 26 years. Years later he founded VXI Electronics and Power Electronics Strategies while staying active in our industry. One of his early volunteer responsibilities was serving as PSMA Industry-Education Committee Co-chair.

A very early member of the PSMA, Doug wore many volunteer hats in broadening the recognition of PSMA over the years. He was part of the team engaged in the PSMA relationship with the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) and the merger of APEC with the IEEE PELS and IEEE IAS societies.

Doug became a member of the PSMA Board of Directors in 1990 and served as Vice President in 1995 and later as PSMA Chairman in 1996-1997. After leaving the Board, Doug continued to serve as a member of the PSMA Advisory Council.

Doug served as APEC Program Chair in 1993 where the Conference and Trade Show was held in San Diego. The following year he was General Chair of APEC 1994 held in Orlando.

Being in the "power" industry it is no surprise to learn that Doug enjoyed working on muscle and sports cars when he was younger. My kind of guy.

Doug's family includes his wife Beth, 3 sons (Sean, Scott, Lane), step-daughter (Missy Chartier), 6 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and his sister Sheila Warmuth.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday September 21 at 11:00 at the Highland Baptist Church in Redmond, Oregon.

Provided by Larry Gilbert,
former Board Member PSMA,
APEC and IEEE Working Group Chairman.




RoHS 3 - The new Directive is effective July 2019!
Posted: 2019-6-9


As specified in the European Directive 2015/863 beginning the 22nd of July 2019, electronic equipment manufacturers will have to comply with the third revision of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), referenced as RoHS 3. All categories of electrical and electronic equipment are affected except medical devices and monitoring and control instruments, which have until 22 July 2021 to comply to take into account their longer innovation cycles. The "Revision 3" adds four additional restricted substances, listed under phthalate, to the original list of six (see table 1).

Table 2 – The four banned phthalates are widely used across the whole industry

In 2010 some phthalates were on the REACH candidate list or listed in REACH Annex XIV as subject to the authorization process. They were also included in the European Commission's proposal for the recast of the EU Directive on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment as priority substances to be assessed for potential restriction. Eight years later, this is now happening.

Since the original listing in REACH, and in the candidate list of Substances of Very High Concern for authorization (SVHC), the risk and toxicity of the four substances, listed below, have been researched by international laboratories.

  • Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)


The results of more than 10 years of testing and investigation exhibit a very high hypothesis that the effects of exposure to phthalates may affect human reproduction, development and risk of cancer. These results have motivated the European Commission to move the four phthalates from "Observation" to "Restriction and Interdiction".

Phthalates are a group of chemical substances used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl. They are commonly used in all industries from food packaging to cables, in insulation tapes and in some resins, in short they are almost everywhere (see table 2).

This is yet another new challenge for the electronics industry which after reducing the amount of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, is now further tasked with reducing the amount of the four listed Phthalates to below 1000 ppm in homogeneous material by weight.

Table 1 – From RoHS 1 to RoHS 3

On the way to compliance

As was the case for the previous six restricted substance in RoHS 1st edition and RoHS 2nd edition, due to the high usage of phthalates in electronics equipment - including in power supplies,  designers must work in close cooperation with their suppliers to substitute such materials with "phthalate free" elements and components.

Since some industries (e.g. medical) are more sensitive to the risk of phthalates affecting people (patients), as long ago as 2010 they were informing and educating their suppliers about the forthcoming regulations, anticipating the demand for parts with less than 1000 ppm of the identified substances listed in REACH and SVHC.

Today, a number of companies are offering RoHS 3 compliant substitutes but there is a huge lag in the supply chain which will require some pretty intense work to ensure that all products delivered after 22nd July are compliant. For newly made products, this might not be a major problem, but it could be for products held in stock all over the world.

Are my products complying and what about legacy?

Since the European Directive 2015/863 was released the 31st March 2015, designers have worked with their suppliers to guarantee that all new products pre-comply with the forthcoming regulation, but in some case it has been difficult to replace certain parts (e.g. insulation tape for high voltage transformers), thus delaying the compliance of some products. In three years' time suppliers will have implemented different processes and substances to replace banned phthalates, but there are few questions remaining on special components or parts.

However, if the level of banned phthalates in new products is reduced to below 1000 ppm, the doubt remains for items laying in stock. To be on the safe side, a number of companies have made the decision to run samples through an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, and if this is not deemed enough to use Fourier Transform Infra-red Spectroscopy (FTIR) testing methods and sometimes Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM).

The cost for such analysis could be substantial however, in the context of present day market conditions and the effects of component shortages, scraping products without knowing if the level of the four phthalates is below or over the 1000 ppm threshold might cost even more money.

Repair and maintenance, what should I do?

As specified in the Directive, the restriction of DEHP, BBP, DBP and DIBP shall not apply to cables or spare parts for the repair, the reuse, the updating of functionalities or upgrading of capacity of electrical and electronics equipment placed on the market before 22 July 2019, and of medical devices, including in vitro medical devices, and monitoring and control instruments, including industrial monitoring and control instruments, placed on the market before 22 July 2021.

RoHS-1, RoHS-2, RoHS-3, what's next?

RoHS Compliant – Source PRBX/Shutterstock/Olivier Le Moal

"REACH aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances." That means that research on toxicology and its impact on health and the environment will continue in order to identify risks.

As well, the European Chemical Agency has worked on a "Roadmap for SVHC identification and implementation of REACH Risk Management measures from now to 2020" which gives an EU-wide commitment to ensure that all relevant, currently known substances of very high concern (SVHC) are included in the candidate list by 2020. The objective of the SVHC Roadmap is to screen to identify new substances of concern, and to analyze the risk management options (RMO) appropriate to the particular substance of concern.

In today's business environment, electronics engineers must permanently monitor the evolution of REACH and SVCH. With the growing concerns about health and the environment we can expect more substances to be added to the RoHS list, which in some cases may prove to be extremely challenging.

As in many other situations, knowing your industry, being innovative and investing in new technologies is probably the only way to go.


Powerbox (PRBX)

Directive 2015/863

SVHC Roadmap to 2020 implementation

Candidate List of substances of very high concern for authorization


Remembering Charles "Chuck" Edwin Mullet
Posted: 2019-6-9


Chuck Mullett, Apr 25, 1938 – Mar 18, 2019

On 18 March 2019, Charles "Chuck" Edwin Mullett, of Santa Paula, California, passed away peacefully at age 80.  He was born in Buffalo, New York, to the late Sarah (Hill) Mullett and the late Charles Beatty Mullett.

Mullet grew up in Bremerton, Washington where his father was a naval officer. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1960, and a Master of Science in 1962. In college, he was the president of his fraternity Alpha Chi Rho and was in several music bands. Soon after graduating he moved to Southern California where he had a long and rewarding career designing power electronics.

For more than 20 years, Chuck owned and operated Mullett Associates, Inc., a design consulting firm, and eventually worked at ON Semiconductor from where he retired in 2013. He was granted nine patents, and was a speaker of note in several professional organizations He also founded the Los Angeles Chapter of the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) and served as the APEC Chair in 1996. His magamp post regulation design was leading the industry in mid-1990's.

Mullet was an active member of Santa Paula Rotary, and enjoyed sailing and amateur radio, and was known for his optimism, drive, enjoyment of people, and a zest for life. He enjoyed playing clarinet and saxophone, playing locally in six bands.

Chuck was a strong contributor and supporter of PSMA for more than 20 years serving for 6 years on the PSMA Board of Directors including President and Chairman. He was Co-Chair for the 2003 and 2006 Power Technology Roadmap Report and the author of the popular PSMA Handbook of Standardized Terminology For the Power Sources Industry. Chuck was a supporter of the NanoTechnology initiative at PSMA and a mentor for many in the industry. Chuck was a member of the PSMA Advisory Council until his passing. Remembrances from some PSMA members and supporters are included below.

Chuck was the beloved husband, for 50 years, of Vivian and we offer our condolences to her and his family. May He Rest in Peace.

I met Chuck in mid-eighties (1985?) at some show before PSMA. Both of us had our own consulting businesses: Micro-Tech Consultants, a market research consulting business and Chuck with Mullett Associates, a power electronics design consulting business. Our businesses were complementary, so we decided to 'collaborate' in bringing clients to each other with a 10% finders' fee. We did bring any client to each other, but due to our mutual interest in the power electronics business and the PSMA we remained good friends forever. We worked on some projects together and participated in many meeting. Chuck was my original friend in the power electronics and I will miss him dearly. (Mohan Mankikar, Micro-Tech Consultants, PSMA Advisory Council)
Chuck touched me in many professional and personal ways. We worked together a PSMA projects and he and his darling wife, Viviane, were wonderful hosts on the occasions when I would stay at their home in Santa Paula. A sweet, gentle man. I was blessed to call him friend. (Greg Evans, WelComm, PSMA Marketing Committee Co-Chair)

Chuck Mullett, Tony Laviano and Ernie Parker at APEC 2013 Nanotechnology Committee Meeting
I met Chuck through PSMA when he worked at ON Semiconductor and I worked at International Rectifier. We were competitors for the same business, yet I immediately found a kindred spirit who believed there was enough business for everyone and that we all benefitted from a stronger Power Supply Industry. We became good friends who enjoyed working together on projects for the good of the industry. I learned a great deal from Chuck during his collaboration on the Roadmap and his fantastic ability to proof the late versions of the total Roadmap in order to correct the punctuation and use of acronyms as well as the spacing of numbers and units of measure. His insight into how power semiconductors worked within power supplies lead the industry. (Carl Blake, CBK, PSMA Advisory Council)
Two words that summed up Chuck's approach to everything he did – passion and dedication. In all the years I had the privilege of knowing Chuck, I've never seen him without those qualities – even for a minute. I used to interact with Chuck at many PSMA sponsored activities (probably going back to mid-90's). He was one of the reasons I decided to move to ON Semi in early 2000's. After that, we interacted very frequently and it was a privilege being able to talk to him almost every day and learn from him. We have traveled all over the world together and the stories from those travels could fill pages. I remember he came to India once and he wanted to visit the local Rotary club meeting – he went and gave them a nice talk, but whatever he ate/drank there made him sick. Despite the sickness, he was game enough to carry through with other planned activities rest of his trip. At work, his passion was most evident in adhering to the IEEE writing guidelines. Outside work, he loved his music and sailing and his family. I was lucky enough to see him last October when he drove down in his Tesla to Anaheim during APEC planning meeting. At that time, Chuck mentioned that Vivian thinks that he flunked retirement! Well, he may have flunked retirement, but he definitely aced life. (Dhaval Dalal, ON Semiconductor, PSMA Board of Directors)
I first met Chuck years before his company became a member of PSMA. He offered his services and advice on a number of projects and, after he changed employers, convinced his new company to become a member. He was always ready to dig in and contribute to and lead many projects including the Roadmap, updating the Handbook of Standard Terminology, organizing the Nanotechnology Initiative, supporting APEC and making the Association stronger. I remember Chuck as an outstanding individual of high character, very smart, very high energy and over the years as a cherished friend. It was always a treat to hear about his sailing exploits and music gigs. May He Rest in Peace. (Joe Horzepa, Executive Director, PSMA)

Chuck Mullett and Joe Horzepa at APEC 2013
Chuck Mullett and I were Co-Chairs of the Nanotechnology Forum. Chuck was a true champion of nanotechnology for power supplies but not at first. Chuck was skeptical, unconvinced, and kept challenging me to show him how nanotechnology could be used for power supplies. But he figured it out. Then he asked me to be his Co-Chair of the PSMA Nanotechnology Forum to introduce nanotechnology applications to the PSMA Membership and APEC. We became a three-legged team so I would not drag my feet. Chuck saw both his visions come true. PSMA developed Nanotechnology tutorials for its members. Then in 2010 he introduced nanotechnology to APEC. I was the PSMA Nanotechnology Plenary Speaker and Chuck lead APEC's first Industry Nanotechnology Session which continued for six years under his leadership. Chuck Mullett was a visionary who was committed to the professionalism of PSMA. His nanotechnology legacy is not lost. It is in the PSMA Education Forum under Resources. Chuck figured it out! (Tony Laviano, NRAIT, PSMA Nanotechnology Committee Co-Chair Emeritus)

Chuck Mullett and Dr. Anthony F. Laviano Kicking off the Nanotechnology Forum at the 2012 PSMA Annual Meeting
I met Chuck when I took on the global applications engineering team and systems engineers at ON semi. Chuck worked for me and taught me a great deal. This was right about the time everyone was asking 'what does a systems engineer do? what does a FAE do? - you know finance and operations took over all aspects of everything during that time. Once they saw Chuck in action nobody asked what the ROI was or what does a Chuck do... ever again. Chuck made thing look easy because they probably were to him, he solved complex problems for customers, designed circuits and defined new products. He accepted nothing less than excellence in all that he did and wanted to make things better and improve the process all the time. Chuck was responsible for getting me into PSMA and involved with APEC and he also was one of the IEEE members who recommended me for IEEE Senior Member. Chuck had a great way of cutting through complexity and getting to the core issue of a problem and then setting about to solve it. He was a great mentor and friend to everyone around him. He helped me too many times to count and as an employee he always did more than expected of him. The laughs and fun on trips to China and Taiwan I will never forget the times and the stories. Chuck made a significant positive difference in the industry, in the lives of people everywhere and I benefited personally having known him. He was a great friend who I miss greatly he is probably proofreading technical documents and playing the sax in heaven and having a great time. (Kevin Parmenter, Taiwan Semiconductor, PSMA Board of Directors)


Knowing the Link Between Product Regulations and Product Standards Can Put You Ahead of the Competition
Posted: 2019-6-6


Maintaining the Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) Energy Efficiency Data Base (EEDB) and the Safety and Compliance Data Base (SCDB) has given me the unique opportunity to track and understand the relationship between the product regulations in the EEDB and product standards in the SCDB.

A regulation is a rule or directive created and maintained by an authority such as a country, federation of countries, states, or provinces. Enforcement is by law. Content is available to the public for free.

A standard is a document created by consensus and approved by a recognized body or organization for common or repeated use. Standards may be international or regional. Most standards are available to the public for a fee levied by the organization. Enforcement occurs when a label is attached to the product indicating compliance.

Regulations precede and influence the certain performance and test standards. This article explains how company standards staff and design engineers can monitor and influence a regulation far in advance of any standard(s) creation thus better positioning their company products for success under the new regulation.

Beginning with a historic example, I chose the European Union (EU) and the relationship between the Ecodesign efficiency regulation and the relevant IEC standard(s), I find that they have the clearest and most easily understood creation process. Once the regulation/standard association is covered, then we will see how it applies to the next regulation upgrade now commencing. Everything explained here applies to creative processes in the U.S. and other countries using the organizations and processes of those countries. The U.S. processes will be covered in a future article.

Why Regulation Tracking Is Important
The EU target power consumption reduction translates into the required performance of a multitude of energy-related products (ErPs). EU Parliament in their DIRECTIVE 2009/125/EC established the framework for Ecodesign creating a framework for more than 35 lots with each lot having one or two appliances. Ecodesign legislation listing all of the energy-related products is shown in reference 1[1]. In 2009, Ecodesign Lot 7 (CELEX:32009L0125)[2] contained both EPS and small battery chargers. We will focus on the EPS.

EU Regulation Development
The regulation creation process is very slow. Comprised of five steps and conducted over several years, it allows a supplier adequate time to prepare products for compliance with the new regulation.

Action 1: The EU Commission assigns a team of analysts, both commission staff and consultants, to determine the energy consumption level reduction needed.

Action 2: The EU targets are then translated into product performance (in this case, efficiency) by Ecodesign teams. European Parliament Directive 2005/32/EC established the five process Ecodesign steps shown in Fig. 1. Using these steps, the Ecodesign team develops the efficiency performance requirements for an ErP adequately contributing to the overall EU power consumption level target. 

Fig. 1. Ecodesign process steps.

The Ecodesign Lot 7 team determined EPS power consumption could best be reduced by focusing on a) the no-load electric energy consumption and b) the average active-mode efficiency. Executing the five steps in Fig. 1, they arrived at the approved minimum efficiency levels that were passed into law as a part of EU COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 278/2009 on April 6, 2009.[3]

Table 1 from that regulation established the acceptable performance limits in terms of no-load power consumption and average active efficiency. (Note: Table 1 refers to low-voltage external power supplies. Low voltage is defined in Article 8, paragrah 2 as less than 6-V output voltage, and more than 550-mA output current.)

Table 1. 2011 external power supply minimum performance limits.

The document that identifies the associated standard from which the test procedure is derived is EU Document 52015XC0415 (01)[4] with an extensive title referred to in the reference. (Note that publication titles and references of harmonized standards are applicable under EU harmonization legislation.) Table 2 from that document identifies the associated Standard EN50563-2011 with first publication in 2013. (Note that maximum no-load power consumption was first established by U.S. Executive Order 13221 July 31, 2001.)

Table 2. From EU Commission communication: Coupling is identified between the standard EN 50563 test procedure and the EPS efficiency regulation. (Implementation – 2015/C 120/02).[5]

Associated IEC Standard
The standard associated with the regulation may be any type including a performance standard, or a test standard. In this example, IEC 50563 is a test standard.[6] This standard creation is not historically accurate but is estimated to have started by a European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) team in 2008.

Ecos Consulting initially developed the equations in Table 2 during California Energy Commission (CEC) and Energy Star work in 2003 and subsequently modified them in 2006 and 2007 during further CEC efficiency regulation test procedure work. The equations were later adopted by Ecodesign during their harmonization efforts in the 2008/2009 time frame.

Development Timeline
The advantage of monitoring the regulation prior to start of commencing the standard creation becomes clear when the time-line of these two documents is illustrated in Fig. 2. Following the timeline figure, the regulation establishing the process was started in 2005. Subsequently, the standard EN 50563 development commenced a year or so before the conclusion of the Ecodesign Lot 7 regulation work in 2009. So, the regulation development work occurred very early compared to the standard work.

By participating in or at least monitoring the regulation performance development, a one-year advantage was available to the manufacturer to prepare their product for compliance and competitive positioning. Issued in 2011 and becoming effective in 2015, the standard EN 50563 set the final EPS testing procedure for an efficiency performance product in compliance with the Ecodesign Lot 7 regulation.

Fig. 2. Timeline for regulation example and the associated standard.

Better Prepared
A supplier company, heeding the advice of their standards engineer, would normally take advantage of the multi-year standard creation work by participating in or monitoring the action of the standards committee. However, the timeline illustrates that there is even greater advantage to be realized by being involved in or cognizant of the regulation creation process.

Next Phases
What about present efficiency regulations and standards? Many suppliers incorrectly believe that the 2005-to-2015 sally of energy efficiency regulations and standards is over, requiring no further compliance effort. But that is not the case. Regulation creation is an ongoing process as shown for this efficiency regulation case with government and non-government agencies seeking to continue reductions in power consumption.

However, by directive the EU continues to raise the efficiency bar. They are using projected power consumption for the year 2016 to determine future required energy consumption reductions for the next decades. The EU has negotiated the targets of 20% reduction by 2020, and 32.7% by 2030[7] with all countries and their experts. (Note that other countries are doing the same. Countries' targets may vary so check those countries for which you have concerns about product acceptance. Even states and provinces sometime set their own aggressive goals.) [8,9]

Their seriousness is reflected by the following statement: "The revised Energy Efficiency Directive (EU) 2018/2002 (Energy Efficiency Directive (EU) 2018/2002 )[8] sets a 2030 target of 32.5%, also with a possible upward revision in 2023. The new Governance Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 includes the requirement for Member States to draw up integrated National Energy and Climate Plans for 2021 to 2030 outlining how to achieve the targets and submit the draft to the European Commission by the end of 2018".[10]
Fig. 3 illustrates Phases 2 and 3 creating the Ecodesign EPS regulation for 2020 and 2030 respectively. Since EN 50563 is a test standard not a performance standard, very little if any update will be required as this standard is used in Phases 2 and 3. In this instance, all attention should be on the developing regulation.

If the associated standard had covered EPS performance, that standard would need updating in the later phases following the requirements dictated by the subsequent regulations. Phase 1 depicts the original regulation work effective 2015. The present 2020 update is in Phase 2. The future 2030 work is covered in Phase 3. In each case, the first step is creating the regulation target followed by the determination of the Ecodesign appliance-specific performance.

Fig. 3. Timeline for regulation example and associated standard through 2030.

In this article, we have shown that there sometimes is a link between a regulation and a standard. Our example, taken from the EU history for the EPS product regulation, clearly identifies that there is regulation development occurring several years before the associated standard development. Knowledge of this link is priceless when working to achieve product compliance and maintain a competitive advantage.

A final note: sometimes even earlier work will provide insight into regulation content. The equations in Fig. 1 were first derived in 2003 by Ecos Consulting for the California Energy Commission. These equations were subsequently improved through the efforts of CEC, Energy Star, and the EU. Those involved in this early work gained almost a decade of advantage on their competitors. 


  1. Eco-design legislation listing all of energy related products.
  2. CELEX:32009L0125
  3. https://www.eceee.org/static/media/uploads/site-2/ecodesign/products/Battery%20charges%20and%20external%20power%20supplies%20Lot%207/finalreg-eps.pdf
  4. EU Document 52015XC0415 (01)
  5. Official Journal of the European Union C120, (implementation – 2015/C 120/02)
  6. https://www.eceee.org/static/media/uploads/site-2/ecodesign/products/Battery%20charges%20and%20external%20power%20supplies%20Lot%207/explanatory-note-up-date-review-external-power-supplies-16042015.pdf (Review of Regulation (EC) No 278/2009.
  7. https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency
  8. Energy Efficiency Directive (EU) 2018/2002 amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency.
  9. An older Lot status https://www.eup-network.de/product-groups/overview-ecodesign/
  10. REGULATION (EU) 2018/1999 OF THE EU PARLIAMENT & COUNCIL of 11 December 2018Governance Regulation (EU) 2018/1999,).


Arnold Alderman, Anagenesis, 
Maintenance Leader PSMA,
SCDB and EEDB Data Bases


Editor's Note: This article was first published in the March 2019 issue of How2Power Today (http://www.how2power.com/newsletters/index.php).


PSMA Safety & Compliance Technical Committee Leadership Opportunity
Posted: 2019-6-2

The PSMA Board of Directors is seeking one or more volunteers interested in providing leadership for the Safety & Compliance Technical Committee. The membership in all the PSMA Technical Committees is comprised of individual volunteers from both Member and non-Member Companies who have a technical, business or personal interest and are involved in the focus of the specific Technical Committee.

An important role of the Technical Committee leadership is to coordinate the mission and focus of the committee to address the current issues and changing trends in the technologies. Each of the Technical Committees normally meet monthly via teleconference for one hour to discuss special Projects that PSMA might fund that would benefit the membership and industry, to consider and plan Industry Sessions for upcoming APEC meetings, and to support the PSMA Power Technology Roadmap with relevant Webinars and technical content. The leadership position is the chair (or co-chair) for each meeting and is responsible for generating the monthly meeting agenda and to facilitate the meeting to meet the interests of the participants.

The benefits of Technical Committee leadership are many, including:

  • Being acknowledged as an important participant and factor in the technical community
  • Opportunity to interact with National, State and Independent Agencies involved with the specific technologies
  • Anticipate and influence changes especially in regulations and technologies
  • Identify your company as an important participant and contributor in the industry segment
  • An expanded ability to network with others in the industry

Additional information on this opportunity is available here.

Please contact the Association Office (power@psma.com, 973-543-9660) for more information on the specific responsibilities for the Chair and/or Co-chair of the Safety and Compliance Technical Committee.

The Silent Power of Supercapacitors (Part 2*)
Posted: 2019-2-28

*This is the second in a 2-part series, read Part 1 here

From harvesting energy to power plants, the use of power electronics is everywhere and there isn't an application that doesn't require power. The power electronics industry is very dynamic and many new technologies have made the impossible, now possible. In the unceasing quest to increase performance levels, reliability and sustainability, new components and technologies such as Wide Bandgap Semiconductors and Digital power management are getting a lot of attention and coverage. However, hiding in the shadows there is a component that is very important and intrinsically involved in many vital applications; The Supercapacitor.

In the part 1 of this article we reviewed the origins of the supercapacitors, how they work and the amazing potential, someday, to supersede batteries, but will that happen?

Will supercapacitors supersede batteries?

Following Elon Musk's speech at Cleantech Forum 2011, there has been a lot of interest in supercapacitors. The potential offered by nanotechnologies is keeping hopes high that at some point in the future supercapacitors might reach a point where they equal the performance of batteries. As can be seen in Figure 01, energy vs power density for different types of energy-storage devices, at the present time the performance levels of fuel-cells, batteries, ultracapacitors and conventional capacitors do not overlap. However, they are complimentary, and recent technological advancements are reducing the gap between batteries and supercapacitors.

Each of those technologies has their advantages and disadvantages  that power designers take into consideration when developing power systems. In Figure 02 we compare the key parameters of Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors, and it is obvious that one of the key benefits of the supercapacitor is its extremely high cyclability. It can be charged and discharged virtually an unlimited number of times, which is unlikely ever to be the case for the electrochemical battery which has a defined, much shorter life cycle.

Ageing is also in favor of supercapacitors. Under normal conditions, from an original 100% capacity they only lose 20% in 10 years, which far exceeds the levels achieved by any battery. For systems designers working to power systems in harsh environments, supercapacitors will operate in very low to high temperatures without degradation, which we know is not the case for batteries. On the downside supercapacitors discharge from 100 to 50 percent in 30 to 40 days, whereas lead and lithium-based batteries self-discharge about 5 percent during the same period; but technology is improving daily and supercapacitors are becoming better and better.

Figure 2.

With the growing demand for renewable energy and issues relating to energy storage, there is a rising question about the reasoning behind building huge banks of Lithium Ion batteries. We all know that these batteries have a limited lifetime, and there's the associated environmental risks since as well as consuming precious raw materials they're not easy to recycle. This is where research is very interesting and the disclosure presented by the Universities of Surrey and Bristol in February 2018 on the development of polymer materials is appealing. They achieved practical capacitance values of up to 4F/cm2 when the industry standard is 0.3F/cm2, and they are expecting to reach 11-20F/cm2 in the near future. When such levels of capacity are achieved we will be able to talk about 180Wh/kg, which is similar to lithium ion batteries.

The level of research in supercapacitors is really impressive and the gap is closing. How fast that will happen remains unknown, but considering the number of patents filed, papers presented and levels industry interest, it shouldn't take too long.

In silence they do the job

Supercapacitors are almost everywhere, from the Shanghai bus experiment to run a fleet of buses powered only by supercapacitors to smart meters and harvesting energy, it is almost impossible to draw up an exhaustive list of applications. For sure it is their ability to sustain high charge and discharge cycles that makes them ideal for private and public electrical vehicles and machinery such as port-cranes to accumulate and re-use energy. But in many applications, when designers need peak power, they are there.

If you are an audiophile, your audio amplifier might contain a supercapacitor bank able to deliver kilowatts of peak power to your bass loudspeaker when Ferruccio Furlanetto bellows out the deep notes in Don Quichotte. If you have a smart meter at home, it most probably contains a supercapacitor able to deliver peak power when transmitting stored data via the GPRS module. And again, if you are a technology geek following the Lamborghini 'Terzo Millennio' project, you will have noticed how important a role supercapacitors play in the motorization of this very special, electric powered sport car.

Figure 3.

Safety is another benefit of supercapacitors and that is the reason why they are the first choice when backup or peak power is required in a restricted environment. Critical applications operating in hostile or confined environments are strictly regulated in terms of chemical and other hazardous risks, reducing or forbidding certain type of batteries such as Lithium Ion. For safety reasons, those applications must have a power backup long enough to run alarms and safety shutdown processes. In such arduous conditions, conventional batteries are replaced by supercapacitor banks whose values could be from a few Farads to 200 Farads for general applications (Figure 03).

What's coming next?

As we have seen, supercapacitor technology is moving extremely fast. The challenges posed by the energy storage issue is the most likely area where we will see the more immediate benefits of nanotechnologies being implemented in supercapacitors.

One example to close this article is the very interesting research conducted by the University of Central Florida on combining distribution cable with the capacity of supercapacitors. Assistant professor Jayan Thomas of the NanoScience Technology Center has found a way to improve a regular copper wire to transform it into a supercapacitor cable. Based on nanowhisker technology it could transform the standard copper wire into a supercapacitor capable of storing and delivering large amounts of power.

So in some degree of silence supercapacitors are becoming the most promising component for the future. Many power designers are already implementing power solutions based on supercapacitors but considering how fast research takes place and the huge challenges that humanity faces due to climate change, one day in the not too distant future, supercapacitors will be the heart of modern power solutions.


  1. Powerbox (PRBX) https://www.prbx.com/
  2. Howard I. Becker "Low voltage electrolytic capacitor" US Patent US2800616A https://patents.google.com/patent/US2800616A/en
  3. Robert A. Rightmire "Electrical energy storage apparatus" US Patent US3288641A https://patents.google.com/patent/US3288641A/en?oq=US3288641A
  4. University of Bristol https://www.bristol.ac.uk/
  5. University of Central Florida https://www.ucf.edu/
  6. Elon Musk speech at Cleantech 2011 in San Francisco https://youtu.be/hTBZGWEzR_E

Provided by Patrick Le Févre 
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Powerbox




International Workshop on Integrated Power Packaging (IWIPP) 2019
Posted: 2018-12-11

The International Workshop on Integrated Power Packaging (IWIPP) is a biennial, multi-disciplinary event focused on the intersection of technology areas that support the development of high-performance packaging for power electronics.  The accelerating commercialization of wide band-gap (WBG) semiconductors has highlighted the importance of developing next-generation packaging techniques to overcome the limitations of legacy packaging solutions.  The establishment of IWIPP represents a concentrated effort to recognize and address this challenge by bringing together the capabilities of industry practitioners and researchers across the globe.

In 2015, IWIPP reemerged after several years of inactivity to address new packaging challenges introduced with the commercialization of WBG semiconductor technology.  Since that time, IWIPP has quickly become a premier international workshop in the area of power electronics packaging and integration. The workshop is sponsored by the IEEE's Power Electronics Society (PELS), Components, Electronic Packaging Society (EPS), and Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society (DEIS), as well as the Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) and the European Consortium on Power Electronics (ECPE).

IWIPP 2019 will be held April 24-26, 2019, in Toulouse, France. The contents of IWIPP 2019 will include a set of plenary addresses from leading experts in the field, a broad range of technical sessions, as well as a complement of technical tutorial sessions, all of which are included in the registration fee.  Topics that will be addressed as part of the technical program for IWIPP 2019 include magnetic and dielectric materials; power semiconductor devices and modules; integration of sensors; design of gate/base drivers, reliability and manufacturability considerations; electro-magnetic interference mitigation; and many more.

Please make plans to attend IWIPP 2019 to enhance your understanding of the latest developments in the area of high-performance power packaging and the critical role of packaging in determining the performance and reliability of power electronics applications.  Additional information regarding the workshop can be found at the following website: https://iwipp.org/

Sponsored by:
IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS)
IEEE Components, Packaging, and Manufacturing Technology Society (CPMT)
IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society (DEIS)
Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA)
European Center for Power Electronics (ECPE) 

The Silent Power of Supercapacitors (Part I)
Posted: 2018-12-11

From harvesting energy to power plants, the use of power electronics is everywhere and there are few applications that do not require power. The power electronics industry has been very dynamic with many new technologies making the impossible now possible. In the unceasing quest to increase performance levels, reliability and sustainability, new components and technologies such as Wide Bandgap Semiconductors and Digital power management are receiving a lot of attention and coverage. However, hiding in the shadows is a component that is very important and alredy intrinsically involved in many evolving applications - The Supercapacitor.

Supercapacitors are being widely applied - although perhaps because they are seen as passive components with a low-tech connotation, they are seldom on centerstage. It is time to bring them back into the spotlight, so let's review the amazing story and technology behind the silent power of supercapacitors.

From Howard Becker to Elon Musk
In the early fifties when capacitors were made out of impregnated paper and mica, General Electric researched ways to increase their capacity to store and release higher energy levels and to be able to absorb voltage distortions in electronics especially in top secret military applications. Research was conducted by Howard I. Becker and his team who on 14th April 1954 filed a patent for a 'Low voltage electrolytic capacitor' using a porous carbon electrode. On 23rd July 1957 the US2800616A patent was granted, thus opening the road for further innovation. Becker's invention was the beginning of a race between laboratories to convert the invention into a component capable of being mass manufactured with higher performance levels. In 1958, Philips NV patented a process for the production of electrodes for electrolytic capacitors and the electrolytic capacitor was born.

Although the invention of the electrolytic capacitor was an important step forward for the electronics industry, the capacity was still not enough to store higher levels of energy such as is required to stabilize an electric network or to deliver extremely high energy levels as required by certain applications in the defense industry. It took another six years of research after Becker's patent for the Robert A. Rightmire an engineer at Standard Oil Company to be granted on the 29th of November 1966, the US3288641A patent for an 'Electrical energy storage apparatus'. It was described as: "An electrical energy storage device for storing energy in electrostatic condition as double layers of electron-ions and proton-ions at co-acting interfaces…"

The supercapacitor was born!

Interestingly, it then took another 10 years for the invention to become a market reality.

Because of their capacity to store and release high amounts of energy in a very short time period, Electrical Vehicle (EV) research on high performance supercapacitors intensified and the number of inventions and patents sky-rocketed. The foremost application in EVs was to store the energy generated when decelerating and braking in order to re-use that energy to power the engine when accelerating. The potential of the supercapacitor received heightened attention in March 2011 at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco where regarding the future of electric vehicles Elon Musk said, "If I were to make a prediction, I'd think there's a good chance that it is not batteries, but super-capacitors that will power the future of EV." Just to remind ourselves, Musk originally came to California to study high-energy-density capacitor physics at Stanford. His speech started a lot of speculation about the potential of supercapacitors, with the perception that they would be the solution to mass energy storage, eventually replacing batteries. The reality is a bit different though, from the timing of Becker and Rightmire's original patents up to the present day, supercapacitor technology has progressed in a fair degree of 'behind the scenes' silence.

How does it work?
As we all remember from school, a capacitor consists of two metal plates or conductors separated by an insulator such as air or a film made of plastic or ceramic. During charging, electrons accumulate on one conductor and depart from the other. Using normal manufacturing practices a conventional capacitor's energy storage is limited by the laws of physics and that is where Robert A. Rightmire's invention opened new avenues for high energy storage.

A supercapacitor cell basically consists of two electrodes, a separator, and an electrolyte. The electrodes are made up of a metallic collector that is the high conducting part, and of an active material (metal oxides, carbon and graphite are the most commonly used) that is the high surface area part. The two electrodes are separated by a membrane that allows mobility of the charged ions, but forbids electrical conductance. The system is impregnated with an electrolyte (Figure 01). The geometrical size of the two carbon sheets and of the separators are designed in such a way that they have a very high surface area. Due to its structure, the highly porous carbon can store more energy than any other electrolytic capacitor.
When a voltage is applied to the positive plate, it attracts negative ions from the electrolyte, and when a voltage is applied to the negative plate, it attracts positive ions from the electrolyte. As a result, ion layers form on both sides of the plate in what is called a 'double layer' formation, resulting in the ions being stored near the surface of the carbon. This mechanism gives supercapacitors the ability to store and restore high energy within a very short time period.

The surface of the active part is the key to the supercapacitor's capacity and from what we know, increasing the surface area increases the capacity. What is particularly interesting and exciting in the advance of supercapacitor technology are the possibilities offered by the introduction of nanotechnologies. One example is to replace the conventional active carbon layer with a thin layer of billions of nanotubes. Each nanotube is like a uniform hollow cylinder 5nm diameter and 100um long, vertically grown over the conducting electrodes, and by using billions of them it is possible to reach extremely high density levels of capacity (Figure 02).

Will supercapacitors supersede batteries and What's coming next?
Following Elon Musk's speech at Cleantech Forum 2011, there has been a lot of interest in supercapacitors and the potential offered by nanotechnologies is keeping hopes high that at some point in the future, supercapacitors might reach a point where they equal the performance of batteries.

Will that happen?
Find more in Part 2 of this article in the next edition of the PSMA newsletter.

Provided by Patrick Le Fèvre
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Powerbox

Editor's note: This is the first in a 2-part series, watch for the second article in the First Quarter 2019 Issue of the PSMA Update.

PSMA Announces New Membership Classifications and Dues Structure
Posted: 2018-11-27

The PSMA Board of Directors has recognized the growing role being played by the rapid technological advances in power semiconductors, power management ICs, passive components to meet demanding customer needs for higher efficiency, higher reliability power conversion products and systems.

Much of the excellent work carried out through our PSMA Technical Committees is focused on these enabling technologies. Many of the outstanding APEC Industry Sessions organized by the PSMA Technical Committees address the advances in these critical components and manufacturing technologies. In addition, the PSMA Technical Committees sponsor several Technical Workshops and Webinars that address the advances on these topics, including the full-day Capacitor and Magnetics Workshops held the Saturday prior to the start of APEC, PwrSoC 2018 held in October in Taiwan, and the 3D Power Electronics Integrations and Manufacturing Workshop.

In recognition of the significant value and contributions provided by the companies engaged in the manufacture of these enabling technologies, the PSMA Board of Directors has determined that all such companies should be eligible for full voting membership in our Association. To this end, the PSMA Bylaws have been amended to simplify the membership structure into two classifications: Regular and Affiliate.  All member companies formerly classified as Associate Members will now be classified as Regular Members. 

In addition, the annual dues for Regular Membership will no longer be based on self-reported industry-related revenues. Instead, beginning in 2019, Regular Membership dues will be the same for all eligible companies and set at $950 per year. The Annual Dues structure has not changed in more than 30 years. For some member companies, this will result in a significant reduction in the annual cost of membership. For a small number of current Regular members and others formerly designated as Associate members, annual membership will increase modestly.

This change in the PSMA membership structure recognizes that PSMA Member Companies continue to be at the leading edge of power technology and “the voice of the Power Sources Industry”.

Powering Safety in Demanding Applications
Posted: 2018-8-30

Industrial power is a fascinating world, especially when designing customized solutions combining multi disciplines, and a segment full of amazing projects requiring from designers large range of competences and tight intimacy with customers and related industry. Powering safety equipment in gas, oil and hazardous substances is a very good example of an area where power designers have to combine power-knowledge, safety and regulation, software, and to have a full understanding of the application area and connected devices. Let's dive into the amazing world of Industrial Power to understand the connections between the electrons, the gas, oil and hazardous substances that make our world better and safer.

Challenges faced by gas, oil and hazardous substance industry

The production, transportation and distribution of gas, oil and hazardous substances require, at every step of their respective processes, high levels of monitoring, guaranteeing safety and environmental protection. It is critical to prevent any leakage, and if happening, to detect and report faults without delay, requiring that sensors, monitoring station, communication and other connected devices are powered with stable "always available power." That might sound obvious but considering the entire chain, from production to distribution; the quality of power delivered from grid and micro-grid is not always optimum, which could compromise safety. That's why a very specific type of power solution including local energy storage, power monitoring and communication towards the host system and site-manager is a must.

We will come back to the power solution in detail, but another challenge facing demanding industries are; the aging of installed equipment which, some are in operation for more than 20 years, powered by linear power sources with low efficiency and backup batteries, not dynamically monitored, having as consequence to request, for safety reason, preventive battery replacement on calendar basis.  At the very least there are cost implications for operators, as well an environmental impacts, if we consider the low efficiency of the power supply and the recycling of batteries that could be in a perfect condition; reducing energy consumption and battery life-time motivated companies to upgrade the installed base of power supplies with higher efficiency power sources, battery monitoring and real-time based communication between the power unit and the supervising center.

Site modernization is an important process: but, in the case of the gas industry, not enough to reach the objectives fixed by the different governments to reduce methane emissions that may result from gas leakage throughout the overall process, as reported by the Clean Air Task Force.

In the U.S.A, the White House published the Climate Action Plan "Strategy to reduce methane emissions" in March 2014. This document covers a large range of areas where methane emissions must be reduced; from agriculture, to oil and natural gas sector, highlighting the need to improve measurement methods (e.g. by developing new measurement technologies, including lower-cost emissions sensing equipment) and for operators to initiate activities to reduce gas leakage throughout the overall process.

The modernization process is very well aligned with the requirement but considering the scale of the overall chain additional measuring stations will be required to detect early leakage triggering action to repair as soon as detected. In that industry, time matters and the sooner a default identified, the lower the environmental impact; and for that reliable power sources are mandatory!

What is the best power solution gas, oil and hazardous substances, leakage-detection manufacturers should consider?

Safety and regulations
Many applications are using uninterruptable power supplies (UPS); though considering the nature of the industry segment, and potentially explosive environments, power designers have to consider a number of technical parameters, including specific legislations and regulations related to countries the final equipment is installed.

Gas detection is very much connected to business segment 'Fire Alarms' and, from the early days, power solutions designed for those types of applications have had to follow safety standards related to that segment.

In Europe, the EN 54 Fire detection and fire alarm systems is a mandatory standard that specifies requirements and laboratory tests for every component of fire detection and fire alarm systems, allowing free movement of construction products between countries of the European Union market. The part 4 (Power supply equipment - EN54-4:2007) specifies requirements, methods of test and performance criteria for power supply equipment of fire detection and fire alarm systems. Included in the standard are functionality tests, electrical and mechanical design requirements, as well environmental tests such as cold, vibration, impact, damp heat, and electromagnetic compatibility.

In the USA, the product must comply with the National Fire Protection Association standard NFPA 72-2010 and to the FM Approvals - standard for fire alarm signaling systems – class 3010 (FM3010). When certified equipment are stamped with a specific certification logo.

In other countries, additional standards may apply, which in close cooperation with equipment manufacturers, power designers have to consider at the early stages of the product development, e.g. in UK, the BRE Global Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) verify and certify products operating in Fire Safety, stamped by the LPCB logo [figure 3].

Power supply – battery and monitoring and communication in focus
Standard power supplies powering Fire Alarms are usually dimensioned for small systems requiring limited current, 1.5A to 5.5A at 24V output. That is enough to power fire detectors, sensors and monitoring equipment but not sufficient for larger systems such as the ones deployed in the gas, oil and hazardous substance industry; especially when upgrading legacy systems.

This is where the custom power solution is considered by equipment manufacturers, requiring more power, higher battery capacity and extra features such as advanced monitoring and communication.

Power Supply - High power EN54-4 power solutions are supporting high capacity lead acid batteries; in this example up to 200Ah. High capacity batteries are requiring special attention on the way the power is balanced between the system bus voltage and battery charging.

The most optimized solution is to build a power system that includes two independent power supplies; the first one (28V/20A) to power the applications (e.g. infrared cameras) and the second (28V/15A) to charge the batteries as its main purpose.

Enclosed in an IP30 case, the power supplies and supervising circuitries require special attention on layout, to optimize free air convection, which is the case in the vast majority of applications. Thermally controlled fans can always be added for high temperature environments but designers have to develop the product based upon free air convection, dimensioning components and thermal management for such conditions. Conduction cooling is the rule, and technology such as passive heat-pipes are often considered.

Battery and Monitoring - As we mentioned earlier in the article, the reliability of EN54-4 power sources, supplying voltage to strategic applications and securing power to vital functions, in case of AC disruption, has no compromise. We used to say "Failure is not an option and battery integrity a must." That's where battery monitoring becomes a science, making the overall power system highly reliable.

Different methods exist to test battery integrity/capacity:

  • Full load test - For this test a constant current is drawn from the battery for an extended period of time (typically 20 hours). Measurements of current and voltage are taken periodically from which the capacity of the battery can be calculated.
  • Reduced load or Maintenance load test - Similar to the full load test except that the period is reduced (usually performed by operating the system on battery for a shorter period of time than for a full load test).
  • Momentary load or Pulse load – The test meter loads the battery with a pulsed or momentary series of loads. The duration and repetition of the load test cycle varies depending on the battery type and size.
  • Battery voltage reading - Typically the voltage of the battery is measured and compared to the optimal value expected; a small variation to this test is to allow a current to be drawn from the battery for a period of time to eliminate the surface charge.

Each method has advantages and disadvantages and the best method is a combination of all.

Considering the application and environment, system power designers have developed complex algorithms (part of companies' secrets), integrating battery specific parameters, in-situ operating conditions and predictive failure simulation, based on calculation and field data.

As the Fire Industry Association presented in "FIA Guidance Testing of lead acid batteries used in Fire Detection & Alarm System Power Supplies," one of the most critical parts in this process is the calibration.

As the battery ages, chemical degradation causes reduction in the battery's maximum chemical capacity, limiting performance and risk of failure. Defining the point when an alarm signal should be generated to request maintenance is very important and that can only be done with detailed battery knowledge.

In a perfect world, a calibration profile should belong to the battery, but unfortunately that is not always the case.  Currently the technical information available is not good enough for demanding applications, requiring power manufacturers to build their own databases, which are then integrated into the algorithms.

Calibration requires a large amount of data to establish the performance profile of the battery. That data are is based upon voltage at the cells under different conditions of load and temperature, the internal resistance (measured value from a large population), the dynamic behavior under load transient and few more part of the magic receipt.

When in operation, the EN54-4 power system permanently monitors the 'State of Charge' (Remaining battery capacity / Full charge capacity), the 'State of Health' (Full charge capacity / battery design capacity) and other parameters defined during the design process. In the case of the product presented as example, the PBUKW6004 tests the internal resistance and other parameters every 3 minutes with 10 cycles. The data is then compared with the calibration table and, if a deviation identified, the fault reported via the communication bus, as well as being communicated via a local LED on the front panel.

Communication – Power supplies used in Fire Detection & Alarm System are usually not embedding communication interface. When a default detected, a LED is lit on the front of the power unit and a relay (e.g. open collector transistor) switched to trigger an alarm.

In the case of gas leakage control, equipment could be deployed in remote areas or limited access during site operation. It is very important for the System Supervisor to know the state of each station in real time, requiring the power supply to communicate information to host/supervisor.

Adding an Internet RS-485 with Modbus protocol to the power unit makes it possible for the System Supervisor to tightly monitor the health of each individual site and the state of the batteries and, from data collected, to initiate technical maintenance when necessary.

Information collected through the communication bus is not limited to the battery, it could also include other useful information such as temperature, bus voltage condition and load condition, adding important information when monitoring safety in such operation.

Way forward and conclusion

Powering demanding applications such as gas leakage monitoring is very interesting and new technologies such as low power consumption sensors will require power designers to explore new territories in future, which is very exciting.

In the semiconductors domain, Gallium Nitride, Silicon Carbide or Gallium Arsenide are opening a full range of new applications and, as listed in the White House report under "Improving Methane Measurement" - developing new measurement technologies, including lower-cost emissions sensing equipment, an invitation to Power Designers to investigate harvesting energy.

To conclude, this article has sought to briefly convey the type of challenges power designers can expect to face, when developing power solutions for demanding applications, reflecting the huge amount of required competence and knowledge it requires. It certainly dispels the clichéd notion that the Industrial Power sector is a boring segment; rather demonstrating just how exciting it is and will become in the future.


Provided by Patrick Le Fèvre 
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Powerbox




Power supplies for railway applications – On the rails to 2020
Posted: 2018-6-6

In a study presented at the international rail exhibition, Innotrans 2016 in Berlin, the European Rail Industry summarized the state of the business as representing a market size estimated to reach 229 billion USD by 2020. This amount includes new infrastructures, trains and vehicles and an often hidden yet important part, railway modernization. From Asia to the USA, every country has a railway infrastructure, some of which some are 100 years old (e.g. catenaries).

To meet the growing market demand for enhanced safety and modernization in the USA the 'Grow America Act' supports railway modernization with predictable, dedicated investments. States and local communities need the certainty of sustained funding to make these transportation investments that are necessary to improve the infrastructure and support their economic growth. To meet this, the Act is investing $29 billion over a six year period to improve rail safety and invest in a National High-Performance Rail System. One particular area to benefit from the Act is Positive Train Control (PTC). PTC is a system of functional requirements for monitoring and controlling train movements, a type of train protection system. The Act also builds on current investments to enhance flexibility in financing programs that will better enable the rehabilitation of aging infrastructure. For sure, the power supplies share of these investments is marginal compared to heavy rolling stock or infrastructure. Though without power supplies, nothing would be possible, and so power designers are actively engaged in railway modernization.

As we approach the next edition of Innotrans, it is both relevant and interesting to take a minute to consider the many challenges that power supply manufacturers are facing in their quest to make railways safer, coupled with the highest service levels for passengers.

From conservative to progressive

For decades, the railway sector has been a challenging area for the power supply industry to develop very specific power solutions to meet the requirements of this complex market. The sector consists of three main categories: new equipment, modernization, and the maintenance and upgrading of equipment that entered service 10 years ago or more. Each of these categories represents particular demands on the part of the developer and requires skills specific to each case.

Although the railway sector is very conservative and priority is given to reliability and robustness, the new generation of "digital technology trained" engineers involved in the development of new rail systems are increasingly integrating digital control and encouraging the implementation of energy-efficient topologies such as the Gallium Nitride transistors. In the railway sector this approach is quite new, requiring more extensive qualification work during product development, bringing new constraints for engineers responsible for guaranteeing durable solutions for the next twenty years. This is a very interesting aspect for design engineers and a great opportunity to cooperate directly with the design offices of major railway customers.

From point-of-load to multi kilowatts - with compliance

The range of railway applications is very wide and consists of a large number of applications requiring simple proximity voltage regulators point-of-load (POL) to converters or inverters of several hundred kilowatts powering the motors of traction engines and other traction vehicles. In term of overall railway market, if we exclude the service part of the segment, rolling stock represents the majority of applications, followed by infrastructure and finally, track side and signaling. Each of these sub-segments has its own requirements that are specific to its environment. For example, converters for vehicle (e.g. locomotive) startup control, so called Low Battery Voltage Starter (LBVS) are connected to high voltage catenaries to deliver a low battery voltage, requiring very high insulation and high-level safety constraints. In addition, all on-board equipment must comply with general standards such as EN50155, which covers electronic equipment used in rolling stock (a standard that incorporates many other standards such as EN 50121-3-2 for electromagnetic compatibility). The railway field is highly standardized and each development begins with an analysis of the application case and related standards.

In addition to the traditional standards governing operating quality, operational parameters and safety, after more than 20 years of evaluation and its publication in 2013, this year the EN45545 standard (resistance and fire behavior) has become mandatory for all rolling stock. This standard aims to eliminate the risk of fire during a technical incident and all toxic fumes resulting from combustion of the product. For power supply manufacturers, this means selecting components that meet this standard and carrying out additional tests to ensure full compliance with the various chapters of EN45545.

Apart from the large number of standards, one of the specificities of the railway sector is the fact that many applications have very specific requirements in terms of housings and connectors, often resulting in products that are dedicated to a particular customer. While the trend is towards the standardization of card modules such as DC/DC converters, for more complex products such as locomotive starter converters or decentralized battery chargers, custom designed product remains the norm. This requires a development capacity geared towards these products and a high degree of flexibility in production. In fact, despite a growing market (+6% per year), the volumes of power supplies used in the railway sector remain modest compared to the millions of units consumed in the telecommunications sector, requiring the manufacturers, such as Powerbox, to adapt their production tools to specific demands.

Designing power for long life time

The majority of customers in the railway sector require a 30 years or more availability for some critical equipment. This means that during development this service life must be taken into account, as well as the possibility of the replacement of certain components such as electrolytic capacitors affected by aging during life time, must be considered during the design. Knowing that railway power supplies can be exposed to severe environmental effects such as temperature variations or shock and vibration during the life of the product, equipment manufacturers include "components refreshment and re-calibration" in their specifications. It is common to see products delivered more than 15 years ago return to the manufacturer for review and updating. This practice is very specific to the railway sector and has a strong influence on the way feeds are designed.

Indeed, a 30-year lifespan obliges design engineers to select components with a low risk of obsolescence but also to design the product for possible upgrade during its useful life. This adds a level of complexity but also limits the introduction of new technologies. As mentioned above, engineers in charge of the development of tomorrow's railway systems want to integrate new technologies, but the limited knowledge of their lifecycle and sustainability raises questions about the level of risk associated with their introduction. This is a topical issue that is being debated within the railway community which on the one hand wants to modernize its power supply systems to make them more energy-efficient and with better communications, and on the other hand to guarantee a risk-free sustainability.

Time to market challenges

Basically, the technologies used to develop railway power supplies are very similar to those used in other segments, and with years of experience, developers of the former have built up expertise enabling them to reduce development times. However, new standards and the introduction of new technologies will increase development time. Considering the wide range of power supplies used in railways, if we exclude so-called "standard" products such as modules for boards having a development cycle of about 14 months, more of customers' complex projects can easily reach 24 or even more months awaiting approval. This means working closely with OEMs who, aware of these delays and facing increasing price competition from Asia, are pushing for the development of blocks of functions that can be reused on multiple projects.

Because of the large and increasing demand pressure for modernization of rail systems, the design lead times have to be shortened, which means a different approach. In the case of rolling stock, this is rather complicated involving a number of specific aspects such as certifications. In the case of traffic control and signaling systems, the constraints are less stringent and it is possible to use power supplies such as those for DIN rail mounting that already exist. An energy subsystem such as ones provided by Powerbox's Battery Backup Unit (BBU) can be customized in less than three months to meet specific demands, including the addition of radio transmission telemetry systems. This is the type of modularity that OEMs are beginning to implement in rolling stock, but it will take time.

The impact of modernizing railway networks on power supplies has many aspects because it is not conceivable to stop the operation of the existing systems, nor to replace all existing infrastructure. For rolling stock, this often involves the addition of complementary technologies such as Wi-Fi for passenger comfort or on-board telemetry to increase safety. In this case, the power supplies are of a rather standard type and are often part of the installed system without any major change to rolling stock.

In the case of major modernization of a complete train (what is usually referred as "refurbishment") which consists of the revamping of one that has already endured a long life span, equipment manufacturers ask power supplies manufacturers to develop Fit, Form and Function (3F) alternatives. That is, a revised and updated power supplies but where the units' fit, form and function remain the same, thus reducing implementation delays and guaranteeing the durability of the host equipment for many years. The development of a 3F power supply is very close to a specific development, but by combining the expertise of engineers, the platforms available from manufacturers specialized in the field of railroads, and the reuse of the original case or chassis it makes possible to reduce development times spectacularly.

Most of the modernization of European rail networks is carried out at tracks and signaling systems level. Accordingly, equipment cabinets very often remain in place and installers ask for 3F solutions from the power supply manufacturers that can be installed in place of the old systems; a relatively simple process of "old equipment out, new equipment in". In the case of very old systems, the technique used is to install an industrial chassis in the cabinet to facilitate the installation of standardized racks, which subsequently reduces the time required for updating, such as adding additional radio-telemetry systems or connecting the cabinet to fiber optic systems.

The general trend in railway power supplies is to reduce development times by adopting standardized or semi-standardized sub-assemblies. This is the intention of equipment manufacturers and increasingly the adopted solution for systems close to the tracks or embedded applications using card converters or cassettes. However there will always remain very specific power supplies requiring on-demand solutions that will continue to call upon very specific skills.

Provided by Patrick Le Fèvre 
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Powerbox




PSMA Offers Power Supply Safety & Compliance Database as Free Resource for All Industry Professionals
Posted: 2016-7-1
On-line database provides comprehensive review of international operational, environmental and safety standards; access offered free to PSMA members and non-members

The Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) announces the availability of a new on-line Safety & Compliance Database. The continually updated resource lists the many state, national and worldwide organizations currently active in establishing and maintaining safety, electromagnetic compatibility, material toxicity and environmental standards for power supplies used in commercial applications. Recognizing the database as an invaluable tool for power electronics industry professionals, the PSMA is offering it free of charge to both PSMA members and non-members alike.

Intended users of the Safety & Compliance Database are those who design power systems for products that will be offered in the global marketplace, and who therefore need to comply with current and evolving safety and standards for their target markets. The database can be searched by specific applications; giving the most recent status of standards, identifying key documents, meetings and milestones associated with each standard, and providing links to the appropriate websites of controlling organizations.

“As companies design their new products for global markets, they have to grapple with current, new – and sometimes conflicting – safety standards and regulations,” reported Kevin Parmenter and Jim Spangler, co-chairs of the PSMA Safety & Compliance Committee. “Our new Safety & Compliance Database provides a vital resource for engineers and product planners as they keep abreast of standards, including ongoing activities, proposed changes and updates, and information on the latest versions.”

The PSMA contracted with Anagenesis Inc. to create and provide continual updates to the database. Interested users can opt in to receive weekly email alerts about new information and changes. The database also features the ability for users to request permission to direct and track information on emerging standards, which enables the database to evolve and improve.

The Safety & Compliance Database is easily accessible from the Quick Links on the upper right of the PSMA homepage or the Safety Database tab of the Safety & Compliance Technical Forum. Anyone who already has an account on the PSMA website, just needs to log in to access the database. Those who have not yet registered must follow an easy registration process to request access.

Why Should Your Company Be A Member Of PSMA?
Posted: 2014-12-21

The PSMA is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in the state of California whose purpose is to enhance the stature and reputation of its members and their products, to improve their knowledge of technological and other developments related to power sources, and to educate the entire electronics industry, plus academia, as well as government and industry agencies as to the importance of, and relevant applications for, all types of power sources and conversion devices.

By joining with other leaders in the Industry, you and your company will have a greater voice and influence on the directions of the Power Sources Industry. Some specific benefits of membership include:

  • Networking: The opportunity to meet and interact with counterparts in other companies on an ongoing basis
  • Involvement: The opportunity to be involved with the planning and managing of APEC—the Applied Power Electronics Conference-- sessions that focus on the specific interest of members
  • Participation: The opportunity to participate in committees, workgroups and studies to derive a better understanding of market trends, industry trends and better operational procedures to improve performance
  • Discounts: Individuals from PSMA member companies receive discounts on registration fees for attending APEC
  • Industry Trends: Increase awareness and knowledge of trends and factors that can impact your career and provide valuable inputs for product planning
  • Company Profile: All member company profiles are listed on the PSMA Web Site together with a hyperlink directly to the company Web Site
  • PSMA Publications: Regular and Associate member companies receive a copy of all new PSMA publications and reports with discounts for additional copies. Affiliate member companies can purchase PSMA publications at a discount
  • Employment Resources: Post job openings on the PSMA website and browse student resumes
  • Benchmarking: The opportunity to participate in benchmarking studies with other companies in your industry
  • PSMA Newsletter: Receive “Update” the quarterly newsletter of the PSMA, with informative articles on activities in the industry and a calendar of upcoming industry events
  • Spotlight Banner: Your company’s products can be featured as a banner on the PSMA Home Page

PSMA membership dues are modest in comparison to the benefits offered. Is your company a member of PSMA? If not, why not? You can find the membership application on the PSMA web site at http://www.psma.com/webforms/psma-membership-application.

We look forward to receiving your application in the near future so you can take advantage of the registration discount at APEC. The 2015 Power Technology Roadmap will be available in mid March and all Regular and Associate members of PSMA will receive a free copy of the report as a benefit of membership. Affiliate members will receive a discount on the Roadmap and other PSMA reports.


Get More From Your PSMA Membership – Join A Committee
Posted: 2011-8-28


PSMA membership provides many benefits for you and your company. It gives you personally the opportunity to meet, network and interact with your counterparts in other companies on an ongoing basis. It also provides an opportunity to be involved with the planning and managing of APEC, as well as giving you and your colleagues a discount on registration fees for attending APEC.


Your company gets a listing on the PSMA web site with a hyperlink directly to your company web site. In addition, your company has an invitation to provide a Spotlight Banner to showcase its latest product on the PSMA Home Page

Your company also receives free or discounted copies of PSMA publications and reports,

An important membership benefit is the opportunity to join and participate in one or more of the PSMA Technical Committees. Participating in one or more committees is the best way to increase the benefits from your company and your personal PSMA membership. People involved in PSMA Technical Committees all agree that their investment returns multiple benefits that surpass the time spent participating – both for their company and for their own careers. Just ask someone who is a committee member. The committee provides the opportunity to network with knowledgeable people who are influencing the power sources industry.

You are encouraged to join a committee and get involved in their activities. Most committees meet about once a month for about one hour by teleconference. You are welcome to attend a committee meeting before making a decision to join the group. If you are interested in attending one of the meetings, please contact the Association Office for call-in information.


This is an open invitation to participate in or join any committee. Bring your experience, interest and enthusiasm. Currently PSMA has the following committees:

  • Alternative Energy
  • Capacitors
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Energy Harvesting
  • Industry-Education
  • Magnetics
  • Membership
  • Marketing
  • Nanotechnology
  • Power Electronics Packaging
  •  Semiconductors
  • Technology Roadmap

Your participation will contribute added value to the subject and enhance your own knowledge.

It’s a great way to network with your colleagues.

For more information describing the committees and the dates for the next meetings, please view the PSMA web site or contact the PSMA office at power@psma.com.



Power Electronics Timeline DRAFT
Posted: 2011-6-29

The Power Sources Manufacturers Association has drafted a power electronics timeline and a "corporate" genealogy chart for the industry to review. As we get inputs, we will be updating these files on a periodic basis. Consequently these files are subject to change until we hear from all affected parties or until enough time has transpired at which time the files will be finalized.

If you have any inputs to share, please contact ada@adaclock.com or the PSMA office.

PSMA Provides On-Line Energy Efficiency Standards Database
Posted: 2010-5-1

The Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) has announced availability of its On-line Energy Efficiency Database (EEDB) as a service to the industry. The number of energy efficiency standards and the world wide agencies that generate them continue to grow daily. It is time consuming for an individual or company to keep track of the many actions and activities by government and industry groups. The PSMA on-line energy efficiency standards database provides one click access to the very latest global standards and initiatives.

Some of the useful features:

  • Quick access to world region, agency, or standards application
  • Expanded data includes list of specific standards generated by an agency and parametric specifications for each regulation
  • Expanded description of regulations and agencies
  • Enhanced descriptions that include html code for quick linking to agency site or database location
  • Latest schedule of standards meetings

Dusty Becker, PSMA Board Chairman and chair of the PSMA Energy Efficiency Committee, states that The PSMA On-line Energy Efficiency Data Base which incorporates a number of improvements suggested by product planners to keep current is a valuable resource for engineers. We are pleased to offer this resource free of charge to our membership and to the industry. 

Handbook of Standardized Terminology now available on "Members Only"
Posted: 2008-1-4

The Handbook of Standardized Terminology For The Power Sources Industry-Third Edition - has been made available as a download on the Members Only area of the PSMA website. Revised and expanded, this unique publication includes definitions for more than 1200 terms related to power electronics which were especially selected for the power electronics professional. The Third Edition also contains illustrations and four new appendices, including a listing of EMI specifications, excerpts from international standards of units and symbols, along with guides for authors of technical papers. Many new magnetic terms are described in this new 126-page third edition that are of particular interest to the practicing designer and marketer of power supplies and related products. Valuable information regarding worldwide power sources, standards agencies, and military specifications has been retained, updated and expanded from the previous edition. Titles of the appendices are: Testing and Standards Agencies; Designer's Reference; World Voltages and Frequencies; Military Specifications; EMI Specifications; Writing Technical Papers for Archival Publications; Units, Symbols and Style Guide; A Brief Writing Guide. These added resources provide concise, easy-to-use references for engineeers involved in technical writing and presentations. If your company is a member of PSMA, you may register for the "Members Only" area using your email address. The registration form requires you to enter your company PSMA member number. You may contact the Association Office if you do not know the member number.

Getting More From Your PSMA Membership
Posted: 2005-9-27
A letter to the Membership from Chuck Mullett, PSMA Chairman March 18, 2003

In a recent monthly teleconference of our Membership Committee we had a lively discussion about how we are serving our membership, what projects we are doing, and how we might communicate better with you, our member companies. Realizing that communication is always a key ingredient, I volunteered to write to you and give you a personal snapshot of what’s going on.

Mission: To integrate the resources of the power sources industry to more effectively and profitably serve the needs of the power sources users, providers and PSMA members.

As it is with many trade organizations, membership can be a spectator sport. The organization appreciates your support in the form of dues, because there’s always overhead that must be paid. But, what good is an organization that simply collects dues, pays the phone bills and mailing costs, and tries to survive until the next wave of dues submittals? Clearly, this would be a waste of time. In organizations like PSMA, the worth of the group is directly and totally a result of the efforts of its members. This is not a new concept. Service organizations around the world have always operated in just this way. Think about Rotary International, comprised of business leaders who volunteer their time in an environment of fellowship to help each other succeed in their businesses and help students with scholarships, etc. They take on meaningful projects in their communities, help their communities, and have fun doing it. It is possible to maintain membership in Rotary by simply paying dues and attending meetings. But---it is clear that those who get the most out of their membership are the ones who get involved in the projects. They get to know the other members, gaining friendships and insight into their own businesses. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, they have a lot of fun. When people ask us about PSMA, we usually recite a couple of sentences about the organization, its membership and mission, and then we’re bragging joyfully about the projects recently completed and the ones in process. For me, personally, the projects are exciting, as they give me valuable insight It has become a tradition over the past few years to make use of the Saturday preceding APEC (usually in late February or early March) to hold a major workshop, taking advantage of the presence of the leaders of the power electronics industry. Two years ago Lou Pechi culminated the work of his Low Voltage Workshop team in an all-day meeting that resulted in the book that’s probably on you bookshelf. Leaders from several end users and power supply manufacturing companies spent countless hours preparing papers and presentations, and then more volunteers transcribed the workshop and edited the final report. If you’re involved in the move toward lower voltage power delivery, I hope you’ve had a chance to use it. Last year that pre-APEC Saturday was spent in PSMA’s Integration Workshop, organized by Arnold Alderman. We hope this project saved many of our member companies tens of thousands of dollars trying to figure out how to advance their power supply technology by the use of semi-custom or fully-custom ICs. The question, “Should I go into the silicon design business, joint venture with a semiconductor manufacturer or simply wait for the next wave of ICs” can be difficult to answer. Your Association decided that tackling this question rigorously and publishing the answers would be of considerable value to the membership. We enlisted the help of our colleagues in Ireland, PEI Technologies, after a bidding process involving several candidate organizations. Both volumes of this report have been sent to PSMA Regular and Associate member companies as a benefit of membership. This study cost under $35,000, because of the hundreds of volunteer hours spent by several PSMA members. Prior to this, we had spent well over a year and around $40,000 on the Status of Power Electronics Packaging (StatPEP) project, also using the crew in Ireland to analyze ten dc-dc converters and ten 500-watt ac-dc power supplies. They dissected these units after a battery of electrical measurements, took countless photos and x-rays, and reported the findings in the now-famous “StatPEP Report” that we hope is in your possession and has been of benefit to your company. Again, hundreds of hours were spent by PSMA volunteers overseeing the PEI work, writing papers, presenting them at the workshop and also presenting a half-day summary seminar at APEC 2000. We have now held the fourth Power Technology Roadmap Workshop, which took place on the Saturday preceding APEC 2003 in February. Don Staffiere started this triennial study in 1994 and faithfully repeated it in 1997 and 2000. It involves heavy effort of over 20 volunteers, not only from PSMA but also from other companies. The final product will be a comprehensive publication containing trending of all aspects of power electronics technology---design, manufacturing, components technology, marketing, sales and in-depth information from the users about their needs over the next five years. This exercise will be done without any outside contracts, except the printing of the reports. So---what else has PSMA done for me? Well, let me introduce you to the PSMA Web site! It’s hard to believe, but it consistently receives over 16,000 hits per month! If you supplied the requested information, there’s a link to your Web site, and your company name scrolls by continuously on the home page. Please, if you haven’t done so, drop by and give your mouse a little exercise---you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Be sure to look at the quarterly newsletter, UPDATE. The current edition goes on for 18 pages; including many APEC 2003 pictures and scenes of your PSMA team at work (Joe Horzepa has one of those wonderful digital cameras with the cheap film!) What MORE can PSMA do for me? Plenty! We’re strong, eager and capable. Over half of the sales revenue of the power supply manufacturers in the US is represented in PSMA’s membership. Membership from the components community is also very strong, and so is our membership from academia and leading consultants. As one of the three sponsors of APEC, we share in the financial outcome of the conference, and it’s been very positive over the past few years. Our financial net worth is over $70,000. As a non-profit organization, we simply return our revenues from APEC, member dues and publication sales, to our membership as efficiently and effectively as we can. In addition to the present system of value exchange here’s how you can “milk” much more out of your membership. I thought I would make a list, but as the thoughts rolled around in my head, I realized they all comprised a single theme. It’s extremely simple. “Get involved.” I can tell you, and so can my colleagues, that the benefits from being truly active in an organization like PSMA far outstrip all of the many publications that attempt to summarize its activities. There’s much more in store for you than simply hearing what goes on in our committee meetings, workshops and research projects. What happens in these activities is (and I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t happen all the time) almost magical. After many years of sticking my neck out and getting involved in these activities I’ve come to some revelations. As I wrote in my paper for APEC 2000 about “Defining your own excellence,” these volunteer organizations have an unusually high population density of effective people. It’s partly because the volunteer aspect acts as an input filter---everyone had to exercise some initiative to be there in the first place. 1. They had to “show up” (it’s been written that this is 80% of success). 2. They had to say, “I’ll do that,” when the discussion rolled around to figuring out how to organize the project. 3. They had to deliver. The level of performance is extremely high, because the people are “turned on” about what they’re doing. Some valuable friendships are formed while working together on these projects. As many of them involve research about power supply technology, components, reliability, marketing and sales, this work may uncover valuable information that you might otherwise not find. More important than the content of the work, in my opinion, is the interaction with exciting colleagues who are really enjoying their careers. I can’t tell you how many times my life has been enriched by these experiences. One of the reasons I’m taking the time to write this is to share this with you. I hope you’ll accept my invitation to get involved yourself. I hope, even more, that you will pick one or two of your co-workers to get involved with us. Please pick up your phone and call me at my office in California, 805 933-4607, or drop an email to me at chuck.mullett@onsemi.com. We can chat further about how your membership in PSMA can become much more valuable to you and your company. Sincerely, Chuck Mullett Chairman, PSMA

An Engineer's Guide to using Google by Chuck Mullett
Posted: 2005-8-23

Years ago we had to surround ourselves with printed reference material to provide the data on components used in our designs and applications papers to help in their use. Many of these were free, but some others cost over $100 each and became obsolete almost as fast as we obtained them. Today, the picture has changed dramatically. Most of this information is available at no cost through the Internet; the amount of information is so huge that the new challenge is sorting it out. When the semiconductor committee of PSMA began to study the problem of helping engineers find the information needed, the change in the way we do our jobs became blatantly obvious. Even this task has been made easier, because of help from the Internet.

Here is our conclusion: Google is perhaps the most advanced search engine in the world at this time. Surprisingly, it’s not just for lay people who are looking for new recipes or ways to remodel their bedrooms. Its capability to provide us with the sophisticated technical help we need is astounding. It has the capacity to improve its performance, on its own, as it is used. Our job in helping our members and others in the industry has been reduced from one of searching, rating and cataloging materials to one of simply providing a few hints about using Google. We suggest you try it for yourself, get familiar with its capability, and use it the next time you need information. Here are some examples for you to try:

1. Go to Google.com and type in power factor correction. Our result was that 2,190,000 references were retrieved in 0.23 seconds. Now, type in “power factor correction” and see the difference. We got 155,000 references in about the same amount of time. What is even more amazing is that the references were valid! Even in the first case---we looked through the first 120 on the list, and didn’t find even one irrelevant citing.

2. Try “mag amp” and retrieve 8,870 references. All were valid until we got down to the 29th one on the list, which referred to a slow-release garden fertilizer. 28 out of 29 is a validity score of 96.6%---not bad for software!!!

In Example 1 we saw the difference of enclosing the phrase in quotation marks. Doing so causes the search engine to look for precisely that phrase. Without this, the search engine will find hits on each of the words individually, inviting irrelevant references.

To the right of the search window on the home page you will find “Advanced Search.” Clicking on it will produce a page full of easy-to-use tricks to improve the search, including “Advanced Search Tips” on the top line of the page. This gives even more useful information to produce more effective results. Google is so easy that if you’ll spend only 5 minutes with it, you’ll be producing better results than you can find in a world-class library, without leaving your desk. Try it first, then try other search engines. We did this, and found a plethora of irrelevant “hits.” We invite your comments.

Power Supplies - Make vs Buy
Posted: 2003-1-24

A discussion of criteria to consider when deciding whether you should make or buy power supplies when creating equipment.

Power Supplies - Make vs Buy



Technical Writing Guides
Posted: 2003-1-24

The following documents are provided to assist you in your technical writing. Please note that if you would like a hard copy of the Units, Symbols & Styles Guide in a handy one-page format, you may purchase copies in the Publications Section.

Units, Symbols and Style Guide

A Brief Writing Guide

Site Design: David Fogle Design

Contact us:   Tel: (973) 543-9660   Fax: (973) 543-6207   power@psma.com
P.O. Box 418, Mendham, NJ 07945-0418
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