Other news of interest

PSMA Energy Management Technical Committee Leadership Opportunity
Posted: 2018-11-6

The PSMA Board of Directors is seeking one or more volunteers interested in providing leadership for the Energy Management 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. 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 of the PSMA Power Technology Roadmap with relevant Webinars and technical content. The leadership position is the chair for each meeting and is responsible for generating the monthly meeting agenda and to facilitate the meeting to meet the needs 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
  • 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 the Energy Management Technical Committee and a Leadership Job Description is available here.

Please contact the Association Office for more information on the specific responsibilities for the Chair and/or Co-chair of the Energy Management Technical Committee.

International Workshop on Integrated Power Packaging (IWIPP 2019) Call for Papers
Posted: 2018-10-17

The International Workshop on Integrated Power Packaging (IWIPP 2019) brings together designers and researchers in the field of power electronics components, and packaging technologies to facilitate and promote the development and commercialization of high-density and high-efficiency power converters. Papers ranging from core material technologies to power converters are sought that address important challenges and present solutions to increase reliability and manufacturability of power electronic components and systems while targeting increased performance and reduced system cost. 


The organizing committee is pleased to announce that the Call for Papers for IWIPP 2019 listing all session topic is now available.  In addition, the online portal is now open for submission of 2-page technical abstracts.  Please note that the deadline for submission of abstracts is Nov. 17, 2018.  IWIPP 2019 technical abstracts are submitted in a compact format consisting of a single-page technical description and a second page of figures. 

IWIPP 2019 will be held April 24-26, 2019, in Toulouse, France. The contents of IWIPP 2019 will include a set of keynote addresses from leading experts in this 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. 

Please make plans to attend this important event, and consider submitting a digest for review by the technical committee.  Additional information regarding the conference, including author information and abstract submission instructions, can be found at the conference 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)

Christine Yan Joins the ON Semiconductor Board of Directors
Posted: 2018-10-1

ON Semiconductor Corporation, driving energy efficiency innovations, today announced that Christine Yan has joined its Board of Directors. Ms. Yan was elected to this position by ON Semiconductor’s Board of Directors.

"We are pleased to welcome Christine as a new independent director to ON Semiconductor’s board and look forward to her contributions,” said Alan Campbell, chair of the board at ON Semiconductor. “Her unique insights and perspectives, coupled with prior board experience, are a great complement to the skills and qualifications of our existing directors.”

“Christine joins ON Semiconductor’s board at an exciting time for the company as we continue to drive our business and customer relationships in China and the greater Asia Pacific region,” said Keith Jackson, president, chief executive officer and director at ON Semiconductor. “Her engineering background and deep knowledge in doing business in Asia, corporate strategy, and product development will be invaluable to our customers and shareholders. We look forward to working with her on the board as we continue to fulfill our vision to be the trusted supplier of choice for energy efficient innovations in the semiconductor industry.”

Ms. Yan has served as Vice President of Integration at Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK) since January 2018, leading the company’s successful acquisition of Nelson Fastener Systems. Prior to this role, Ms. Yan has recently served as President – Asia for Stanley Black & Decker based in Shanghai, China and President – Stanley Storage and Workspace Systems. Ms. Yan started her career at Black & Decker as an engineering intern in 1989 and progressed to be the first female business unit president for the company in 2006 when she became President of Global Automotive for the Engineered Fastening Business. Ms. Yan also serves as a director of Modine Manufacturing Company (NYSE: MOD).

Ms. Yan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Shandong University in Shandong, China, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

For more information, visit www.onsemi.com.

ISPCE 2018 Drilled Deeply into Today's Compliance Issues
Posted: 2018-9-6

In the vast world of conferences there are only a handful centric to the areas of safety and compliance that are relevant to the electronics field. The annual IEEE Symposium on Product Compliance Engineering (ISPCE) is one of these events. In fact, for those with a stake in safety and compliance issues (including EMC and environmental requirements) with a need to stay current, it's a must attend event. I (Kevin) was privileged to be among the approximately 250 participants at this year's symposium in San Jose. ISPCE addressed all of the proximate issues in this field.

(Images courtesy of ISPCE)

Among the notable topics discussed at the symposium were risk and hazard management, IEC 60601 4th edition EMC, RoHS, WEEE and all things environmental related such as chemical content halogens. Also covered were Hazloc or hazardous location regulatory issues, mechanical safety issues and tests. Even the subject of cyber security, which is being discussed in so many forums, was covered. Here, the perspective was on safety such as ways products could be compromised or made unsafe by hacking, for example.

Several sessions were presented on regional safety and compliance standards in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Mexico, the Caribbean, China and Central America. These extended to labeling requirements for various global locations. Of course, standards of interest here in the U.S. were on the agenda. For instance, there was a session on the National Electrical code for Division 2 vs Zone 2 protection techniques.

Many talks are by subject area. Two of those of high interest were the ones on lightning protection techniques and hipot testing. Even more germane were the presentations on "Power Supply Safety Evaluation" and "Certification Challenges for Power Banks". But one of the most relevant and often discussed sessions concerned IEC 62368 compliance, which is the new standard for power supplies replacing IEC 60950, which has been with us for a long time. These are topics we routinely discuss and review in the PSMA Safety and Compliance committee. (For a full list of the presentations, see the ISPCE 2018 conference schedule here.)

One of the benefits of attending ISPCE is that you get to hear about these standards from the top experts in the field. By that I mean the people who are actually doing the work of getting products through compliance testing and into production and the representatives of the NRTLs (nationally recognized test laboratories) and related test equipment makers. With all of these standards and testing experts gathered in one place, you can get questions answered on the spot.

Broadly speaking, participating in a symposium like ISPCE is a means to preparing for compliance requirements and approaching them in a logical, planned way. Reflecting on what we have observed in industry, it always amazes us how little time or thought is given to compliance needs during product definition, development and design. So often these requirements do not receive proper consideration until one arrives in the compliance test lab where the customer is being charged $1000 an hour or more. At that point everyone becomes very open minded for discussion.

Some talks were very relevant to power electronics.
(Images courtesy of ISPCE)

Yet many of the costs and project delays associated with compliance lab crises could be avoided with just a modest investment in pre-compliance testing. Probably $2500 spent on a small pre-compliance area in a lab would pay for itself during the first use. Doing pre-compliance testing and gaining 90% confidence that a product will pass the first time in the expensive test lab would be well worth the upfront investment.

Unfortunately, there is often no time or resources allocated to these activities UNTIL there is an issue–then budget must and will be provided. This is a frequent topic of discussion at events like ISPCE where you'll hear the consultants and the labs say how thankful they are that companies are completely reactive when it comes to compliance and see no reason to change. This is also a source of humor for the compliance consultants who get called in for firefighting when money is no object.

At many companies, the status quo on compliance is unlikely to change. But if you can help your organization take a more proactive approach, it should ultimately pay dividends. Whether you are new to product safety and compliance, or an old hand—especially in the power electronics industry—attending ISPCE annually should be part of your pre-compliance preparation. I already have it on my calendar for next year.

The ISPCE exhibition features displays by an array of test agencies and test labs as well as test instrument manufacturers.
Look closely and you may spot some familiar power supply companies and the PSMA.


Kevin Parmenter, 
Director of Applications Engineering
Taiwan Semiconductor America

  Jim Spangler, President, Spangler Prototype Inc. (SPI)


Editor's Note: This article was first published in the July 2018 issue of  How2Power Today (www.how2power.com/newsletters).

EnABLES Launches its Transnational Access Programme for Powering the IoT
Posted: 2018-9-6

The EU H2020 EnABLES research infrastructure programme, co-ordinated by Tyndall, has just launched its Transnational Access (TA) programme, which offers free-of-charge access to equipment, tools and expertise related to 'powering the internet of things (IoT)'. The vision of EnABLES is to eliminate the need for battery replacement by developing energy harvesting solutions or by finding ways to significantly reduce the power consumption of devices. The TA programme gives academic and industry developers and integrators of IoT devices unique access to advanced research infrastructure based on the technology pillars of energy harvesting, energy storage, micro-power management and system integration.

The TA providers include Tyndall, CEA (Leti & Liten), Fraunhofer IMS, Fraunhofer IIS and imec the Netherlands. In addition, Virtual Access to databases of vibrational energy sources from real life applications is being offered by the University of Perugia and the University of Southampton. EnABLES also funds Joint Research Activities (JRAs) between the above mentioned partners along with Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Politecnico Di Torino and University of Bologna. It is envisaged that the Joint Research Activities  will lead to future Transnational Access programme offerings.

The access activities can be undertaken in many ways; ranging from characterizing material or devices to carrying out physical or simulated feasibility studies to see if 'battery life' in IoT devices can be prolonged. The potential impact of EnABLES is vast – it is forecast that the world will have 1 trillion IoT devices by 2025 most of which will require an embedded self-contained power source.

The access process is very simple, examples of offerings can be viewed on the EnABLES website and an online enquiry form is available at www.enables-project.eu. All outputs from the EnABLES TA and VA activities will be openly available as part of the aim of EnABLES to build a collaborative ecosystem that creates miniaturized and autonomous sensors. The EnABLES program already brings together a consortium of 130 'powering IoT' researchers giving them access to over €2Bn worth of research infrastructure.

We welcome you to go onto the EnABLES website and subscribe for newsletters, updates and info on other relevant events and activities (http://www.enables-project.eu/contact/signup/).

Provided by Mike Hayes, EnABLES Coordinator

Looking Back at PCIM2018 and Forward to PCIM2019
Posted: 2018-9-5

Over the course of the PCIM Europe 2018, 506 exhibitors from 27 countries presented components and other products from every area of application in power electronics.

A total of 11,602 trade visitors took in the innovations and trends that will be driving their business in the future. At the conference held alongside the exhibition, more than 800 participants learned more about the latest developments and research findings from the realms of science and industry in over 300 talks and poster presentations.

PCIM Europe 2019 will be held from May 5-7 in Nuremberg, Germany. For more information, please go to https://pcim.mesago.com/events/en.html

Paul O'Shea and Greg Evans at the PSMA booth

Lincoln International's Solar Energy Stock Index: Q2 2018
Posted: 2018-9-1

Lincoln International is pleased to present you with the latest Solar Energy Stock Index from our Global Energy, Power & Infrastructure Group. Topics covered in this issue include:

  • Quarterly performance of the Solar Energy Stock Index versus the S&P Index
  • Relative market valuations of each Solar Energy sector
  • Current financial data for each company in the index
(870k pdf)

This data is included with the permission of Lincoln International. For more information, you may contact John McManus (jmcman@optonline.net) or the Association Office.


Lincoln International's Solar Energy DealReader: Q2 2018
Posted: 2018-9-1

Lincoln International is pleased to present you with the latest Solar Energy DealReader from our Renewable Energy Team. Topics covered in this issue include:

  • Q2 2018 Deal Volume Comparison
  • Recent Solar Energy Transaction Announcements
  • Margin Performance in the Solar Energy Industry
(685k pdf)

This data is included with the permission of Lincoln International. For more information, you may contact John McManus (jmcman@optonline.net) or the Association Office.


Lincoln International's EMS Stock Index: Q2 2018
Posted: 2018-9-1

Lincoln International is pleased to present you with the latest EMS Stock Index from our Global Electronics Sector. This will provide you with:

  • Quarterly performance of the EMS Stock Index versus the S&P Index
  • Relative market valuations of each EMS sector
  • Current financial data for each company in the index
(2.1M pdf)

This data is included with the permission of Lincoln International. For more information, you may contact John McManus (jmcman@optonline.net) or the Association Office.


Lincoln International's EMS DealReader: Q2 2018
Posted: 2018-9-1


Lincoln International is pleased to present you with the latest EMS DealReader from our Global Electronics Industry Group. This will provide you with:

  • Q2 2018 deal volume comparison by total transactions, deal type, geography and size
  • Recent EMS transaction announcements
  • Margin performance in the EMS industry 
(2.2MB pdf)

This data is included with the permission of Lincoln International. For more information, you may contact John McManus (jmcman@optonline.net) or the Association Office.


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




ON Semiconductor Collaborates With Optimal Plus for Data Analytic-Driven Visibility into Manufacturing Operations
Posted: 2018-8-28

ON Semiconductor is collaborating with Optimal Plus to gather, analyze and build actionable insights out of the company's manufacturing data. As a leading supplier to the automotive industry, ON Semiconductor is pioneering innovative technologies that enable all aspects of automated driving and vehicle electrification. The company is also committed to developing the semiconductor technology capable of supporting the rigors of IoT and empowering businesses to capitalize on their investments to drive profitability and ultimately success.

Following an initial pilot project that demonstrated new levels of control and visibility into the company's manufacturing operations, ON Semiconductor and Optimal Plus will further leverage their solutions to connect the ON Semiconductor global manufacturing footprint as demand continues to grow for the company's complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) and charge-coupled device (CCD) image sensors and other technologies that are powering disruptive applications in strategic growth markets.

"Demand for power products for automotive applications continues to grow. With an expansive portfolio for power and automotive applications, we continue to see strong growth in our power related revenue for automotive applications," said Mark Goranson, ON Semiconductor senior vice president manufacturing. "With a broad range of power products for a complete spectrum of voltages starting from low voltage to high voltage, we also have one of the most comprehensive portfolios of power devices and modules. Partnering with Optimal Plus is a key element to enable the shift from detect to predict and eventually prevent."

"The Intelligent Sensing Group within ON Semiconductor is innovating vision beyond the human eye and holds imaging and technology leadership in automotive, space, industrial and medical mission-critical market segments," said Mitch Mooney, general manager of ON Semiconductor Nampa, Idaho operations. "Optimal Plus provides advanced analytics with real-time visibility of our test operations through their leading-edge software that enables big data analysis of all our test parameters. We expect significant benefits in capital efficiency, yield enhancements and quality improvements."

ON Semiconductor is deploying Optimal Plus solutions to provide increased visibility into their manufacturing processes, from e-test to wafer sort, and final test including communication between geographically-dispersed semiconductor teams. The solution includes deep, multi-stage product analytics for near real-time response capabilities. A core element of the deployment will be enabling ON Semiconductor to lower their Defective Parts Per Million (DPPM) rates to the single digit range.

"The Optimal Plus platform was designed to deliver the actionable insights that ON Semiconductor requires to intelligently adapt operations to increase product yield, quality and productivity," said Dan Glotter, Optimal Plus Founder and CEO. "Together, ON Semiconductor and Optimal Plus are demonstrating how operations optimization is keeping manufacturers ahead of an increased adoption of Industrial IoT, electric vehicles, machine vision and other disruptive applications in automotive and industrial end markets."

For more information, visit www.onsemi.com.

Powerbox presents flexible and adaptable Enhanced Rail Power Solutions at Innotrans 2018
Posted: 2018-8-23

The Powerbox Group, one of Europe’s largest power supply companies and a leading force in optimizing power solutions for demanding applications, has announced that it will be showcasing its PRBX Enhanced Rail Power Solutions (PRBX-ERPS) at Innotrans 2018 in Berlin, 18 – 21 September 2018, Hall 17, Booth 103. From low power board-mounted DC/DC converters up to fully customized power solutions delivering multi-kilowatts, PRBX-ERPS is one of the most flexible and adaptable power solutions for railway applications. Designed to reduce time to market and meet specific rail industry requirements, PRBX-ERPS building blocks and solutions are tailored to adjust performance and parameters quickly, reducing time to market for new equipment, time to modernization for renovation and refurbishing, and inventories and their associated costs. PRBX-ERPS flexibility is built on three pillars: board-mounted AC/DC and DC/DC solutions, modular solutions integrating modules, filters and collaterals, and DIN rail, cassettes and racks when the PRBX-ERPS adaptability relies on the extensive custom power solution library, which includes more than 3500 released projects.

As part of PRBX-ERPS, PRBX will present its latest series of advanced DC/DC converters that includes a range of 8 to 20W, board-mounted DC/DC units designed to meet railway specifications EN50155, EN50121-3-2, EN61373 and EN45545. With an impressive input voltage range of 13:1, and covering from 12 to 160V, the MAD33 (8W), MAD32 (10W), MAE35 (15W) and MAF35 (20W) are the Swiss army knife of power-systems designers, bringing simplicity to complex applications. A single part number is able to power a large range of transportation applications, reducing inventory and time to market. All products are manufactured using industry standard packaging and pinouts. The extra-wide series of DC/DC converters are suitable for low power loads and devices in railway applications such as communication devices, GSM-R phones and their docking stations, routers/Wi-Fi access points, small screens, USB charging sockets (both in-seat and driver’s cabin), sensors, and standby power for larger devices. The series is complemented by the 4:1 series of DC/DC converters delivering up to 600W with paralleling capability for extra power.

At its booth Powerbox will present a series of products and solutions designed for adaptability when customers are facing the challenging demands of refurbishing, modernization and/or upgrades. In such applications Powerbox is able to call on its extensive knowledge base that with more than 3,500 custom solutions delivered to market, represents a huge depth of knowledge forged in an industry in which it has excelled for more than 40 years.

Powerbox will also be sharing the latest company news regarding the acquisition of the Powerbox Group by the leading Japanese power supplies manufacturer COSEL and the benefits of joint forces and a combined offering.

Meet Powerbox at Innotrans 2018 in Berlin, 18 – 21 September 2018, Hall 17, Booth 103

CUI Partners with SnapEDA to Offer Free PCB Footprint Files
Posted: 2018-6-27

CUI today announced that it has teamed up with SnapEDA, the market-leading parts library for circuit board design, to provide designers with a catalog of free, ready-to-download PCB footprints and symbols for CUI’s range of board mount electromechanical components.

Circuit board design has historically been a time-consuming and challenging process due to the variety of product configurations and standards. With this partnership, users will be able to prevent footprint errors and design smarter, thanks to a library of verified PCB footprints and symbols readily available in all major CAD formats, including: Altium, Eagle, KiCad, OrCAD/Allegro, PADS/DxDesigner, and PCB123.

The files are free to download from CUI’s CAD model library and product pages, or via the SnapEDA website, where they can then be placed directly into a product’s design.

“This partnership with SnapEDA is a continuation of CUI’s mission to equip our customers with necessary design tools and resources at every stage of the product development cycle,” said Jeff Schnabel, CUI’s VP of Global Marketing. “The addition of these PCB footprint files bolsters CUI’s already extensive catalog of ready-made 3D models, further streamlining the design process for engineers,” Schnabel concluded.

“We are committed to building the industry’s largest, verified library of component models. Adding CUI and their broad portfolio of board level components to our catalog supplies yet another source from which engineers can gather PCB files for seamless integration into their designs,” stated Natasha Baker, CEO of SnapEDA.

A Power Supply Can't Fix All EMC Woes, Yet Partnering with the Right Power Supply Experts Early Can
Posted: 2018-6-7

About 30 years ago I attended a key supplier conference for a very large OEM for which I was the FAE assigned to the account. One of the activities at this conference involved an exercise conducted by a consultant. The consultant split the attendees into small groups and gave them all the assignment of getting a house painted. The groups would need to determine all requirements and considerations associated with painting a house. But there was a catch: One half of the groups would do so while planning to paint the house themselves. But the other groups would outsource the task to a painter or painting company.

After 30 minutes or so we compared our lists. The teams which presented on painting the house ourselves had much shorter lists of requirements which were not overly demanding. For example, if we spilled some paint, "we would just wait till the grass or bushes regrew and cut the paint splattered part out". On the other hand, the groups that "outsourced" the painting had much stiffer requirements such as "if paint is spilled or gets on the bushes, the painter must re-sod and replace the bushes at the painter's expense, no questions asked."  

This exercise taught a simple lesson: if you do a job yourself the expectations will be a lot lower than if you outsource it.

Now, fast-forward to the present. For many companies in the electronics design and supply chain, the business has not changed much except that the margins everyone is making are much lower and the expectations are probably even higher. But does the lesson learned all those years ago still apply?  

Recently I was called by one of our customers who was failing EMC in the test lab. They were using one of our competitor's power supplies and we had been talking with them about using ours because of its superior value and performance. It was hard to ascertain if our pitch was falling on deaf ears or not.

Fig. 1. A product failing EMC testing. When this happened to one of my prospective customers,
they assumed that the power supply was at fault and tried swapping power supplies to no avail.

But now, with their product failing compliance testing, suddenly we were important to them as evidenced by them calling me after hours. The discussion went something like "does your power supply have lower EMC than the one I'm now using?" Of course they were talking about radiated EMC as I already had helped them with selecting a line filter, which was sufficient to make sure either power supply would pass conducted EMC. With their product in the test lab there was real urgency as—chah–ching, chah–ching—the money meter was running with the test lab charging them by the hour as the customer tried to get their product to pass EMC (Fig. 1).

I mentioned that I was going to be in their area the very next week and I offered to work with them in the test lab. When I arrived at the designated time, this would-be customer showed me what they had done thus far. Their product was in an RF anechoic chamber like the one shown in Fig. 2. They took the covers off and showed me the product and power supply location. Our competitor's product was buried inside the device with little shielding or attention to wire dress or filtering. Meanwhile our power supply was on the bench with an IEC cord feeding it ac from an outlet and twisted pair wires connecting the power supply's outputs to the product's electrical connections.

As I surveyed the scene, they asked "if your power supply can't pass, can you recommend one that will?" Like a gambler playing a slot machine, they were more than happy to keep pulling the power supply "handle" in hopes a better power supply would pay off and make them a compliance winner.  They thought it's like picking resistors off a catalog distributor's website or something similar.

However, both power supplies were running and every test was failing. I knew from experience that neither power supply was probably having much of an effect. The rails in the product were 12 V and 24 V at about 1 kW total.

With those voltages in mind, I advised the customer to go to the auto parts store and buy a couple of car batteries. They could then run shielded cables from the batteries into their product's chassis to power it, and re-run all the tests from the 12 and 24 V dc. Batteries after all, produce no EMI. So can we agree at that point power supplies would have nothing to do with the test? They agreed and set the test up.

As I expected, they failed radiated emissions again with very little change in the emission profile. Whoops! The customer realized it was the house they painted themselves, so what now? "Oh, we will just get the CE mark and ship it out to beta customers," they decided, bypassing the requirement for an EMC test lab certification. And the unspoken parting message to me was "when I need more free consulting work without actually using any of your products, we will call you again."

Besides confirming that the painting-the-house lesson still holds true, this story also has a moral: The power supply does not cause all radiated emissions problems in the end product. But the customer will call the power supply company anyway because it's easy to blame the problem on what they think is the noisiest part of the system.

Fig. 2. An example of an RF anechoic chamber used for radiated EMC testing. (Photo courtesy of NST)

What Did We Learn?

Several mistakes were made by the customer in the above story:

1. EMC was an afterthought—if they had called me earlier we would have had more options and fixed it properly.

2. The power supply selection, particularly the choice of the power supply vendor, was given as much consideration as the selection of paper towels and the power towel maker, for the towels used in the company restrooms. They thought the power supply was just another commodity item—it's all generic. So when a problem that might be power supply related occurred, they just kept trying anything and everything in the hopes that something would work.

3. They waited until the end of the process to test the product for EMC with no pre-compliance testing. 

4. They didn't build a relationship with the power supply company or bother to select one that actually has field applications staff that can come and help. They waited until they had an emergency and when no support was available from the default supplier they asked us for help. Their alternatives would have been to suffer in silence or deal with phone support from a far off land.

5. They didn't design for EMC all during the design process from concept to finish. 

6. They thought that a power supply is always the main culprit in radiated emissions regardless of its integration in the end product with no consideration of their system impact or how the power supply is integrated in the system.

7. They kicked the compliance can down the road for later. CE won't accept other EMC approvals and other EMC agencies won't accept CE since all you have to do is pay a CE consultant to pass. This problem will surface another day. Probably when time to market is critical.

I offered to help the customer with a re-design of their product so they would pass EMC. I also mentioned that, in general, it's best to pick a power supply up front and then work closely with the supplier on the design of the product's I/O to the power supply, system design, filtering and such so that the test lab experience will be a good one.

Power supply selection is much more important than most engineers realize. It's not just picking a part from the Internet. It's a system selection and partnership commitment. Beyond that, power electronics is a partnership relationship. It's a collaborative commitment to making sure your product passes all safety, compliance and regulatory testing on the first pass.

Reference: "When Invaluable Kills Business" by Frederic Leens, 12-11-2017.

Kevin Parmenter, Vice President of Applications Engineering in the U.S.A., Excelsys, an Advanced Energy company





Jim Spangler, President, Spangler Prototype Inc. (SPI)







Editor's Note: This article was first published in the January 2018 issue of  How2Power Today (www.how2power.com/newsletters).

PSMA Magnetics Committee and IEEE PELS High Frequency Magnetics Workshop
Posted: 2018-6-7

Power Magnetics @ High Frequency
Eliminating the Smoke and Mirrors
Date: Saturday March 3, 2018
San Antonio, Texas

The "Power Magnetics @ High Frequency – Eliminating the Smoke and Mirrors" workshop sponsored by the PSMA Magnetics Committee and IEEE PELS was held on the day before APEC 2018, Saturday March 3, 2018 from 7:00 AM thru 6:00 PM in San Antonio Texas.

This third workshop continued the traditional of the first two magnetics workshops in 2016 and 2017 by bringing together experts from all aspects of the magnetics industry research and academic organizations, world renowned consultants and the everyday heroes of magnetics design who are responsible for commercializing magnetic products on a regular basis. The number of workshop attendees increased to 160 with about 85% of the attendees from industry and 15% of the attendees from academia/research. The agenda of the workshop included panel discussions and technology demonstrations to supplement traditional lecture type presentations which led to high energy dialogue between the attendees and the invited experts throughout the workshop.

The purpose and the focus of the workshop was:

  • identify the latest improvements in areas of magnetic materials, coil (winding) design, construction and fabrication,
  • identify, discuss and demonstrate evaluation and characterization techniques as well as modelling and simulation tools needed to meet the technical expectations and requirements for power magnetics operating at higher frequencies
  • identify and discuss the technical expectations and requirements of higher application frequencies and emerging topologies that are being driven by continuous advances in circuits topologies, semi-conductor devices driven by new market applications.

Many thanks to the invited presenters and panelists who included Dr. Charles Sullivan (Dartmouth), Stefan Ehrlich (Fraunhofer Institute), Marek Rylko (SMA Magnetics), Ed Herbert (PSMA), Byron Beddingfield (North Carolina State University), Dr Ray Ridley (Ridley Engineering), Dominik Neumayr ( ETH), Michael Baumann (Sumida), Michael Seeman (Eta One Power), George Slama (Wurth Elektronik), Bruce Carsten (PEAK), Jenna Pollock, J. C. Sun (Bs&T Technologies), Martin Gruebl (Sumida), Doug Malcolm (Sumida), Ryu Nagahama (IWATSU), Marcin Kacki (SMA Magnetics), Chris Oliver (Micrometals), Chuck Wild (Dexter Magnetics), John Lynch (Fair Rite), Kyle Jensen (Rubadue), Dr. Sadhab Ganda (EPCOS), Philip Laurer (EPCOS) and Brad Van Fleet (Magnetics).

Based on post workshop discussions, the next High Frequency Magnetics workshop in the series will be held the Saturday before APEC2019. This fourth workshop will be in conjunction with APEC 2019 in Anaheim California. A survey of attendees is in process to identify the theme, specific topics and presenters for the next workshop will continue to drive efforts to improve the characterization and specification of magnetic materials and magnetic cores to support the power electronics industry and to identify efforts that will move the industry forward in terms of magnetic material and magnetic structure development.

Anyone interested in participating as a presenter or as part of the technology demonstration session during the 2019 worksop in Anaheim California should contact the PSMA office (power@psma.com). We are looking forward to the fourth workshop and driving the industry forward to meet the expectations of the workshop attendees.

Organizing Committee
Khurram Afridi, University of Colorado Boulder
Ali Bazzi, University of Connecticut
Steve Carlsen, Raytheon Systems Company
Ed Herbert , PSMA
Laili Wang, Xi'an Jiaotong University
Rodney Rogers, Allstar Magnetics
Fred Weber, Future Technology Worldwide
Chuck Wild, Dexter Magnetic Technologies Inc.
Matt Wilkowski, Intel


PSMA Capacitor Committee and IEEE PELS Capacitor Workshop:
Posted: 2018-6-7
Everything You Wanted to Know About Capacitors But Were Afraid to Ask

On Saturday, March 3, 2018, the day before the start of, and in the same venue as APEC 2018 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX , The Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) and the IEEE Power Electronics Society (IEEE PELS) jointly sponsored an all-day workshop titled "Everything You Wanted to Know About Capacitors But Were Afraid to Ask".

The workshop addressed the fundamentals of capacitor technology, as applied to a wide range of power conversion applications, including dc-dc converters, variable frequency drives and inverters. The primary technologies discussed were: Ceramic, Electrolytic Caps (Aluminum), Dry Film, and Super Caps which were broken into Low Voltage, High Voltage, and Failure Modes considerations. There was an interactive panel discussions following each topic. In addition, there were presentations discussing new capacitor technologies, a discussion on reliability testing, and Embedded Capacitors. During the breakfast, lunch and post event networking sessions, all attendees were able to participate and review the demonstrations for not only the Capacitor Workshop, but also the Magnetics Workshop.

The PSMA Capacitor Committee is currently working on the technical agenda for next year's workshop to be held prior to APEC2019in Anaheim, CA. Possible topics include covering other technologies (i.e. Tantalums), more focus on application discussions, and emerging technologies. Your inputs and opinions are certainly welcome at this early stage of planning. If you are interested in participating in the planning and demonstrations for 2019 Capacitor Workshop, contact the Association Office at power@psma.com.

Organizing Committee

Fred Weber, Future Technology Worldwide
Pierre Lohrber, Wurth Electronics
Wilmer Companioni, KEMET Electronics

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




Seasonic’s New High Efficiency 1.6 kW Platform for Broad Power Supply Portfolio Use Built with Transphorm GaN
Posted: 2018-6-5
Platform to Bring 99 Percent PFC Efficiency to Battery Chargers as well as Catalog PC, Server and Gaming Power Supplies

Transphorm Inc.— the leader in the design and manufacturing of the highest reliability and first JEDEC- and AEC-Q101 qualified gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors—today announced that Seasonic Electronics Co. uses Transphorm’s high voltage (HV) GaN FETs in its new 1600 Watt (W) bridgeless totem-pole power factor correction (PFC) platform: the 1600T. The 1600T is the power supply manufacturer’s highest performing PFC platform to date at greater than 99 percent efficiency. Notably, the introduction of GaN delivers a two percent efficiency increase and 20 percent power density increase over Seasonic’s previous Silicon-based platform.

The 1600T platform will be scaled and deployed in various catalog products targeting the Charger (e-scooters, industrial, etc.), Gaming, Server, and PC power markets.

“When researching semiconductor technologies that would enable us to reach world-leading efficiency levels, gallium nitride stood out as an attractive alternative to Silicon,” said Paul Lin, Director of Research and Development, Seasonic. “We knew the bridgeless totem-pole PFC was the topology we would use in our first high voltage GaN power platform. So, we needed power semiconductors capable of successfully capitalizing on that topology. What’s more, we wanted a GaN solution that could be backed by our standard warranty. We ultimately opted for Transphorm’s FETs within the 1600T given their proven performance and reliability that allowed us to meet those requirements.”

Designing with Confidence: Transphorm Q+R
The 1600T platform employs Transphorm’s TP65H035WS device, a 650 V GaN FET with an RDS(on) of 35 mΩ in a standard TO-247 package. The transistor achieves increased efficiency in hard-and soft-switched circuits, providing power systems engineers options when designing products. Further, the TP65H035WS pairs with commonly-used gate drivers to simplify designs while controlling costs.

Transphorm prioritizes quality and reliability (Q+R) when developing its GaN platforms and FETs. An outcrop of that prioritization is increased safety for designers; Transphorm GaN typically delivers greater headroom and noise immunity when compared to other available GaN FETs. The TP65H035WS’ typical gate threshold is 4 V with a maximum gate voltage of ±20 V.

Beyond the technology itself, Transphorm offers in-depth field application support and hands on training given GaN’s relative newness in high voltage applications. Seasonic leveraged the semiconductor company’s experts to strengthen the design itself while quickening time to market.

For example, guidance provided helped Seasonic’s team ramp on use of a simple, low-cost digital signal processor (DSP) to control the totem-pole PFC. Transphorm also aided in the platform’s component selection and system layout, ensuring optimal GaN performance. Ultimately, the co-development directly impacted Seasonic’s ability to drive up thermal efficiency while increasing power output—generating a HV GaN platform capable of delivering on Seasonic’s vision.

Meet Your Directors
Posted: 2018-6-2


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.

At the PSMA Annual Meeting in March 2018, Mike Hayes and Kevin Parmenter were elected to their second terms and new board members Alexander Gerfer and Tim McDonald were elected. In this issue we would like to introduce you to Alexander and Tim.

Alexander Gerfer is Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer of Würth Elektronik eiSos group, one of Europe's largest manufacturers of electronic and electromechanical components, with it´s base in Waldenburg, Munich and Berlin.

Already at the age of 15 he repaired and built electronic devices. As a result, he completed an apprenticeship as a radio/television technician and gained extensive professional experience in R&D and production of precision measuring devices. He graduated from the engineering school of communications engineering at the Rheinische Akademie Köln and studied electrical engineer (FH) at the Rheinische Fachhochschule.

He also gained years of professional experience in sales at the company RS Components and in product management at the distributor Schukat Elektronik. Alexander Gerfer has been part of the Würth Elektronik eiSos group since 1997; since 2000 he has been responsible for product management, quality, research and development.

He shares his knowledge in countless specialist seminars on inductors and EMC components, EMC and circuit technology. He is the author of many professional contributions and publications in the field of consumer electronics, application notes and the book "Trilogy of inductors", as well as co-author of various books such as the "Trilogy of Connectors". Numerous patents bear his name. Alexander Gerfer also travels internationally as a sought-after key speaker and as a promoter of innovative startups.

Provided by Alexander Gerfer, Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Würth Elektronik eiSos GmbH & Co. KG


Tim McDonald is currently Consulting Advisor for Infineon's CoolGaNTM program.  Formerly Tim served there as Senior Director, GaN Technology Development, worldwide Applications and Marketing where he was responsible for defining applications and bringing to market  Infineon's  GaN on Silicon devices. Tim currently serves as Chair of   the JEDEC JC70.1  subcommittee on standards for reliability qualification, test methods and datasheet parametrics   for  (GaN) widebandgap power conversion devices  and is committee Vice Chair for JC-70 (which also covers Silicon Carbide device standards).  He is co-chair of PSMA's semiconductor committee where he has served for 2 years.


Previously, Tim was Vice President of device engineering and product development for International Rectifier's GaNpowIR™ Technology Development team where he was responsible for  successfully developing and marketing GaN on Silicon devices into consumer high volume applications.   Before that he served as Vice President of IR's  iPOWIR™  Power Stage Business Unit where he defined and developed integrated DC-DC power conversion solutions with benchmark efficiency and power density for application in netcom, servers, mobile computing and game stations.

Tim has over 35 years of diversified experience in power conversion/management and has held positions in device engineering management, product and market development, product engineering, device characterization, test platform development and operations. He  holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the University of California at Los Angeles.

As a member of the PSMA board of directors and co-chair of the PSMA Semiconcuctor Technical Committee, Tim would like to ensure continued strong leadership while PSMA  plays a vital, growing and active role as the industry rides its next growth phase (driven by adoption of  wide bandgap technology).

Provided by Tim McDonald, Consulting Advisor for the CoolGaNTM Program, Infineon Technologies


PSMA Announces New Officers and Board of Directors
Posted: 2018-4-26
Twelve-member board brings together industry leadership and expertise covering the dynamic technological advances impacting the power sources industry

The Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) is pleased to announce that a new slate of officers has been elected to lead its board of directors for the 2018-2020 term. The new officers are: Chairman Stephen Oliver (Navitas Semiconductor), President Mike Hayes (Tyndall National Institute), Vice President Fred Weber (Future Technology Worldwide) and Secretary/Treasurer Michel Grenon (Gaia Converter Inc.).

“PSMA continues to drive the promotion of the tremendous technical advances being made in power conversion systems, products and component technologies,” said Stephen Oliver, PSMA’s new chairman. “The Association’s critical work in producing its Technology Roadmap—plus the influential work from the PSMA committees on Packaging, Energy Management, Energy Harvesting, and many others—relies on the active participation of our members. We welcome and encourage all companies in our industry to become part of the organization.”

The twelve members of the board are elected by the member company representatives to serve three-year terms, with four members rotating off each year. In addition to the new officers, the following members complete the PSMA’s strong board of directors for 2018-2019:

  • Alain Chapius, Bel Power Solutions
  • Dhaval Dalal, ON Semiconductor
  • Alexander Gerfer, Würth Elektronik
  • Tim McDonald, Infineon Technologies
  • Brian Narveson, Narveson Innovative Consulting
  • Kevin Parmenter, Excelsys Technologies, Ltd., an Advanced Energy Company
  • Conor Quinn, Artesyn Embedded Technologies
  • Brian Zahnstecher, PowerRox
2018 IEEE Symposium on Product Safety Engineering
Posted: 2018-2-20

The IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society hosts a premier symposium annually on all relevant topics for workers and innovators in the product safety area. Join us in San Jose for ISPCE 2018 for three days of technical sessions and exhibits!

The IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society seeks original and unpublished formal papers, presentations (without formal papers), workshops, and tutorials on all aspects of product safety and compliance engineering including, but not limited to:

  • Global Market Access & Regulations, Compliance Management
  • Global Hazardous Locations
  • EMC & Wireless Compliance
  • Environmental & Energy Regulations
  • Batteries & Energy Storage Systems
  • Medical Devices
  • Compliance 101
  • Hazard Based Safety
  • Engineering & Safety Science
  • Forensics, Failure & Risk Analysis, Assessment & Management
  • Legal, Regulations, Directives & Consumer Protection
  • Emerging Technologies & Innovations

Register now. Advanced Registration Rates end April 1.

Visit psessymposium.org for more information.

Will the Power Supply Industry Adopt the Cradle-to-Cradle Business Model?
Posted: 2017-12-31

Due to its very nature, the power supply industry has been on a never-ending quest searching for new technologies to improve energy efficiency, safety and miniaturization.  In doing so, an admirable pioneering spirit has developed and grown within the power community. Moving from the plated germanium rectifiers of the old days to the latest gallium nitride or silicon carbide technology, time and time again power designers have proven their ability to optimize efficient energy conversion while complying with ever more demanding regulations. Step by step - sometimes small ones, sometimes big – the industry has created power architectures that reduce energy consumption and in many cases has discovered technical solutions to supposedly 'unsolvable' problems.  Who twenty years ago would have believed that we could produce power supplies with such high levels of efficiency that also comply with very stringent environmental regulations? All those achievements are great but are they enough to address the growing demand from the market to reduce - even further - the environmental impact?

Risks under control

Technology has helped us to perform 'magic' but at the same time the world has changed and environmental challenges have become more complex and global, requiring all industries to reconsider their ways of working, particularly with a higher regard and responsibility for environmental and social issues.

This is the latest challenge that the power industry is now facing, and despite the fact that the technologies brought to the market have helped reduce CO2 emissions, companies' Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) policies aligned to international standards will require many adjustments in the way they are working. Not only that, but the issue of how their suppliers will comply with such environmental regulations and manage the related risks.

One example is the implementation of the global risk management ISO 31000 methodology.  This was initially developed for decision and policy makers within governments and large corporations in order to minimize exposure to risk and to secure business integrity for stockholders, and is now adopted by many companies such as those in the medical industry.
ISO 31000 is becoming an important tool, helping companies to develop their environmental strategy and gain better control of risk, both internal and external. ISO 31000 is defined as 'a process that provides confidence that planned objectives will be achieved within an acceptable degree of residual risk'.  Moving forwards, ISO 31000 will become an immense and increasingly important part of organizations.

Clearly, many power supply designers are used to dealing with risk management assessment (e.g. when designing a medical power supply to comply with the IEC 60601-1-3 Edition, or a power supply for demanding applications in other segments such as in gas and oil industry), though in coming years the demand from OEM customers on the power supply industry in term of risk management might become more global, including environmental impact and social responsibility down to a single supplier. That requires our industry to be prepared for new ways of working and even to consider revamping some of the business principles that we thought were engraved in stone!

Are we ready for that?

Medical drives trends!

Addressing a vast range of applications, from consumer to defense, the power supply industry has to comply with many standards and regulations.  Some of these, originally developed for a specific segment are now rapidly being adopted by other industries. Regulation in the medical industry is a good example where a number of parameters specified in the IEC 60601-1-3 and -4 have now been adopted by industrial project managers involved in 'Industry 4.0' (e.g. higher isolation, lower leakage current, reduced and in-control EMI and documented risk assessment).
Designing power supplies and complying with safety regulations is for sure a vital obligation, but designing a product for the environment (DfE) is just as important. Here again, the medical industry is setting the scene and according to a market study released in 2014 by Johnson & Johnson, more than 80 percent of the hospitals around the world are expected to incorporate sustainability into their purchasing decisions and for many to follow ISO 31000's risk assessment process - including their suppliers.

That considered, one way or another the power supply industry will have to comply with environmental requirements demanded by the medical industry, and by other industries formulating the same demands on their suppliers and partners.  Therefore it becomes very important for the power supply industry to adopt a way of working that includes environmental aspects at the very early stages of any project.

Designing for the environment has often been performed on a voluntary basis or used as a marketing/sales argument, though that is now changing. For many, a product with high efficiency and low standby power may seem to be DfE by nature, but that is not necessarily the case. DfE is much more than that and despite the existence of ISO 14062, the lack of a common definition or standard that is relevant to the electronics industry is making it difficult for customers and users to verify what is included under each company DfE definition and verification.

Being aware of the difficulties in assessing the different variables considered as part of DfE from their suppliers, the medical industry and regulatory bodies realized the need to define a standardized methodology that considers the overall life cycle, i.e. all stages, from the initial specification to end-of-life management.

Following several years preparation, in 2007 as collateral to the IEC 60601 the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) published the so-called 'dash one nine'; IEC 60601-1-9. The objective of IEC 60601-1-9 is to reduce the environmental impact of the entire range of medical electrical equipment (ME equipment), taking into account all stages of the product life cycle, namely product specification, design, manufacturing, sales, logistics, installation, commissioning, deployment, and end of life management. The fundamental principle of the IEC 60601-1-9 is to protect the environment and human health from hazardous substances, to preserve raw materials and energy, minimize the generation of waste, and minimize the adverse environmental impact associated with waste.

Without going into microscopic detail, the core requirements of IEC 60601-1-9 can be summarized as 'identification', 'instruction', and 'end-of-life management'. During this process, manufacturers will have to perform in accordance with existing processes (e.g. risk management performed in compliance with ISO 1497, life-cycle thinking, in line with ISO 14001 with particular emphasis on ISO 14062) and develop documentation demonstrating that all steps have been carried out with the highest consideration for the environment.

Since IEC 60601-1-9 was amended in 2013, the standard has been used to guide and help companies minimize products' and operational environmental impact and has been implemented on a voluntary basis.  However in 2014 the Brazil National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) took the lead, requiring that any medical electrical equipment sold into the country meets the standard by December 1, 2016 with special attention to three clauses: (4.1) Identification of Environmental Aspects, (4.5.2) Instructions for Minimizing Environmental Impact During Normal Use, and (4.5.3) Information for End of Life Management.
So Brazil is the first country to stipulate that medical electrical equipment formally complies with the standard, but other countries are also considering its implementation or national directives aimed at motivating medical equipment manufacturers to include parts of the standard to minimize impacts, and contribute to the development of a sustainable economy that preserves the environment.

Could the power industry adopt the cradle-to-cradle business model?

As engineers we enjoy challenges, solving problems, and to some extent we are used to breaking 'unbreakable' limits. The power supply history is awash with examples of 'that which will never be possible' eventually becoming a 'great innovation'. In terms of contributing to the environment, by permanently improving technical performance and reducing energy consumption, we have proven our ability to contribute to the reduction of environmental impact, but we can do more. Integrating the full life cycle stages and complying with standards such as ISO 60601-1-9 (or equivalent) are good, but looking forward can we rethink the way the power supply industry is working? Can we contribute even more to build a sustainable environment for future generations?

As part of an internal project, a group of engineers from different disciplines and companies were invited to project the complete life cycle of Powerbox's OFM225 power supply (Figure 1). The power supply had originally been designed for high efficiency and ease of manufacturing, and the group was asked to explore how, outside the established business model, could such a product/process not only have the lowest possible environmental impact, but also be able to optimize the positive impact (e.g. Supporting local economy).

Taking into consideration all aspects from initial design to end-of-life (and potential second life), the project followed the cradle-to-cradle (C2C) approach and identified areas to work on in order to minimize negative impacts and optimize positive ones (Figure 2).

For many it may seem an odd approach for a power supply company to consider revamping a conventional way of working to adopt such a model, but considering that C2C takes the whole lifecycle of an item into account, including sourcing and end-of-life disposal, it becomes synchronous with existing and forthcoming regulations, with customers, end-users and stakeholders expectations, and a way forward for the power supply industry to help create a better world.

Integrating the C2C five goals (Figure 3) at the beginning of a project will contribute to the development of power supplies with the lowest environmental impact while increasing the positive ones (e.g. selecting a components supplier engaged in sustainable development, working with CEM partners to reduce water consumption and to use renewable energies, designing products with end-of-life or second life in mind), contributing to make the power supply industry, not only able to provide products with best in class technology, but to contribute to local economies and the development of a new way of working, paving the way for future generations.

Recent climate and ecological events remind us daily of how fragile our environment is, and we all have to contribute to its protection. The cradle-to-cradle business model within the power industry may not be a utopia, but it will eventually become part of our daily way of working. So to the question: "Will the power supply industry adopt the cradle-to-cradle business model?" The answer is a resounding, "Yes!"

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




International Future Energy Challenge - A New Challenge
Posted: 2017-12-31

The Future Energy Challenge started in 2001 as a bi-annual competition in North America. Prof. Jason Lai from Virginia Tech organized this first competition. In 2003, the competition became an international event and was officially named the International Future Energy Challenge (IFEC). From 2003 to 2015, a total of 152 university teams had participated in IFEC. With more teams participating in the competition, the steering committee of IFEC decided to change the competition from a bi-annual event to an annual event starting in 2016.

In 2017, the competition was hosted by Prof. Qiang Li from the Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES) at Virginia Tech. Sponsors of the 2017 IFEC include IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS), IEEE Industry Applications Society (IAS), IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) and Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA). Combining 2016 and 2017, the number of IFEC participants are almost doubled from the past bi-annual competitions.

In 2017, the competition topic was high-Efficiency high-density isolated dc/dc converter. The converter needed to work with a dc input (360~400 V dc) and output a constant 12 V dc voltage with a peak power of 750 W. The targeted power density was 15 W/cm3 or higher with a peak efficiency requirement of 97% at 50% of the rated load. At the final onsite competition, the converter went through all functional tests, and a 55 oC high operation temperature test. Competition  teams  were  encouraged  to  adopt  WBG  power devices  in  innovative  circuit  topologies  to achieve high efficiency and high density at the same time.  Twenty-three teams from five continents joined the competition. The grand prize went to Kunming University of Science and Technology. You can see the full list of winners at energychallenge.weebly.com/ifec-2017.html.

The IFEC2018 call for proposals is already out. This time, the topic is high-efficiency high-density isolated bidirectional dc/dc converter for residential energy storage systems. The final competition will be hosted at the Tsinghua University in Beijing. Visit energychallenge.weebly.com/ifec-2018.html for more information. The IFEC2019 will be hosted at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  The topic will be electric bicycle with an emphasis on motor control.  IFEC, a new challenge awaits!

Provided by
IFEC 2017 Organizing Committee Members:
Qiang Li, Virginia Tech
Jin Wang, Ohio State University
Yaow-ming Chen, National Taiwan University


Posted: 2017-11-30

Transphorm Inc., the leader in the design and manufacturing of highest reliability (JEDEC and AEC-Q101 qualified) 650V gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors, announced it received a $15 million investment from Yaskawa Electric Corporation. This news comes only a few weeks after Yaskawa revealed its integrated Σ-7 F servo motor relies on Transphorm’s high-voltage (HV) GaN to deliver unprecedented performance and power density. Transphorm intends to allocate the funds to various areas of its GaN product development.

“We've seen the benefits of working with gallium nitride from the R&D phases through to the application development phases of our products, such as photovoltaic converters and the integrated Σ-7 F servo motor,” said Yukio Tsutsui, General Manager of Corporate R&D Center from Yaskawa. “We look ahead to further developments from Transphorm and its cutting-edge technology.”

The integrated  Σ-7 F products resulting from the companies’ co-development serves one of the core target markets that can benefit most from HV GaN: servo motors. The technology is also an optimal solution for automotive systems, data center and industrial power supplies, renewable energy and other broad industrial applications.

“Transphorm has consistently prioritized the quality and reliability of our GaN platform,” said Dr. Umesh Mishra, Chairman, CTO and co-founder of Transphorm. “That focus leads to strong customer relationships with visionaries such as Yaskawa and companies that not only innovate, but also influence market growth by demonstrating GaN’s real-world impact. Receiving Yaskawa’s recent support illustrates the rising confidence in GaN while underscoring its reliability.” 

iNEMI Names New Roadmap Manager
Posted: 2017-9-9
Linda Wilson has extensive experience in technology roadmapping and international collaboration

The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) announced that Linda Steele Wilson has been named Roadmap Manager for the consortium. She replaces Chuck Richardson, who has headed iNEMI’s roadmapping efforts since 2006. Chuck will continue working with iNEMI as a roadmap consultant.
“With her impressive experience in technology roadmaps, as well consortium-based activities, Linda is a very strong addition to our team,” said Bill Bader, iNEMI CEO. “The roadmap is a critical and unique deliverable for iNEMI, both in terms of setting direction for our own activities and for supporting the electronics manufacturing supply chain. We welcome Linda’s leadership in this area as we begin ramping up for our next roadmap cycle.

“We want to thank Chuck for the way he has helped the roadmap grow and evolve over the past 11 years. The 2017 Roadmap was our largest deliverable ever. He has done an absolutely marvelous job of leading the iNEMI roadmap and of wrapping up the 2017 Technical Plan and Research Priorities, which are part of our roadmapping process.”

Wilson served as program manager and managing editor of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) for more than 20 years. She was a critical part of the committee to transform the national roadmap effort into the first international industry roadmap.

In addition to her work with the ITRS, Wilson successfully led an initiative to produce the CIGS (copper indium gallium di-selenide) Photovoltaic Roadmap, working with the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC) and industry leaders. She most recently served as the program manager and team facilitator for a new roadmap initiative with BioPhorum Operations Group, a bio-pharmaceutical consortium, and serves as roadmap consultant for the IEEE roadmap initiatives for the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems (IRDS), and the 5G and Beyond roadmap efforts.

“I am delighted to be on the team of this historically important roadmap,” said Wilson. “The highly regarded iNEMI roadmap continually guides the development of a strong industry ecosystem from research to end-user applications. My role is clear in continuing the evolution of this roadmap and it is terrific to be part of the effort.  My thanks especially to Chuck both as a roadmap colleague through the years and as instrumental in developing this successful process I hope to serve.”

Richardson joined the iNEMI staff in 2001. He began working on the roadmap as staff manager, starting with the 2002 Roadmap, and took over the reins completely in 2006. During that time, the roadmap grew significantly in size and scope, and became an international effort providing a truly global perspective. The 2002 Roadmap featured 23 chapters and approximately 1,000 pages, while the most recent edition (2017) had 28 chapters, more than 2,300 pages, and included new chapters on topics such as Internet of Things, flexible hybrid electronics, and ceramic substrates and photovoltaic technology. Participation in the roadmap also grew. In 2002, there were 365 participants from 165 organization, most of which were domestic. More than 500 individuals from at least 22 countries, and representing more than 350 organizations helped create the 2017 Roadmap.

For additional information about iNEMI, visit www.inemi.org.

Announcing the Formation of the PSMA Reliability Committee
Posted: 2017-9-4

T he Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) is proud to announce the formation of a new Technology Committee - the Reliability Committee. The PSMA Reliability Committee was formed to identify key industry initiatives related to the reliability and performance of power supplies and associated products and will be Co-chaired by Tony O'Brien of Cisco Systems and Brian Zahnstecher of PowerRox.

The Committee held an inaugural meeting on Thursday August 10. The committee already has 10 members representing a mix of industry professionals including power supply vendors, OEMs/customers and semiconductor component vendors, ensuring broad coverage of issues that affect the whole power electronics industry. The first action of the Committee is to survey selected industry veterans to develop a prioritized list of the most pertinent initiatives related to reliability. The output of this survey will be combined with a focus on the robustness of software/firmware in digital power solutions and will determine the initial, tangible issues and direction for the Committee efforts.

If you are interested in having a direct hand in identifying and addressing key industry issues that plague developments, inhibit customer applications, delay schedules, increase costs, and drive field infant mortality rates, then please join us. Monthly meetings will be held via teleconference on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 11am Central Time, with the next scheduled call on September 13.

For more information and to join the membership list for the Reliability Committee , please contact the PSMA Association Office at power@psma.com.

About Our Members
Posted: 2017-9-2

ICF (NASDAQ:ICFI) is a global consulting and technology services provider with more than 5,000 professionals focused on making big things possible for our clients. We are business analysts, policy specialists, technologists, researchers, digital strategists, social scientists and creatives. Since 1969, government and commercial clients have worked with ICF to overcome their toughest challenges on issues that matter profoundly to their success. Come engage with us at icf.com.

We are an affiliate member of PSMA, forming a crucial link between the industry and government agencies focused on energy efficiency such the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Canada. We support these clients' decision-making through industry relationships and technical insight and have been the lead consultant to the EPA ENERGY STAR program for over 20 years.

In addition to government programs, we also support private-sector clients, including more than 75 Fortune 500 companies for whom we provide support ranging from technical expertise in sustainable materials management (SMM) or lifecycle assessment (LCA) to comprehensive services that drive integrated sustainability programs.

The hallmarks of ICF's approach are experience and integration.  We recognize the need for credible, current data, and for consistent life-cycle boundaries and assumptions.  Having designed and implemented a framework to convert information on life-cycle processes into GHG and energy factors that are consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change guidance, we are uniquely well-qualified to apply our expertise to solve problems and identify opportunities for emission reductions for other firms. We have developed life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions factors for more than 50 materials types and have examined the implications of emissions abatement during production and recycling among the international electronics industry.

Our team is equipped with in-house and commercial LCA tools, including SimaPro and openLCA software, and a license to the ecoinvent v3 database. We can further help with:

  • Environmental Performance Case Studies
  • Corporate Baseline Environmental Footprint Analysis
  • Facility Attribute and Activity Data for Sustainability Analyses
  • External Reporting support
  • Tracking Contributions to UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Climate Risk Assessment and Mitigation

At ICF, our corporate philosophy is simple: Hire the best people. Reward their creativity and entrepreneurship. Maintain the highest standards of integrity, ethics, and quality. And do this always with a clear focus on our clients' needs. Let us know how we can help with your toughest sustainability challenges—please contact Matt Malinowski, Technical Specialist, electronics energy efficiency at Matt.Malinowski@icf.com or 202-862-2693 Bobby Renz, Manager, climate, sustainability, and materials management, at Bobby.Renz@icf.com or 212-656-9216.

Provided by Matt Malinowski, Technical Specialist, ICF

Demonstrating core competence for more than 65 years and a proven reliable partner in the magnetics industry, Micrometals Inc. is an engineering driven company striving to exceed our customers' requirements for catalog or custom magnetic components.  Headquartered in Anaheim, California with two factories in the United States and two factories in China, Micrometals offers application engineering and technical support from North America and China as well as stocking warehouses located in Germany and Hong Kong.

Micrometals materials are organized into 4 product groups: Radio Frequency, Power Conversion, 200C Series™ High Temperature and MicroCubes.  Micrometals Alloy Powder Cores, formerly Arnold Powder Core Division of Arnold Magnetic Technology, are organized into 6 material groups: Sendust, Molypermalloy, FluxSan™, Hi-Flux™, Optilloy™ and the recently introduced SH High Frequency Sendust.

This new SH Material has high frequency losses that are one third that of traditional Sendust material. The lower loss of High Frequency Sendust will enable it to be used with switching frequencies up to about 5 MHz. This new material was developed to meet the demands of the Power Conversion Industry's move to the latest in GaN and SiC switching technologies.

Power Conversion Engineers are pushing switching frequencies higher in an effort to reduce cost, minimize size and increase device efficiency.  As a result, magnetic component design engineers are challenged to find materials that can operate at 1-20 MHz or higher.  The SH Sendust material or traditional carbonyl iron powder materials can be considered as an alternate option for MnZn ferrites which may have increased core loss and the gap losses at this higher frequency or NiZn ferrites for high cost and high hysteresis loss.  Sample core kits of both SH Sendust or high frequency iron powder materials are available by contacting the Micrometals sales department or local representative.

The wide variety of material choices can be daunting.  In order to assist the design engineer in the selection process Micrometals has introduced an on-line Inductor Design Software and Inductor Analyzer.  This engineering tool is FREE for registered users and is a web-based service that can be located at the Micrometals APC website (www.MicrometalsAPC.com).

The software part database includes standard catalog parts from both Micrometals and Micrometals Alloy Powder Cores.  Additionally, the user can create custom heights to precisely meet the customer application specifications.

The inductor design calculator accepts inputs for DC inductors or PFC chokes and generates core and winding suggestions based on user defined design parameters.

The design software outputs can be exported for further analysis or individual winding suggestions can be transferred to the Inductor Analyzer feature.  The Analyzer feature allows users to start with a wound core and customize or optimize to change number of turns, wire gauge or consider alternate materials or part sizes and immediately output electrical and dimension characteristics.

Micrometals will gladly extend engineering and design assistance to aid in your core selection.  Please direct application questions to Applications@Micrometals.com.  Additional information about high frequency magnetics and the inductor design software is available at our websites:  www.Micrometals.com, www.MicrometalsAPC.com

Questions about samples, price and availability of all products above can be directed to Sales@micrometals.com.

Provided by Joseph Barbeito, Director of Sales & Marketing, Micrometals, Inc.


PSMA's Power Technology Roadmap 2017
Posted: 2017-7-21
Will Power Empower the Electronics Industry?

The Power Sources Manufacturers' Association (PSMA) published its tenth and latest edition of  the Power Technology Roadmap (PTR 2017).  PSMA undertakes this project, where participants from respective fields analyze trends in key power supply parameters, applications, components and emerging technologies, once every two years. From its early days in 1994, when the first PSMA Power Technology Roadmap was released, it has gone through significant evolution in its scope and content. 

This edition of the Roadmap is a product of two-year effort involving 82 participants that includes online webinars, technical articles and online surveys that provided inputs for forecasting. The webinar topics are wide-ranging and all-encompassing, covering as many aspects of power supply technology as possible. Webinars in this edition of the Roadmap include wireless transfer, component technologies, passive devices, high frequency magnetics, isolation technologies and many others. The technical articles are very focused in their pre-defined subject matter and the online surveys are designed to gather information to project future trends in key parameters. Such a unique combination of subjects and scope prepared with the inputs of knowlegable participants from the industy, makes this report unique and highly comprehensive.

The Roadmap provides both a quantitative and a qualitative analysis of technology. While the online surveys are used to gather quantitative data, the qualitative analysis is provided by industry experts who have contributed to the report either by presenting a webinar or by writing an article on a specific topic.

At the core, the PTR provides a three-dimensional overview of three key aspects of power technology:

  • Trends in key metrics in following power supplies and converters:
    • Ac-dc front-end power supplies (200 W – 2000 W)
    • External ac-dc power supplies (10 W – 100 W)
    • Isolated dc-dc converters (100 W, regulated)
    • Non-isolated dc-dc converters (subdivided into the standard non-isolated dc-dc and power supply in a package (PSiP) converters)

These products were selected because they are widely used in the industry. The same products were used in the past, thus making a comparative analysis easy. The key metrics used for trend analysis include efficiency, cost, power density and reliability. With 2016 as the base year, the projections were done for 2019 and 2021. In addition, the report provides some retrospective analysis that checks past forecasts, to see if they were accurate or inaccurate. This analysis will be used to make any future adjustments.

  • Component technology that includes, power semiconductors, ICs and magnetic materials  
  • Applications trends and emerging Technologies:

Application trends are included for automotive, computing, consumer, lighting, medical, motor control, battery changing and energy harvesting. The emerging technologies are associated with magnetics, integrated magnetics, 3D power packaging, additive manufacturing and nanofluids.

The Roadmap is an important report that can provide companies with information about various technologies, data for benchmarking their current products and technology trends for strategic planning.

The organizers for the 2017 PSMA Power Technology Roadmap have made an interesting argument that the Roadmap is designed to "Empower the Electronics Industry". It is stated in the title of the report. At first glance, the concept that power supply technology will empower the electronics industry seems like wishful thinking or even preposterous, but it should not be rejected out of hand. Dr. Conor Quinn, Co-Chair of the organizing committee gave a plenary presentation at APEC 2017 in Tampa that focused on this stream of thought.

Dr. Quinn stated, that in the past the power supply industry was technology-responsive to all established and traditional markets such as consumer, computers and networking. Companies or industries engaged in these markets did not much care about the development of power supplies as these markets designed their own products and then purchased a power supply as an afterthought to fulfill their specific needs. However, this may not be the case in the development of emerging new markets including automotive, solar inverters, variable frequency drives and LEDs. These markets are power-technology driven markets. Power is not a secondary after-thought, but is central to the development of these markets. Many new applications are power-centric as alternative energy and efficient use of energy takes center stage in the development of future markets. For companies participating in such new products, knowledge of the power supply technology and its evolution will be essential for their successful development. The new 2017 Power Technology Roadmap will provide that information, knowledge and insight. It is designed to empower the electronics industry.



Provided by Mohan Mankikar,
President, Micro-Tech Consultants



PSMA Magnetics Committee Magnetics Workshop
Posted: 2017-7-12

Power Magnetics @ High Frequency- Transforming the Black Magic to Engineering
Date: Saturday March 25 2017
APEC 2017 Tampa Florida

The "Power Magnetics @ High Frequency – Transforming the Black Magic to Engineering" workshop sponsored by the PSMA Magnetics Committee and IEEE PELS was held on the day before APEC 2017, Saturday March 25, 2017 from 7:00 AM thru 6:00 PM in Tampa Florida.

This second workshop continued the tradition of the inaugural workshop by bringing together experts from all aspects of the magnetics industry, from research and academic organizations, world renowned consultants and the everyday heroes of magnetics design who are responsible for commercializing magnetic products on a regular basis. The number of workshop attendees increased to over 150 with about 85% of the attendees from industry and 15% of the attendees from academia/research. The agenda of the workshop included panel discussions and technology demonstrations to supplement invited lecture type presentations which led to high energy dialogue between the attendees and the invited experts throughout the workshop.

The purpose and the focus of the workshop was to

  • identify the latest improvements in areas of magnetic materials, coil (winding) design, construction and fabrication, 
  • identify, discuss and demonstrate evaluation and characterization techniques as well as modelling and simulation tools needed to meet the technical expectations and requirements for power magnetics operating at higher frequencies
  • identify and discuss the technical expectations and requirements of higher application frequencies and emerging topologies that are being driven by continuous advances in circuits topologies, semi-conductor devices driven by new market applications.

Many thanks to the invited presenters and panelists who included Dr. Johann Kolar (ETH), Donna Kepcia (Magnetics), Dr Ray Ridley (Ridley Engineering), Dr. Charles Sullivan (Dartmouth), Bruce Carsten, Zoran Pavlovic (Tyndall), Ed Herbert (PSMA), Chuck Wild (Dexter Magnetics), J. C. Sun (Bs&T Technologies), Andreas Muesing (Gecko-Simulations), Rodney Rogers (Allstar Magnetics), Ryu Nagahama (IWATSU), Lorandt Foelkel (Wurth Elektronik), Chris Oliver (Micrometals), Dr. Bernard Michuad (EPCOS), Jan Simecek (EPCOS), Laili Wang (Xi'an Jiaotong University), John Lynch (Fair Rite Products).Based on post workshop survey results, the High Frequency Magnetics workshop series will continue to be held the Saturday before APEC. The third workshop will be in conjunction with APEC 2018 in San Antonio Texas. To increase the interactions during the third workshop, an increased emphasis on the technology demonstration sessions will be pursued to increase the "hands on" and "how to" dialogue. The third workshop will also continue to drive efforts to improve the characterization and specification of magnetic materials and magnetic cores to support the power electronics industry, addresses technical issues such as fringing as well as identify efforts to move the industry forward in terms of magnetic material and magnetic structure development.

Anyone interested in participating as a presenter as part of the technology demonstration session during the next workshop planned for March 3, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas should contact Matt Wilkowski (matt.wilkowski@intel.com). We are looking forward to the third workshop and driving the industry forward to meet the expectations of the workshop attendees.

Organizing Committee 
Steve Carlsen Raytheon
Ed Herbert Independent Inventor
Rodney Rogers Allstar Magnetics
Chuck Wild Dexter Magnetics
Fred Weber Future Technology Worldwide
Matt Wilkowski Intel

International Workshop on Integrated Power Packaging (IWIPP) 2017
Posted: 2017-7-2

The 2017 International Workshop on Integrated Power Packaging (IWIPP), which was held at the Technical University of Delft from April 5-7, was a great event focused on upcoming developments in packaging from the device to the system, with 80 total attendees across industry, research, and academic institutions in the fields of power packaging and system design. This year's attendees were exposed to three days of inter-disciplinary technical content focused on the enhanced understanding of the major issues within the power packaging industry. On both Wednesday and Thursday morning, the conference agenda was opened with curated tutorials – one on Packaging & Thermal Management by Dr. Patrick McCluskey of the University of Maryland, and one on Electrical Insulation by Dr. Thierry Lebey of the University of Toulouse. Friday morning introduced a Modeling & Reliability Panel Session with leaders from different simulation and modeling fields across both academic and industry organizations. This year's technical sessions addressed Systems & Circuits,  Power Modules, Packaging & Interconnects, Thermal Management, and Sensors, Passives, & EMI. In addition to the technical sessions, tutorials, and panel sessions, each day also included invited keynote presentations selected to discuss the future of the wide bandgap and power packaging industry.

Wolfspeed's Brice McPherson, a power module design engineer, presenting on how innovative thermal management techniques can improve the Hybrid-Electric Vehicle Market.
Second day of Technical Sessions.

The 2017 IWIPP Student Travel Grant Award winner was Andrea Wallace of the University of Arkansas, who presented on her research group's work with Thermo-Mechanical Reliability of Silicon Carbide Schottky Diode Flip-Chip packaging. Andrea is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Center for Space & Planetary Sciences Department, pursuing research in the field of Power Packaging for High Temperature Applications under Dr. Alan Mantooth. Andrea's Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, coupled with her career goal to work with space-bound systems, lead her to choose the power packaging research field and to attend the 2017 IWIPP event, due to its inter-disciplinary nature.

General Chair, Dr. Ty McNutt, of Wolfspeed presenting IWIPP's 2017 Student Travel Grant Award Winner, Andrea Wallace, with her conference stipend.
View from Wolfspeed's Conference Banquet activity, which was a guided tour through the historic canals of Delft.

While the conference was heavy with technical sessions, there were also plenty of networking opportunities available to attendees. On Wednesday, upon conclusion of the technical sessions, attendees were invited to a Poster, Lab Tour, & Exhibition Reception, sponsored by Murata. There were three posters, which represented technical papers included in the proceedings, and five technical demonstrations from TU Delft researchers; a tour of TU Delft's famous High Voltage laboratory was also provided during Murata's Welcome Reception. On Thursday evening, the conference attendees celebrated a successful event with a boat trip through the historic canals of Delft, followed by the Wolfspeed Conference Banquet where prizes from IWIPP's industrial sponsors were raffled off. Winners received: an Apple Watch, courtesy of Wolfspeed; an Apple iPad, courtesy of Murata; a Lego® Mindstorms® set, courtesy of Littelfuse; and Holland's famous Stroopwafels, courtesy of ISP Systems.

The 2017 event brought together a multi-faceted group of supporting technical organizations; in addition to the Power Sources Manufacturers Associations (PSMA), the event also included: the IEEE Components, Packaging & Manufacturing Technology Society; the IEEE Dielectric & Electrical Insulation Society; the IEEE Power Electronics Society; and the European Center for Power Electronics. These societies all remain committed to expanding the future development of the International Workshop on Integrated Power Packaging. The next International Workshop on Integrated Power Packaging is currently being planned, and the 2019 location will be announced on the website in the coming months. For 2019, the IWIPP Steering Committee plans to expand its commitment to bringing together inter-disciplinary thought leaders in the field of power packaging to discuss innovative solutions to the industry's biggest challenges. Please stay tuned for more information about the event from PSMA and to learn how you can become involved in the 2019 event.

Provided by Lauren Kegley, IWIPP 2017 Sponsorship & Publications Chair


2017 iNEMI Roadmap
Posted: 2017-5-5

The complete 2017 iNEMI Roadmap is now available. The final chapters are in, and the full roadmap document plus 100-page executive summary are ready for download. 

With 28 chapters and 2000+ pages, this is the largest roadmap we’ve published to date. It includes:

  • A new chapter on Internet of Things
  • Four chapters not updated or included last cycle:
    • Aerospace & Defense
    • Information Management 
    • Packaging & Component Substrates 
    • Test, Inspection & Measurement 
  • Expanded scope for two chapters:
    • Connectors now includes electronic and photonic connectors
    • Interconnect Substrates-Ceramic is now Ceramic Substrates & Photovoltaic Technology

For more information, visit www.inemi.org.


The Trump Administration's Impact on the Power Electronics' Industry
Posted: 2017-3-2

Even though the free market rules the business world, government policies and regulations on trade can shape the industry structure. Usually companies prefer more free trade and less government regulation. Companies like access to markets that provide higher revenues and higher profits, while governments like higher employment for its citizens. Sometimes these intentions can be contradictory. 

The electronic trade is vastly global. Although products from US companies are prominent and highly visible, most of these products, especially hardware, are manufactured in China. In addition, many components including active and passive devices are manufactured by multi-national companies located in Europe and Japan. From a trade perspective, the United States generally remains the most open country with the least restrictions. The new Trump administration has taken a staunch protectionist stance with its “America First” policy. It has promised to restrict trade by forcing companies to manufacture products in the U.S. to increase domestic employment. 

So, what will be the impact of the Trump administration’s policies on the electronics industry? The electronics industry, primarily hardware manufacturing, has moved to China; President Trump has consistently mentioned China as a currency manipulator that is engaged in unfair trade practices and has gamed the system for its own gains resulting in America’s loss. It is true that despite having original and superior product design, America has failed to “scale up the products.” America designs products but China manufactures them. Thus, China’s employment in electronic manufacturing has increased significantly. Though Mr. Trump is addressing this issue today, America’s weakness in mass scale manufacturing was succinctly addressed by the late Mr. Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel. He wrote a landmark article, “How America Can Create Jobs”, in Bloomberg Businessweek almost 7 years ago. Dr. Grove, argued that just having R&D is not sufficient, scaling or mass manufacturing of the product is also important and necessary. He mentioned that “scaling is hard work but necessary to make innovation matter.” In addition, Mr. Grove stated that job creation must be the Number 1 objective of state economic policy. This has been Mr. Trump’s slogan all along, and many will be surprised to find that Mr. Grove’s views expressed in the Bloomberg BusinessWeek article were quite similar to that of Mr. Trump’s today. 

On February 8, 2017, Intel’s CEO Mr. Brian Krzanich announced that the company will invest $7 billion in an Arizona plant that will employ 3,000 people. Mr. Krzanich made the announcement during a White House visit with Mr. Trump- but NPR’s Marketplace reported that this decision was 4 years in the making. Though Intel can manufacture its chips in the US, due to its highly-automated processes, most of the electronic hardware manufacturing has moved to China and is not expected to shift back to the United States anytime soon. China remains the global manufacturing center for the electronic hardware, including power supplies.

Will President Trump change this global order with tariffs, duties or quotas?

Apple’s iPhone provides an insight into the strength of Chinese manufacturing. It is not just about low-labor costs, rather China seems to have the entire manufacturing infrastructure in place together with strong government support and fire-in-the-belly attitude when it comes to manufacturing iconic electronic products like Apple’s iPhone.

For insight into Chinese manufacturing, one has to read an excellent article written by Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher of the New York Times, about why Apple makes iPhones and iPads in China instead of the United States. The essence of the article is that when Steve Jobs wanted to change iPhone’s screen from plastic to glass, only Foxconn in China could scale up and deliver the product in six weeks in very large quantities. Though the glass itself was made by Corning, a US company, there was no US company that could deliver the product in such high quantities in such a short timeframe. Duhigg and Bradsher reported that the end-to-end process of building the iPhones required 8,700 mid-level engineers. In the United States, Apple estimated it would have taken 9 months to hire these many engineers; in China, it took 15 days. The United States just could not match China’s manufacturing and infrastructure prowess. Within 3 months, Apple sold a million iPhones. Today iPhones are considered one of the greatest products of 21st century that have changed lives of millions of people.

At least in electronics hardware, the US has lost its super mass scale manufacturing to China. Power supplies also reflect this situation with about 70% of power supplies being manufactured in China. Mr. Trump wants to impose a 35% tariff on Chinese goods coming to US. China said it will retaliate. Will this increased tariff suddenly make the US into a mass-manufacturing haven for the electronic goods or just create a devastating trade war?

On February, 9, 2017, in a letter to President Xi Jinping, President Trump called for constructive US-China relationship. The future awaits in suspense.


Provided by Mohan Mankikar,
President, Micro-Tech Consultants



PSMA Offers Power Supply Safety & Compliance Database as Free Resource for All Industry Professionals
Posted: 2016-8-31
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.

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.

PSMA Safety & Compliance Committee
Posted: 2015-6-22

PSMA is pleased to announce the formation of a new technical committee, the Safety & Compliance Committee. If you or your company is involved with the design and marketing of power products it is critical that they comply with the safety and emission standards where they are sold. You are invited to participate in the Safety & Compliance Committee and benefit from the discussions and alerts on existing and changing standards. 


The PSMA Safety & Compliance Committee mission is to provide a resource for our members and the power electronics community in the dynamic area of safety, regulatory and compliance issues and requirements concerning power electronics. These include:

  • Monitor trends, developments and standards covering military, industrial, computing, telecom/datacom and medical aspects of power conversion electronic products 
  • A focus on US and global EMI-RFI, safety, surge- transients, hold-up time standards
  • Discussion of existing and evolving standards and trends that apply to power converters and to provide a resource to members and the industry


The committee will support a comprehensive on line data base which will be a repository of standards and requirements that affect the power supplies and which will be periodically updated to include the status, trends and issues and upcoming changes by region and country. It is expected that the database would be updated and administrated using a similar process as for the PSMA Energy Efficiency database currently on the PSMA website. 

Membership activities

Members of the Committee are encouraged to participate in monthly calls – in general each of the PSMA technical committees meet once a month via teleconference. 
As the saying goes, “Many hands make light work” and participants are invited who are knowledgeable and can actively contribute or are interested in networking with others in the industry to share experiences or concerns. 
In addition to the database activities, other committee activities may include organizing an Industry Session for APEC on Safety and Compliance issues and contributing to the PSMA Power Technology Roadmap.


We would like to invite all parties interested in regulatory and safety aspects of power electronics to attend and participate. Help us to understand and to communicate the challenge and impact facing our industry in conforming to these evolving global standards. We encourage you to join our meetings or invite others in your organization involved in these areas.

So, let us know if you or others in your organization are interested in becoming an active member of the PSMA Safety & Compliance Committee. We expect you will find that you will get as much out or more than you put into it. 
If interested, please send contact information to power@psma.com.

Provided by Kevin Parmenter, Safety & Compliance Committee Chair


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. 

PSMA Presentation
Posted: 2008-4-3

The PSMA Marketing Committee has prepared this presentation describing PSMA. You can use this presentation to inform your colleagues about the benefits of PSMA membership. You can also show this presentation at meetings you are attending on behalf of PSMA.

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
© 2018Power Sources Manufacturers Association.