(Image courtesy of Bourns).

Passive Component Technologies Shine at APEC 2019

March 19, 2019
Passive Component Technologies Shine at APEC 2019

The Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) is now considered the leading conference for power electronics. Through technical sessions, plenary talks, and a large exhibit floor, a wide range of industry topics are addressed. These include professionals discussing current trends in the industry and vendors highlighting their latest products to meet industry demand. APEC 2019 is scheduled to take place March 17-21st at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.

A critical piece of all electronic systems on display at APEC 2019 is passive components. Capacitors need to be carefully chosen for optimal circuit functionality. Parameters such as tolerance, capacitance de-rating vs bias voltage, component Q, SRF, and capacitor dielectric all must be considered when properly implementing caps in circuits. One leaky cap in the wrong place is enough to bring down an entire power rail in a system. In addition, the not-so-distant sibling of the capacitor, the inductor, has a similar set of parameters that must be addressed. A few examples include DCR, SRF, and saturation current.

A number of vendors will be showcasing their latest inductors, magnetics and other passive products at APEC 2019. One such company is Bourns, which will be showcasing inductors designed for high-frequency DC/DC converters. These include the SRN5020TA and SRN 5040TA series power inductors. The 5020 series come in a low profile package with a height of 1.8mm. In addition, they feature a semi-shielded construction made of a magnetic-epoxy coating. They release less magnetic radiation into the surrounding environment compared to similar inductors without a shield. To supplement its new products, they will also hold a presentation titled “High-Flux Density Nanocrystalline Materials for High-Frequency Power Applications.”

Another company known for power magnetics is Wurth Electronics. Some of their most recent announcements include its WE-CPIB HV high voltage double chokes. These are 1:1 transformers optimized for surface mount applications with an isolation voltage of 2,000V. Featuring lower losses and lower stray inductances than comparable components, they come in 8038 and 8018 packages with heights of only 1.8mm. Alexander Gerfer, Wurth’s chief executive, will close the PSMA magnetics workshop with a presentation, “What is Right with Magnetics.”

Coilcraft also offers a wide range of inductors and magnetics in addition to support, design kits and simulation models for all their products. At APEC 2019 they will be introducing their next generation family of XEL50xx molded power inductors. These will feature low DC resistances as well as AC losses to help improve switching converter’s efficiency at high frequencies.

Higher switching frequencies are mainly attractive to allow for smaller inductance values. Consequently, the package size also gets smaller. Therefore, it is common to find these higher frequency switchers in many of today’s portable products that demand smaller electronics.

On the other hand is the capacitor. Within the last year, an MLCC  capacitor shortage has hit the electronics industry, leading some designers to look for alternatives. One possible replacement for the multilayer ceramic capacitor is tantalums. Chris Reynolds, technical marketing manager at AVX, will present on the topic in a talk, “MLCC and Tantalum Electrolytic Capacitor Interchangeability in High Capacitance Applications.”

Furthermore, AVX will have on display new capacitors for power component solutions. These include AVX's TWA M39006 series of wet electrolytic tantalum capacitors. These are high-reliability caps spanning ranges of 470uF – 1800uF and designed to resist environmental hazards such as shock, vibration, and wide temperature changes. An additional high-reliability cap being introduced is the AEC-Q200 qualified F9H series tantalum capacitor. These are surface mount J-lead caps that come in values from 10-47uF and operate up to 150C. Two additional noteworthy mentions are the FHC1 and FHC2 power film capacitors and SCC and SCM supercapacitors.

TDK, another large player in the capacitor market, is also rolling out some of its latest products at APEC. TDK has long had a large portfolio of passive components. These include ceramic, electrolytic, and film capacitors as well as magnetics. Some of the products on display will be a ceramic capacitor series in a modular flex-assembly technology as well as stacked MLCCs featuring high capacitance and low ESR.

TDK also offers soft-termination MLCCs that provide robustness to board flexing and mechanical stresses. Some of the latest magnetic components from TDK include high-current SMD power inductors, inductors designed for noise countermeasures in Class D amplifier outputs, and charging coils that will support up to 30W of power delivery.

Overall, attendees of the event should come away equipped with valuable information and new insight into what passive component suppliers have to offer. And electronics engineers can definitely benefit from the wide variety of technical sessions at APEC in addition to the large exhibition floor. However, the show can also provide valuable insight for equipment OEMs, manufacturers and suppliers, quality and test engineers.

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