This has been a slow news week because everyone knew the Americans were on holiday, but there have been a few interesting pieces of news coming across the wires. The biggest news for us involved some important staff changes; Paul O’Shea, the current editor of Power Electronic News, has decided to retire. This is a big hit for the industry, because not only was Paul a dear friend of mine as well as of the power electronics community, and we all will be sad to see him go.
On a personal note, as the new editor of Power Electronics News, it behooves me to introduce myself. I’ve been in the electronics industry since my EW days during the Cold War, and have been active in the power electronics industry for over 20 years. It is an honor and a challenge to take over the tight ship Paul has left me.
As for the actual industry news, there is some cool core-science stuff going on that may impact our industry down the road. Argonne National Lab is partnering with Forge Nano to commercialize Argonne’s continuous atomic layer deposition (ALD) technology. This license enhances Forge Nano’s ability to offer and protect key intellectual property rights for its customers across an even broader array of strategic markets.
ALD is a process that deposits a uniform and ultra-thin encapsulating coating that can upgrade materials like the powders utilized in energy storage, with coating thickness precision at the Angstrom level, for coatings thick enough to eliminate the unwanted reactions that cause degradation within energy storage systems or moisture-sensitive materials, yet thin enough to not adversely affect desirable material properties.
People often forget how much energy is used testing devices, from powering the test equipment to powering the test devices to cooling and managing it all. Intepro Systems recently introduced the ELR 9000 HP Series of regenerative, programmable electronic DC loads, designed to accommodate three-phase mains between 360 V – 528 V AC. With load ratings of up to 15 kW in a single 3U rack-mounted instrument,a master-slave bus can be used to connect as many as 16 units in parallel to test loads of up to 240 kW. An integral, grid-synchronized inverter is designed to return up to 94.5% of the load test energy back to the grid. The regenerative output significantly reduces the need for extensive cooling systems to dissipate energy as heat.
Things like passive devices, coils, and boards may not be as exciting as wide-bandgap semiconductors, but they are as critical to a system’s operation as the most sophisticated microcontroller (especially if it fails). Panasonic just commercialized its new circuit board material (Part No. R-5575) for wireless base stations and other demanding applications. The halogen-free multi-layer material for is designed to contribute to compact-sizing and stable operation of wireless base stations. RF power amplifier boards used in compact-sized small cells will require a multi-layer structure to further save space over mainstream double-sided boards.
On the business side, Advanced Energy Industries announced it bought Excelsys, a privately-held company based in Cork, Ireland. Its modular and user-configurable technology is very complimentary to Advanced Energy’s existing product portfolio, and will allow the company to expand its addressable market.