The Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) is updating its five-year technology roadmap for the power electronics industry. In a day-long meeting held in Miami just before the start of February's Applied Power Electronics Conference, representatives of the power-supply industry and the end-user community presented data on their projected power requirements and capabilities.
Summarizing their findings, the groups confirmed that demands for "better, cheaper, and faster" power solutions will continue, which as expected will make power design even more difficult. At the same time, environmental initiatives such as leadfree design will add to the power design challenge. Help will come in the form of new semiconductors, with silicon carbide becoming economically viable in the near future. Digital control schemes should begin to play a significant role within five years, too.
Nevertheless, semiconductor advances won't be sufficient to achieve future power-supply performance goals. Improvements in capacitive and magnetic components, as well as packaging enhancements, will be required. In particular, there will be a greater need for thermal bus systems to remove the heat from components as power density continues to rise. Also, the adoption of surface-mount component packaging will continue to the point that wave soldering should largely disappear in power-supply manufacturing by 2008.
Other advances in packaging will seek further integration through the use of multichip modules, integrated passive devices, and even integrated thermal solutions.
These conclusions were drawn from the data presented by end-user companies, such as IBM, Nortel, Cisco, and Dell. Input from the power-supply industry came from the likes of Power-One, Celestica, and Tyco. Primarion, a company that develops digital power-supply controller ICs, was on hand as well. Further presentations detailed magnetic and capacitive components, packaging, and thermal management.
For more information, see the group's Web site at www.psma.com.