Electronic Design

Power Electronics Technology Show Examines Power’s Present, Future

A conference devoted to a subject as broad as power electronics has a great deal of ground to cover. So, it's no wonder the upcoming Power Electronics Technology exhibition and conference runs nearly a week long in its presentation of R&D and training seminars related to power-supply, power-system, and motor-control design. Scheduled for November 2-6 in Long Beach, Calif., the event will host 11 professional advancement courses, 60 technical paper presentations, a number of poster sessions, and more than 200 exhibitors.

Given the conference's breadth of topics, it would seem unlikely a single, unifying theme could tie the whole event together. Nevertheless, some common threads do run throughout—the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the power electronics field.

For designers of power components, supplies, and systems, there are the problems posed by an evolving electronics industry bent on developing products with greater functionality and performance at lower cost. At the same time, the steady improvements of some of the tools of the trade—the power components, the circuit and system design techniques, and even the design automation tools—-present new opportunities for designers to meet their challenges. These general themes are evident in the planned keynote addresses as well.

Trey Burns, vice president of worldwide technology at power-supply vendor Artesyn Technologies, will challenge attendees with a talk titled "Are You Ready for the Future?" Burns will ponder whether power electronics engineers will have "the tools, the skills, and the technologies" needed to keep up with advances in semiconductor technology.

Alex Lidow, CEO of International Rectifier, will argue in the second keynote that a "holistic systems approach to power design, from the ac mains to the final point of load," is needed to address the tough issues arising in dc-dc converter design. His talk, "A Systems Approach to Solving Challenges in DC/DC Technology," will address specific requirements for power-management systems. In it, he will present a new control method for simplifying and speeding the design of power factor correction. He'll also describe IR's path to continued integration for dc-dc and ac-dc converters.

Fans of National Semiconductor staff scientist and Electronic Design columnist Bob Pease will be eager to attend "Power Platitudes Versus the Real World." Co-presented with Wanda Garrett, also with National Semiconductor, this seminar will examine the productivity-enhancing and problem-catching potential of online design tools in system power-supply designs. This talk also will present examples of faulty designs and show how online simulation tools can fix them. And those looking for a dose of healthy skepticism relating to a pure reliance on design simulation should not be disappointed. Within the discussion, the speakers will demonstrate "how to use thinking to solve problems that computers can't fix."

For details, see www.powersystems.com or call (800) 927-5007.

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