electronica 2008: The Industry’s Tech Extravaganza

Nov. 5, 2008
Nearly 3000 electronics companies will congregate at the Munich International Trade Fair, Nov. 11-14, to participate in the 23rd electronica Exhibition and Conference.

Every two years, the world’s electronics industry flocks to the Bavarian city of Munich (Fig. 1). This year’s electronica 2008, a festival of electronics technology, provides a rich source of news and views as well as hard technical data on new technologies and their applications. It’s a mixture of technology forums, conferences, and a huge exhibition area occupying 14 very large halls (Fig. 2).

Detailed technical papers will cover automotive electronics, wireless technology, micronano developments, green technology strategies, and an entirely new component technology with the Greek god-like name of Hybridica—the combining of metal and plastic to create hybrid components. In addition to the technology on display, electronica 2008 serves as a melting pot of informed opinion about how the world electronics industry is trading.

With this in mind, the organizer of the exhibition, Messe Muenchen International (MMI), has set a buoyant market tone by releasing some positive figures for the international semiconductor industry in 2008. A collection of market researchers has forecast a growth rate of between 5% and 8% for the worldwide semiconductor market this year, with the German Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI) anticipating a growth rate of 5.1%.

Technology on The Road Electronics for automobiles will have its own Focus Area in Hall A6. There also will be an electronica Automotive Conference entitled “Electronics Meets Automotive.” The automotive market represents a growth application area for electronics, as well as a stable one. That’s because it avoids some of the erratic tendencies of markets like the communications sector.

In 2007, the standard passenger vehicle incorporated an average of $295 worth of semiconductor components. By 2015, that amount will rise to $375. Last year, the global market for automotive semiconductors achieved a volume of about $20 billion, and it’s expected to escalate to $30 billion by 2015. About 1200 companies are slated to present products and applications relating to automobile electronics at the show.

The German Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI) is supporting the electronica Automotive Conference Sessions. This program was developed jointly by MMI and the Conference Program Committee, whose members include BMW AG, Infineon Technologies, Chrysler AG, Brose Fahrzeugteile, TRW Automotive, Valeo, Freescale Semiconductor, and Tyco Electronics.

These sessions will be held in the Munich International Congress Center (ICM), starting Nov. 10, one day before the electronica show kicks off. With 10 contributions of 30 minutes each, the first day of the conference will be devoted to automotive developments and strategies. For example, Ian Riches of Strategy Analytics will look at “Ultra Low Cost Cars— Opportunities and Challenges” (Fig. 3a).

Hans-Peter Feustel of Continental Automotive will examine the demands that hybrid vehicles place on electronics in a talk entitled “Demands and Realization of Automotive Power Electronics.” Fabio Marchiò of STMicroelectronics will cover “Semiconductor Trends in Automotive Markets.” Tsutomu Miki, general manager of Renesas Technology, will describe semiconductors of the future during “i-Car—Semiconductor Contributions for the New Era of Car Applications” (Fig. 3b).

Manufacturers and providers of automotive electronics, along with their customers from the automobile industry, will convene in Hall A6. In the Focus Area, exhibitors will present products and technologies, including information and communication, bus systems, transport information technology, drive by wire, safety systems, and engine and chassis management systems.

Exhibitors will include Cherry, Heraeus, Robert Bosch, Huntsman Advanced Materials, Lackwerke Peters, Preh, Vishay Electronic, Altera, TDK Electronics Europe, Littelfuse Automotive, Provertha, OmniVision Technologies, Fujitsu Components Europe, Hirschmann Car Communication, and AB Elektronik.

Wireless Congress: systems & Applications Experts from the field of wireless technology will meet at the ICM on Nov. 12 and 13 for the fifth “Wireless Congress: Systems & Applications.” Developers, system designers, technology decision-makers, and systems managers can choose from 50 presentations on tap.Forum Programs The seven forums that will run at electronica 2008 include topics like financing startups, embedded software technologies, careers in electronics, energy efficiency, component distribution challenges, and product traceability and technology piracy. On the regulatory front, a special forum will look at REACH, the EU Regulation on the “Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals.”

Speaking of chemicals and hazardous materials, the “greening” of the electronics industry remains a hot topic, now that compliance with international regulations is a legal obligation. But what other contributions can the electronics industry make to prevent environmental damage?

The International CEO Round Table will examine and discuss the efforts being made by the semiconductor industry to protect the planet on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. in Hall A2. Peter Bauer of Infineon Technologies, Brian L. Halla of National Semiconductor, Carlo Bozotti of STMicroelectronics, and Rich Beyer of Freescale Semiconductor all will discuss how their companies are contributing to environmental protection.

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William C. Ramsay, deputy director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, will chair the CEO Round Table (Fig. 4). Back in the 1990s, he was responsible for U.S. policy on international trade, energy generation, and industrial and agricultural products. The IEA is supported by 27 industrial nations.

Micronano Systems Forum A separate platform for miniature electronic components, the “Electronica Micronano-Systems Forum” will also be staged in Hall A2. The German Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies has published market figures that illuminate the greater import of micronano systems. In 2007, the worldwide sales of miniature electronic components and systems rose by 3.2% to $255.6 billion. Hybridica—A new type of Component Hybridica will make its debut at electronica 2008. This new field combines metal and plastic to create a hybrid component that allows designers to exploit the properties of both materials. Such benefits include easy assembly of individual parts, greater functionality, size reduction, and improved efficiency, including thermal efficiency, which leads to extended component lifetime and reliability. According to industry pundits, all of these advantages can potentially reduce manufacturing costs by up to 80%.Bright Lights There’s no doubt that 2007 marked a turning point for the worldwide displays market. At the end of last year, more LCD TVs had been sold than traditional CRT sets. Market research institute DisplaySearch estimates that by 2015, around 90% of all display elements sold will be LCDs. And let’s not forget that many LCDs need background illumination from LEDs or organic LEDs (OLEDs). West Coast analyst iSuppli expects the current LED market volume in this application alone will increase from $6 billion to $12.3 billion by 2012.

The display boom is creating, in particular, demand for high-brightness (HB) LEDs. Here, iSuppli predicts the $3.7 billion market for HB-LEDs in 2006 to double to more than $7 billion by 2010. This in turn is fueling demand for HB LED driver products that can simultaneously control several LEDs. Hall A3 will be the place to find out more about the technological trends for displays and LEDs/OLEDs and their power-supply technologies.

Product Technology Whereas electronica’s Forums and Conferences offer erudite insight into current and future electronics, technologies that satisfy the needs of here-and-now designers populate the exhibition halls. A vast number of new products will debut at the show, though a few companies offered a peek at their latest developments ahead of time.

First up in Hall A5, Booth 221, power solutions company On Semiconductor will show a new product derivative of its AMIS 49200 Media Attachment Unit (MAU). The AMIS 49250 provides added circuitboard space savings of up to 66% compared to the AMIS 49200 (Fig. 5).

It’s part of On Semiconductor’s line of processing automation transceivers for safety-critical applications, such as oil refineries, chemical processing, and water treatment plants. The AMIS 49200 has served well as a replacement solution for the Yokogawa µSAA22Q MAU device, which is no longer in production.

For new designs that can’t accommodate the printed-circuit board (PCB) space required by the µSAA22Q (or AMIS-49200) but require the same functionality, On Semiconductor developed the AMIS-49250, packaged in a small, 44-lead NQFP (7- by 7-mm) (aka MLF, QFN). Similar to the AMIS 49200, the AMIS 49250 complies with the specifications of the IEC-61158-2, H1 (ISASP50.02- 1992), and EN 50170 physicallayer standard, including Foundation Fieldbus H1 and Profibus PA protocols.

Vicor Corp. will unveil a dc front-end module that provides electromagneticinterference (EMI) filtering and transient protection (Fig. 6). The M-FIAM9 (Military Filter Input Attenuator Module) should allow designers using Vicor’s Maxi, Mini, Micro Series 24 V, and Maxi Series 28 V dc-dc converters to meet conducted emission/susceptibility per MIL-STD- 461E and input transients per MIL-STD- 704A/E/F and MIL-STD-1275A/B/D.

The module will accept an input voltage of 10 to 36 V dc and deliver output power up to 500 W. It’s housed in an industrystandard half-brick module measuring 57.9 by 55.9 by 12.7 mm. Depending on the model, it may be mounted onboard or inboard for height-critical applications.

National Semiconductor will demonstrate three operational amplifiers with integrated EMI filters that maintain the accuracy of analog systems by reducing the effects of RF interference. The LMV83x op amps deliver an EMI rejection ratio (EMIRR) of 120 dB, which means they eliminate EMI-induced errors. Also, these devices have 3-MHz unity-gain bandwidth while operating on only 240 µA of supply current. This yields a power-to-performance ratio of 80 µA per MHz (Fig. 7).

The LMV831 single, LMV832 dual, and LMV834 quad EMI-hardened op amps cut board size by minimizing the need for metal shielding, filters, and extra components. These devices will find homes in phone accessories, medical instruments, precision weigh scales, and other industrial electronic equipment that’s sensitive to electromagnetic disturbances in noisy environments.

The number of favorably priced RF components that operate at extremely high frequencies is on the rise. In addition, new higher-end applications for imaging and video transmission are emerging and therefore creating a demand for T&M equipment in the millimeter-wave range.

Consequently, Rohde & Schwarz (RS) developed high-end network analyzers and millimeter-wave converters from a single source (Fig. 8). Following its launch of converters for the 75- to 110-GHz range, the company now offers converters for the 50- to 75-GHz and 220- to 325-GHz ranges. The converters connect directly to analyzers of the RS ZVA series, and multiport measurements up to 325 GHz can be implemented for the first time.

In Hall 4, Stand 159, Analog Devices (ADI) will unveil a family of high-speed converters and discuss additions to its Blackfin and Sharc families. The company is also expected to introduce its latest iSensor and iMEMS intelligent sensor products. ADI will display new online simulation and evaluation tools as well.

Digital Power Corp. will show its latest high-density power converters, the HD 365 series, at the Gresham Power booth in Hall C3, stand 447 (Fig. 9). These devices deliver 365 W of output power and are up to 90% efficient. A wholly owned subsidiary of Digital Power, Gresham provides European sales and support in addition to designing and manufacturing global defense systems.

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