The sixth annual Digital Power Forum (DPF ’09) is scheduled for Sept. 21-23 in Santa Ana, Calif. Organized by the Darnell Group, DPF ’09 stands with the Applied Power Electronics Conference as one of the two poles of the year for engineers concerned with power. (The next APEC is scheduled for Feb. 21-25, 2010, in Palm Springs, Calif.
While APEC is a broad, horizontal show, DPF concentrates on “digital” power. That’s a slightly elusive term that can mean anything from closing the power-supply control loop in the digital domain to a wide variety of power-management technologies, from ICs for handhelds to power distribution in the data center and telco central office to the Smart Grid.
This year, I’m looking forward to “Digital Power: Oil and Water or Dollars and Cents?” Engineers from Cisco, Ericsson, IBM, Intersil, Juniper, and Power-One will debate this topic in a day-one roundtable discussion. “This marks the first time that system makers will dominate the roundtable panel at the Digital Power Forum,” says Jeff Shepard, Darnell’s president. “In the past, semiconductor makers have invariably dominated the discussions. The increasing commercial traction of digital power technologies has prompted strong interest among system makers.”
On a more hands-on level, Bob White, the engineer who drove the PMBus engine when it was being forged, will host the “Introduction to Microcontrollers” seminar for designers at the close of DPF ’09. White plans to talk about the practical application of controllers for housekeeping, protection, data logging, and communication.
“In server power supplies, using a microcontroller for functions like startup sequencing, over-temperature protection, and fan speed control can save 100 discrete parts,” White notes. “Aside from the material cost, this is a significant savings in manufacturing cost and a significant reduction in the calculated failure rate.”
Digital Power Forum