Power trends: Size is everything: Page 2 of 3

May 22, 2018 //By Nick Flaherty
Power trends: Size is everything
Smaller, more efficient power modules are increasingly in demand for a wide range of industrial automation applications. Nick Flaherty talks to Anil Telikepalli, executive director of business management at Maxim Integrated about the latest trends

“We have several of these in a candy-bar style, plastic SIP module,” he said, “but now with this we have ventured into a sister set of modules that we call uSLIC. As we went out in the market there are a whole bunch of customers demanding modules that are small size for space constrained equipment where it is not just ease of use but space, and even power supply experts want a module for the small size. That is what this family addresses."

The modules go from 4.5V to 42V to support 24V distribution and sensor systems. The aim is to provide the housekeeping supplies that come on first that are usually lower current and there has been an explosion of sensors in the data centre, he says.

“These are the smallest ones in its class,” said Telikepalli. "Other 5V and 12V modules have focussed on higher currents, and our first two parts are addressing 100mA and 300mA for lower current sensors, LAN, housekeeping supplies, industrial comms. We will expand this as we go on,” he said.

He points to the industrial market growing rapidly driven by the Industry 4.0 automation, with the voltage regulator market growing 17% a year.

The modules are based around the MAX 17532 with preselected components.  “We have taken the indictor and stacked it on the IC – that idea is that it is really current agnostic, but there is the heat challenge, there is the EMI challenge – we have conquered these to do this device,” he said.

“Our philosophy for the magnetics is to use off the shelf inductors, my belief is that exotic technologies all come with tradeoffs that are not attractive to customers,” he said. “There is no limit on the technology – as the material is mounted on top there are no constraints except for EMI and mechanical and we are testing it like a semiconductor component.” For example, the modules have been tested on flexible circuit boards, 2, 4 and 16 layer boards

“We expect to push the voltage and current higher. As we speak, we believe we can take this to much higher currents 10x higher,” he said.

The drive to higher voltages is also being driven by the PLC and motion control standards where the requirement is 60V, not 42V.  “At 60V the magnetics need to meet the current and voltage requirements – in addition to the 48V data centre we also see 60V as a must have for motion control and PLC in industrial automaton,” he said.

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