Electronic Design

Pathways To More-Integrated Power Supplies

Power-supply manufacturers face constant pressure to build smaller, more-powerful supplies while keeping costs down. The primary path to doing so is through an increase in the integration of power-conversion functions in mixed-signal silicon.

A report just issued by the Power Supply Manufacturers Association (PSMA) should help power-conversion designers and engineering managers pursue higher levels of integration by providing detailed data on available technologies and possible "decision paths" that designers can take.

The report gathers product and vendor data together in a single reference. It also contains summaries of trends based on interviews conducted with companies in the field. The first of two volumes, this report will be used as the starting point for a workshop that will unite members of the power-supply, semiconductor, and component industries to collect different perspectives on the various decision paths. The workshop findings will be published in volume two.

One decision path discussed in volume one is power-conversion design based on off-the-shelf ICs and power ICs. Designers taking this route depend on IC vendors to achieve greater integration with each new generation of semiconductor components that they introduce. To help those on this path, the report presents a comprehensive overview of currently available power-management ICs and power ICs.

For those pursuing ASIC development as a means to greater integration, the report also offers a detailed overview of ASIC technologies and services. This section will aid those seeking to work with a silicon vendor to develop an application-specific component that will eventually be marketed by the silicon vendor as a standard product.

Yet the report will also help those planning to design an ASIC internally and then contract out the manufacturing, packaging, and testing to foundry service companies. Information on design houses and foundries includes details on ASIC methodologies, process technologies, cell-based IP block functions, design and design interface issues, and packaging technologies.

Designers will find company profiles of IC manufacturers, ASIC houses, and foundries, plus definitions of terms, technologies, and methodologies. For a more complete overview of the report, see the table of contents listed at www.psma.com. Go to "What's New on PSMA," and click on "Now Available" to view the table.

The complete two-volume report is offered to non-PSMA members for $995, plus shipping and handling. PSMA's Regular and Associate members can receive the report free of charge. For Affiliate members, it costs $249, plus shipping and handling. To obtain additional information, contact Joe Horzepa, executive director of the PSMA, at [email protected].

See associated figure.

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