Consortium facilitates adoption of solid-state RF energy technology

October 09, 2014 // By Paul Buckley
A consortium that intends to advance today’s power and heating solutions by equipping engineers and designers with a transformative, cost-effective and highly efficient heating and power source — solid-state radio frequency (RF) energy has been formed.

The RF Energy Alliance which includes companies such as E.G.O. Elektro-Gerätebau GmbH, Huber+Suhner, ITW, NXP Semiconductors, Rogers Corporation and Whirlpool R&D (an affiliate company of Whirlpool Corporation) is aiming to drive the development of standards, education and promotion of solid-state RF energy.   

By providing standards for components and modules generating solid-state RF energy, industries intending to or currently using RF will see benefits in various areas. The Alliance is hoping to make the adoption and use of the technology become easier, even for engineers new to RF.

“While solid-state generation of RF by itself is not new, its use is currently limited to low volume, specialized applications. The technology has reached a tipping point where broad adoption can be realized in a variety of applications that are either driven by magnetron tubes and the likes or are even completely new,” said Adriano Scaburri, Technology Director Advanced Development at Whirlpool and Chair of the RF Energy Alliance.

The advantages of solid-state RF generation encompass outstanding control of all RF parameters, precise application feedback, excellent reliability and scalability, design freedom with respect to geometry and swift system integration. The advantages translate to better process control for industrial processes, enabling new applications ranging from automotive ignition for improved fuel economy to cooking appliances yielding greatly enhanced user experiences. High-volume applications like these and others will increase the cost-effectiveness of the technology.

Applications initially targeted by the RF Energy Alliance include consumer and industrial cooking, industrial lighting and heating, automotive ignition and medical devices for ablation, hyperthermia treatment and imaging. The Alliance will define specifications for RF energy components, sub-modules, interfaces and systems necessary to support its target applications, focusing first on solid-state cooking. The specifications will be backed by roadmaps for critical elements in the application’s supply chain to aid design and implementation efforts. A comprehensive validation and certification program ensuring reliability and base performance levels of components and end-products will also