PSMA Brings Power Supply Industry Together

June 1, 2001
Communication is vital for identifying and solving challenges. The need for broader communication in the power supply industry prompted a consortium of

Communication is vital for identifying and solving challenges. The need for broader communication in the power supply industry prompted a consortium of engineers and executives to create the Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) in February 1985. Those volunteers represented captive and merchant power supply manufacturers, sales reps, market research analysts, and manufacturers of components used in power supplies. PSMA members now interface with individuals representing every facet of the power electronics industry.

The PSMA board listens to the customer before finalizing specifications. With this way of thinking, PSMA wanted to promote direct participation by power supply users.

In response to this proactive strategy, the PSMA produced the Handbook of Standardized Terminology for the Power Sources Industry. Besides technical terms, the handbook contains appendices illustrating typical circuits, a listing of testing and standards agencies, electrical and electronic symbols, and conversion tables. Mike Foldes and many volunteers created this reference book in 1986. The formation of an R&D Committee under the leadership of co-chairman Don Staffiere, then of Digital Equipment, and Dr. John Woodard of ITT Power Systems followed this successful project.

The R&D Committee's goal, as stated by Chairman Art Hamill, was to “meet the needs of the industry with particular emphasis on the end user (customer).” That still applies today. Some early findings of the R&D Committee were that communication between major manufacturers in certain areas was nonexistent. Corporate policy discouraged writing technical papers, which explains why initial efforts to address supplier cooperation shifted to include customers.

To meet the challenges of this industry, PSMA's R&D Committee recognized that only a concerted effort by government, industry, and universities could engineer advances in key technology areas like magnetic and capacitive components, and high power switching semiconductors like BJTs, power MOSFETS, and IGBTs. The goal was to eliminate widespread fragmentation in the research agendas of the power electronics industry's various segments.

Special reports by the PSMA are aiding the desire to keep companies informed on market and technology research. The organization published the Power Technology Roadmap 2000 describing the anticipated trends in power supply requirements through the next five years. The report is a summary of the presentations and intense discussions from a workshop attended by 20 of the industry's most influential members representing power supply manufacturers, component suppliers, end-users, and academia. It captures the exchange of ideas and future needs as seen by the participants and their companies. The report is intended to help influence future power supply and component development.

A major challenge for the power supply industry has been the changes caused by the low-voltage requirements for the new generation of microprocessors. Therefore, the industry formed a workshop with key individuals from companies that have a direct impact on the future of power supply and power system designs. Among the subjects covered were the trend toward lower voltages, topologies for low-voltage outputs, dc-dc and ac-ac converters, capacitors, transformer considerations, power connectors, and heat sinks. More information on this report and other reports is available at

The greater the number of information sources, the clearer a picture you will have of the knowledge you're seeking. Therefore, we invite every OEM to apply for PSMA membership. For more PSMA information call (973) 543-9660.

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