Monday, August 31, 2009

O2Micro granted patent for CCFL driving circuit

GEORGE TOWN, USA: O2Micro International Ltd, a leading supplier of innovative power management and security components, was issued 35 claims under United States patent number 7,550,928 for its Driving Circuit for multiple Cold Cathode Fluorescent lamp (CCFL) applications.

O2Micro’s patented driving circuit is a cost-effective solution for large-size LCD panels containing multiple CCFLs. It can be adapted to convert high voltage Direct Current-to-Alternating Current (DC/AC) signals for LCD TV and Monitor applications.

Dr. Yung Lin, executive vice president, O2Micro, stated, “This invention reduces backlight module cost by allowing the designer to utilize low cost transformers, while maintaining system reliability.”

Founded in April 1995, O2Micro develops and markets innovative power management, and security components for the computer, consumer, industrial and communications markets. Products include Intelligent Lighting, Battery Management, Power Management, and SmartCardBus products.

O2Micro International maintains an extensive portfolio of intellectual property with 12,700 patent claims granted, and over 15,000 more pending.

Axiom NZ provides details on 'Brightest on the Planet' LED product launch

LAS VEGAS, USA & AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND: Axiom NZ announced that it has scheduled the "Brightest on the Planet" product technology launch for Sept 15, 2009 via the free global network and invitation only premier.

Axiom NZ is the world's leading innovator of the brightest LED technology solutions for commercial signage applications, cove lighting for hospitality, and under cabinet lighting for residential. The company is also simultaneously the lowest cost technology -- unilaterally surpassing previous existing and conventional technologies in both performance and price.

Partnered with Nichia of Japan, the world's leading manufacturer of patented White LED technology, Axiom NZ products are the lights behind brands like Chevron, Subway, BP, Hardees, McDonalds, Dollar Tree, Home Depot, O'Reilly's Auto Parts, Food 4 Less, W Hotel, Bastion Hotels in Europe, and Einstein's Bagels to name a few.

"Axiom NZ's place in the world lighting market is defined by helping our customers build the highest quality sign products without breaking the bank. I would not want to have to bid a job without Axiom - it would be like playing soccer with your eyes closed," commented Stephanie Prather, co-owner of Axiom NZ.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Life-cycle assessment proves how environmentally friendly LED lamps are!

USA: A study on the life-cycle assessment (LCA) of LED lamps by OSRAM shows the latest generation of lamps achieves a very high score for environmental friendliness.

This study involved a close look at their entire life-cycle –- how much energy and raw materials the lamp consumes in terms of production, use and disposal and the environmental impact involved in the process. The result was that today’s LED lamps achieve the LCA values of compact fluorescent lights and are far superior to conventional incandescent lamps.

In order to evaluate lamps and how they actually deal with energy and resources, it is not enough just to consider energy consumption while they are in use. The aim of OSRAM Opto Semiconductors’ LCA is therefore to analyse the environmental impact of an LED lamp over its entire life and to compare it with a compact fluorescent lamp and an incandescent lamp.

The relevant material and energy supplies were determined in detail for all the LED lamp’s components and production processes. Apart from a detailed analysis of each individual production stage, for LED chips and lamp housings, for example, these also include all necessary transports such as the transport of an LED lamp from its production site in China to its place of installation in Europe.

Apart from direct input of raw materials, the energy input, materials and emissions associated with the retrieval of resources are recorded. The results allow for conclusions not only on resource consumption and primary energy input but also acidification, eutrophication, the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion and toxicity.

The bottom line is that LEDs are efficient
In the first LCA, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors show that LED lamps are a genuine alternative to incandescent lamps, even when considering the cumulative energy input and environmental factors.

Often these fundamentally different lamps were compared based on their wattage. Conventional lamps with filaments are way behind diode lamps. A 40 Watt incandescent lamp, for example, can either be replaced by an 8W compact fluorescent light or, for some applications, by an 8W LED lamp, which means an energy saving of 80 percent.

In order to guarantee the comparability of results in the LCA, a lifetime of 25,000 hours was chosen as reference. The latest LED lamp generation (Parathom Classic A55 with Golden Dragon Plus LED) achieves precisely this rating. Therefore, 25 incandescent lamps (OSRAM Classic A 40W) with a lifetime of 1,000 hours and 2.5 fluorescent lamps (Dulux Superstar Classic A 8W) lasting 10,000 hours have to be used for a comparison.

Over 98 percent of the energy used to produce light
The study was done in collaboration with experts at Siemens Corporate Technology, Centre for Eco Innovations and shows that similar to compact fluorescent lamps with LED-based lamps over 98% of the energy used is consumed to generate light.

Less than two percent is allocated to production. This has dismissed any concern that manufacturing of LED particularly might be very energy-intensive. In contrast to the primary energy consumption of incandescent lamps of around 3,300kWh, LED lamps use less than 700kWh. The bottom line is that LED lamps are therefore definitely more efficient than conventional incandescent lamps.

Apart from this, the ratings that indicate the lamps’ effects on the environment are consistently better than those for incandescent lamps. As the efficiency of LED continues to increase, LED lamps will be capable of achieving even better LCA results in future.

Three independent experts are currently verifying the findings of the internal study. A summary of the study will be available in October at

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pulse expands series of round-wire coil surface mount power inductors

SAN DIEGO, USA: Pulse, a Technitrol Company, a worldwide leader in electronic component and subassembly design and manufacturing, introduces the new PG0871NL and PG0702NL series of round-wire coil surface mount power inductors.

These inductors use a ferrite core material, which yields a 90 percent core loss reduction and 30 percent increase in maximum operating temperature when compared to standard iron powder material used in flat-coil inductors.

Because ferrite material is immune to thermal aging, these inductors are more reliable and better performing at higher temperatures and frequencies than non-ferrite core inductors. Using round wire instead of a flat coil results in a 25 percent cost reduction.

Pulse’s PG0871NL has a low direct current resistance (DCR) of 1.5 to 31.5 milliOhms (mΩ) with a tight tolerance of ± 8% and operates up to 130° Celsius (C) without any thermal aging concerns. Inductance values range from 0.46 to 10.5 microHenries (uH) and saturation current from 6.3 to 28 Amperes (A). The mechanical size is 7.6 x 7.4 x 6.4millimeters (mm).

Pulse’s PG0702NL has a low DCR of 0.68mΩ to 7.7mΩ with a tight tolerance of ± 6% and like the PG0871NL, operates up to 130°C without any thermal aging concerns. Inductance values range from 0.30uH to 6.8uH with saturation current from 8.5 to 42A. The mechanical size is 10.8 x 9.2 x 8mm.

Operating temperature ranges from -40°C to 130°C. These inductors are used as energy storage devices and filters in point-of-load (POL), telecom, datacom, server, and industrial dc-to-dc applications. They are a lower cost alternative to flat coil inductors for applications where very low profile is not a requirement.

Pulse’s PG0871NL and PG0702NL inductors have a three-pin design for improved mechanical stability. An unconnected third pin at the back of the inductor distributes the part’s weight and balances the three terminals during mechanical vibration. Flattened leads serve as the pad, making the coil self-leaded. No additional base is required, further minimizing the cost.

These packages are size compatible with industry-standard flat-coil inductors on the market (including the Pulse PG0426NL and PG0255NL series) commonly referred to as the 2525 series (quarter inch by quarter inch) and 4040 series (0.4 x 0.4 inch) flat-coil inductors.

Pulse’s PG0871NL and PG0702NL series are RoHS compliant and meet standard EIA481 requirements. They are available in tape-and-reel packaging. Lead time is eight weeks. The price for the PG0871NL is $0.35 and the PG0702NL is $0.42 in quantities of 50,000 pieces. Pricing may vary according order congifuration and destination.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

LUXEON Rebel becomes first ‘UL recognized’ DC power LED

SAN JOSE, USA: Faster, simpler listing of new solid state lighting applications by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has just become a reality with UL recognition of Philips Lumileds' LUXEON Rebel LEDs –- the first high power DC LEDs to earn UL recognized certification.

The recognition will speed time to market by making it possible to obtain UL Listed status for new luminaires built with LUXEON Rebel without requiring a full in-system LED component investigation. The certification will also facilitate ENERGY STAR acceptance, since luminaires must be UL Listed in order to be eligible for the ENERGY STAR label.

In addition, being UL Recognized will help bring increased efficiency to LED applications, such as street lights, by facilitating the use of Class 1 power supplies.

The LUXEON Rebel lens meets the requirements to be considered an electrical enclosure under UL standards, eliminating the need for a full UL investigation that in the past has discouraged the use of more efficient Class 1 power sources.

UL approval is a de facto requirement for lighting products in the US because it is required by key parties including municipalities, government agencies, architects and insurance companies.

“Most solid state lighting manufacturers that sell products in the US require UL listing. Until now, the process has been very confusing,” said Rudi Hechfellner, Director of Applications at Philips Lumileds. “By using LUXEON Rebel, engineers can rely on clear direction from UL, shorten UL review cycles, and avoid unexpected issues that might arise in the luminaire certification process.”

LUXEON Rebel LEDs can now be found in UL’s Online Certifications Directory. They are compliant with UL OOI 8750, the interim standard for certifying LED light sources for use in lighting products.

Meritec offers new micro cable-to-board assembly with 10Gbps performance

PAINESVILLE, USA: Meritec has released its new Micro Cable-to-Board IO Assembly Family with 10Gbps per differential pair performance using ERNI’s MicroSpeed connectors. The first assembly option being released comes with very low profile 50-position 1mm pitch, 2-row mezzanine connectors, embedded transitional circuit boards and 38awg micro coax high-speed cabling.

These micro-miniature cables provide ease of routing on the PCB or within the box. Male and female connector options and a wide array of connector orientations are available.

Meritec’s process technology allows these micro cables to be used with different connector types and various wire elements, wire gauges, strain-relief/fastener options, assembly lengths and configurations. These high-reliability products are ideal for Medical, MIL/Aero and ATE cabling.

Meritec and its West Coast affiliate, Joy Signal Technology, are signal integrity leaders and preferred vertically integrated manufacturers and global suppliers of specialty connectors and high-end cable assemblies including leading edge performance InfiniBand/CX4 Ethernet (SFF-8470 and SFF-8473) cable assemblies and PCI Express right angle card edge board connectors.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Global LED Industry Report, 2009

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global LED Industry Report, 2009" report to its offering.

The global LED industry clusters in Japan, EU and Taiwan. Japan ranks first, followed by Taiwan. The EU relies mainly upon Philips and OSRAM. In Japan, there are Nichia, Toshiba, Showa Denko KK, Sharp, CITIZEN and Toyoda Gosei, of which Nichia is specialized in LED. Besides, CREE is from the USA.

In mainland China, LED industry is dispersed, and thousands of LED manufacturers are mainly in the downstream to engage in LAMP packaging. The key packaging manufacturers consist of Xiamen Hualian, Foshan NationStar, Wenrun Optoelectronic, COTCO Luminant Device (Huizhou), Ningbo Hepu Optoelectronic, Jiangxi Lianchuang Optoelectronic, Tianjin Tianxing Electronic, Golden Valley Optoelectronics, Refond Optoelectronics, Ledman Optoelectronic, and Leadfull Optoelectronic, etc.

In the meantime, there are the key manufacturers like San'an Photoelectric, Dalian Lumei, Silan Azure, Epiligh Technology and Rainbow in LED upstream industry.

The LED downstream market can be divided into three parts, TFT-LCD backlight, lighting and signal or data display, and TFT-LCD backlight is the most significant market.

With the improvement of LED luminescence efficiency and cost reduction in 2009, LED has shown the great strength in the large-size sector. In the LED laptop field, the design of Dot typed light guide plate has replaced V-cut design, greatly reducing the cost.

Fairchild launches new generation of super-junction MOSFETs

SAN JOSE, USA: Fairchild Semiconductor brings designers of power supplies, lighting, display and industrial applications a new generation of 600V Super-Junction MOSFETs -SupreMOS.

The combination of their low RDS (ON) and total gate charge brings a 40 percent lower Figure of Merit (FOM) compared to Fairchild’s 600V SuperFET MOSFETs. These devices, the 165-milliohm-maximum FCP22N60N, FCPF22N60NT and FCA22N60N, and the 199-milliohm-maximum FCP16N60N and FCPF16N60NT offer best-in-class reverse recovery characteristics di/dt and dv/dt bringing higher reliability for resonant converter, LLC and phase-shifted full-bridge topologies found in switch mode power supply (SMPS) designs.

Compared to SuperFET MOSFETs, these 600V Super-Junction MOSFETs offer a low gate charge for the same RDS(ON), offering excellent switching performance and delivering 20 percent less switching and conduction losses, resulting in higher efficiency.

They provide low input and output capacitances, improving efficiency at light load conditions. These features enable power supplies to meet ENERGY STAR 80 PLUS Gold classification for desktop PCs and Platinum classification for servers.

These products are part of Fairchild’s comprehensive portfolio of MOSFETs that offer designers a wide range of breakdown voltages (-500V to 1000V), state-of-the-art packaging and industry-leading FOM to deliver efficient power management anywhere electronic power conversion is needed.

LED backlight penetration rate in monitors to reach 35 percent by 2012

This article appeared on LEDInside. Reproduced here for readers.

Author: Judy Huang, LEDInside

TAIWAN: Recently, LED-backlit LCD monitors are more frequently showing up in the market, indicating the increasing application of LED backlight in monitor field — the slowest growing section among the three major LED backlight application fields. According to LEDinside, the specialized market research house, LED backlight penetration rate in monitors will be no more than 1 percent in 2H09, while is expected to rise to 35 percent by 2012.

Vendors are promoting LED monitors; Are consumers ready to buy?
LED backlight technology has been introduced to monitor field for a long time. However, early products which were flawed in color rendering and uniformity and sold at high prices were not very popular in customers. However, LED technology has been keeping advancing, which brings the advantages of LED backlit monitors more noticeable, thus more and more manufacturers are developing LED backlit monitors and launching new products.

After Dell and AOC, many leading monitor suppliers including Samsung, LG, BenQ and Philips all launched new LCD monitors with LED backlight. And other vendors are also following suit. According to LEDinside, ASUS is to introduce its 20” plus LED LCD monitor by the year end, and CHIMEI plans to release such products in the first quarter of 2010.

Though having begun shipping LED backlit products, due to the high price, few monitor makers are shifting their major capacities to this new technology. For example, a 22’ high-end CCFL monitor currently available on the market is priced at around US$275; a LED-backlit product, however, is sold for around US$ 335, 20 percent higher comparing with top CCFL backlit one. Are consumers willing to pay for the 20 percent price gap? Thus, LEDinside projects the LED backlight penetration rate in monitors will not substantially grow in the short term.

Panel makers are aggressively introducing LED backlight; LED cost is expected to drop
In the same time, panel makers are actively developing LED backlit products. Industry insiders generally hold that 2009 should be the commencement year of LED backlight application in LCD monitors, and the leap will be seen in 2010.

Panel supplier AUO is to use LED backlight for 10 percent to 15 percent of its monitor panels, and INNOLUX president Duan Xingjian said the company targeted 50 percent monitor panels with LED backlight. In the same time, HannStar CEO Zhou Dinghui said the company plans to use LED backlight in all its monitor panels by 2010.

LCD panel cost accounts for a large part of the overall cost of a monitor. The backlight module of LCD monitor needs dozens of LEDs, which cost approximately 30~60 dollars, comparing with no more than 20 dollars for CCFL backlight. The cost gap of dozens of dollars is crucial for monitor.

However, mass production of LED panels could boost production capacity of LEDs, sequently cutting cost. Meanwhile, some companies are actively developing LED backlight modules with lower cost; there are even forecasts that LED backlight module price would drop to the level of general CCFL ones in just three years. According to LEDinside, cost of LED backlight module will necessarily drop under mass production, while when will it equal the cost of CCFL still remains uncertain.

LED backlight penetration rate is expected to reach 35 percent in 2012
The growing application of LED backlight in monitors is the result of notebook and TV vendors aggressively launching LED backlit products. According to LEDinside, LED backlight currently are mostly used in 19”- or larger-sized monitors, which means the backlight modules used in these monitors can also be applied to small-sized LCD TVs.

Due to the current short supply of LED and the price issue, LED backlight may not be popularized in monitors in the short term, while it can be expected that by the later half of 2010, when LED price drops after upstream LED chipmakers ramping up capacities, general acceptance of LED monitors is expected to be boosted.

As long as LED cost drops, monitor makers are likely to speed up introducing LED backlight, as in the case of LED NBs. Therefore, LEDinside estimates that LED monitors could account for 35 percent of the whole monitor market by 2012.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Report on Chinese mobile phone TFT-LCD module market

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the "Chinese Mobile Phone TFT-LCD Module Market Demand, 3Q 2009" report to its offering.

With increasing export of Chinese non-brand mobile phones as well as considerations over shortage of mother glass, cell panel and driver IC shipment volume to Chinese module makers both saw significant growth in 2Q 2009.

However, affected by China's overall economic performance and regulations over non-brand mobile phones in various emerging markets, it is projected that Chinese non-brand mobile phone shipments will be compromised. Therefore, it is expected that 3Q cell panel shipment will see slight growth at best while LCD driver IC shipment will post declines in 3Q.

This research analyzes the supply and demand of TFT-LCD panels for use in Chinese mobile phones by observing the shipments of key mobile phone panel components cell panels and LCD driver ICs.

Monday, August 24, 2009

ROHM's CMOS LDO regulators with automatic power-saving function

SAN DIEGO, USA: ROHM Semiconductor has introduced a new series of CMOS LDO regulators featuring ROHM’s proprietary automatic power-saving (APS) function that dynamically switches performance characteristics based on operating conditions.

The BHxxPB1 Series combines the benefits of LDOs — small packaging, minimal external components and simple design process — with very low average power consumption. During high-speed operation, with operating current of 20 µA, the output voltage is regulated to ±1% over step load changes.

In the power-save mode, the operating current is reduced to 2 µA. These devices are particularly useful in portable applications such as cell phones where lower average current consumption can aid in extending battery life.

The PB1 series is offered in nine models with fixed output voltages ranging from 1.2 V to 3.3 V. Models in the series feature a built-in shutdown function, 8 kV ESD protection, and foldback over-current and thermal protection.

Key advantages of the ROHM BHxxPB1 series:
* A low-voltage reference source to enable stable operation from 1.7 V inputs.
* Integrated output discharge function that eliminates external blocking diodes required to prevent reverse-voltage damage.
* Integrated inrush current protection to assure output stability without need for added external components.
* HVSOF5 package requiring 70% less mounting area than standard SOT23-5.

"CMOS LDOs provide a solution that satisfies the need for a low power, space-conscious design,” said Zachary Whitman-Allen, Field Applications Engineer at ROHM. “The new BHxxPB1 Series’ Automatic Power Saving function further enhances their attractiveness. Combined with ROHM’s output discharge function and other features, the PB1 series is well-suited to mobile design applications.”

The BHxxPB1 Series is the latest in the growing family of CMOS LDOs from ROHM. The ROHM lineup includes single-output and triple-output devices optimized for: fast load response; high ripple rejection; high current output; and high ESD withstand –- all in industry-leading ultra-small packages.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tektronix delivers one-button test for 10GBASE-T compliance

BANGALORE, INDIA: Tektronix, Inc., a leading worldwide provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation, today announced the industry’s first one-button solution for the full-range of 10GBASE-T measurements with the release of XGbT test automation software and test fixtures.

The new oscilloscope-based solution lowers cost by nearly 50 percent, removes complexity and improves usability compared to competitive 10GBASE-T test solutions that require the use of up to three separate instruments.

The market adoption of 10G Ethernet is expected to grow exponentially over the next several years, driven by such bandwidth-hungry applications as streaming video, VoIP, IPTV, video conferencing over Ethernet, virtualization technology, server consolidation and more.

This growth means that the entire supply chain for 10GBASE-T will demand low-cost, reliable, fast and easy to operate test equipment such as the new Tektronix XGbT Automation Solution.

“The need for an improved 10GBASE-T solution spans chip makers, product developers and manufacturers around the world,” said Brian Reich, Vice-President, Performance Oscilloscopes, Tektronix. “With our XGbT software and fixtures, we are delivering an affordable one-button solution that can perform repeatable conformance and validation tests at the press of a button, making it ideal for both design and manufacturing applications.”

Faster validation, more efficient
Using the new Tektronix solution, 10GBASE-T designers and validation engineers can improve efficiency with faster validation cycles and higher reliability afforded by the industry leading features of the Tektronix DPO7000 Series and DPO/DSA70000 Series Real-Time Oscilloscopes, XGbT software and XGbT Test Fixtures.

In addition, the 10GBASE-T software is built on the TekExpress test automation framework which enables additional automation steps that may be required for unique measurement needs – such as one-button control of a Tektronix AWG7000B Series Arbitrary Waveform Generator for Return Loss measurements.

"We are closely working with Tektronix to validate the one-button approach. Joint testing performed on a customer device shows that this method of testing correlates extremely well with the expected results," said Jon Beckwith, Research & Development Engineer at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory. "We find it to be a convenient approach to performing 10GBASE-T PHY design, validation and compliance testing."

Compared to competitive offerings which require the use of an oscilloscope, vector network analyzer (VNA) and spectrum analyzer, the Tektronix oscilloscope and software solution provides faster and easier test set-up.

The use of a single instrument reduces upfront costs by nearly 50 percent in certain configurations and provides for a significantly improved user experience and more repeatable results. This is especially important in distributed engineering environments where repeatable test methods are required across different groups using different test equipment. The Tektronix solution conforms to 10GBASE-T PHY electrical testing specifications.

"Teranetics, the leader in 10GBASE-T PHY technology, has closely worked with Tektronix to make 10GBASE-T testing efficient and user friendly," said Jose Tellado, Vice President of Systems Engineering at Teranetics. "Using an oscilloscope as the common platform to perform 10GBASE-T measurements such as power spectral density, power level and linearity, the XGbT solution provides significant time and cost savings."

Many end-users of Ethernet compliance solutions are technicians who work on the production floor testing Ethernet equipment. In this environment, companies need automated testing to quickly validate performance and interoperability of production units coming off the line. Using the Tektronix 10GBASE-T solution, customers have one-button selection of multiple tests.

The solution allows customers to use all four channels of the DPO/DSA oscilloscope to perform measurements for faster test times and additional cost savings. Customers can also use a Tektronix P7380 SMA differential probe and P6330 high input impedance probe with the XGbT test fixture to further reduce test time.

For in-depth validation and debugging, the XGbT software includes a reporting module and results export capabilities and can capture test margins and statistical information.

At Solarflare Communications, a leading silicon vendor delivering 10 Gigabit Ethernet products, four channel capabilities, along with Tektronix support for National Instruments’ LabVIEW, are leading to impressive time and cost savings.

“Solarflare is currently shipping 10 Gigabit Ethernet controller and transceiver products. IEEE 802.3 compliance, including Tektronix’ four channel support, is critical to us because it drastically reduces our validation test times,” said Ajay Rane, Director of Marketing at Solarflare.

“Tektronix’ additional support of National Instruments’ LabVIEW further enhances our test automation and gives us the flexibility to automate 10GBASE-T PHY compliance testing with other components, such as thermal change and power supplies.”

Philips Lumileds Lighting selects Veeco MOCVD for production ramp

PLAINVIEW, USA: Veeco Instruments Inc. announced that Philips Lumileds Lighting Co., the world's leading manufacturer of high-power light emitting diodes (LEDs) and a solid-state lighting industry pioneer, has selected Veeco’s TurboDisc K465 gallium nitride (GaN) Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) Systems to support its LUXEON LED production ramp.

Veeco received a multi-system order for tools to be shipped to Philips Lumileds over the next two to three quarters.

Mike Pugh, Chief Procurement Officer at Philips Lumileds commented: “We have selected Veeco for several reasons. Veeco’s K465 ultimately provides a high level of automation, helps us reduce manufacturing costs, and provides a flexible platform as we look to the future. Additionally, our confidence level in working with Veeco’s systems and services is very high.”

John Peeler, Veeco’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “We are pleased to have been selected to help Philips Lumileds meet their solid-state lighting production ramp. The TurboDisc K465 has been designed to help customers seamlessly transition to larger wafer sizes, which we believe will be increasingly important to ensure a long capital life, lower customers’ cost of ownership and increase their productivity.”

Veeco’s TurboDisc K465 GaN MOCVD System is the only production-proven, fully automated MOCVD platform available on the market today. The "K-Series" MOCVD platform includes the K300 and K465 models, offering a modular, upgradeable path to a higher throughput, larger diameter reactor chamber and reduced cost of ownership.

Novaled's large area OLED device fulfills lighting specs

DRESDEN, GERMANY: Novaled developed a 15x15 cm white OLED device with a thickness of less than 2 mm. Die Struktur der OLED stack allows for a natural and warm white light performing a very high color rendering index (CRI) of 90.

The perception of this light is similar to sunlight or what is delivered by incandescent bulbs. The achieved color coordinates of (0.44, 0.41) are inside the US Department of Energy (DoE) quadrangles at Illuminant A and even meet the more restrictive 7step MacAdams Ellispis around Illuminant A.

With this large area flat light element OLEDs will enable a pleasant illumination of the room together with revolutionary design. By reaching 30 lm/W on a 15x15 cm area Novaled achieved an intermediate step in line with the European project OLED100.

The specific electrode structure Novaled developed and now commercializes under the name ‘liternity’ increases the device lifetime. Using the liternity technology the 15x15 OLED device can reach a lifetime of 20,000 h. Liternity OLEDs maintain the appearance of a homogeneously lighted-up surface over the entire life span of the OLED.

Long lifetimes will be crucial to reduce maintenance cycles for commercial applications. The liternity technology will allow the upscaling towards very large OLED panel sizes.

“Novaled is using its leadership on power efficiency and long lifetime to pave the way for large and thin lighting products which the market is expecting from OLED,” says Gildas Sorin, CEO of Novaled AG.

“The performance of this 15x15 OLED element perfectly illustrates the potential of both: Novaled PIN OLED and liternity technology. It reflects as well our company is dealing with the market requests and various aspects of a lighting product going beyond the OLED stack and materials.“

Duracell smart power initiative takes brand beyond battery

BETHEL, USA: Duracell launched its new Duracell Smart Power initiative, which expands the brand's product portfolio beyond the traditional battery to address the ever-growing and ever-changing power needs of the modern consumer.

The company's latest offerings, such as the new drop-and-go myGrid charging pad, fall under an emerging category of personal power solutions and signify Duracell's commitment to keeping today's consumers connected to the devices they need the most at all times.

Duracell Smart Power and its range of personal power solutions continue the company's focus on reliability, performance and technological innovation but now deliver added power efficiency allowing consumers the freedom to live beyond the grid.

More than 10 new products mark the start of Duracell Smart Power ranging from myGrid to on-the-go compact power chargers, new rechargeable battery chargers and patented LED technology for flashlights.

"Duracell Smart Power is an evolution of Duracell's heritage that builds upon the reliability and performance that our batteries have and will always deliver. This initiative will serve as an important lens for future product innovation as we expand the breadth of our offerings to address the evolution of personal power," said Rick June, Duracell Vice President and General Manager, North America. "Our new personal power solutions allow consumers the freedom to live their lives without the limits of staying tethered to today's power grid. It is charging made simple."

Duracell Smart Power products
Duracell Smart Power products represent state-of-the-art charging performance. Making charging simpler, creating new ways to take extra power with you, and providing new ways to maximize power efficiency, Duracell's latest developments showcase innovation beyond the battery. Products include:

* Duracell myGrid charging pad - Consumers can enjoy a better daily charging experience with this device that eliminates the mess of multiple cords by simultaneously charging multiple devices, such as cell phones, MP3 music players or other mobile devices. Once the charging pad is plugged in, your devices can go cordless. By simply fitting a device with a Power Sleeve or Power Clip, you can drop your device on myGrid and go.

* Duracell Instant Charger - This compact Lithium Ion Rechargeable charger provides reserve power for popular mobile devices, such as BlackBerrys, iPods and cellphones that come with USB power cords. A USB-to-mini-USB cord is included. Mobile users can now enjoy up to 35 hours of additional power that is efficiently managed with an on/off switch.

* Duracell Powerhouse Charger - Provides reserve power for consumers' most critical devices, including any cell phone, PDA or MP3 player that comes with a USB power cord or can connect to the Powerhouse's mini-USB arm. Powerhouse also comes with a USB-to-mini-USB cord and features an on/off switch for power conservation, making it a must for today's frequent travelers.

* Duracell Pocket Charger - A pocket-sized, supplemental Lithium Ion Rechargeable power source works with all USB-powered cell phones. Pocket Charger provides convenient power when a cell phone battery dies and the owner is away from the traditional outlet for recharging. The Pocket Charger offers cell phone users up to 60 percent more talk time and includes a mini-USB charging arm as well as a USB-to-mini-USB cord.

* Duracell GoMobile - The Energy Star-certified GoMobile delivers a charge to AA or AAA NiMH batteries in just one hour. Designed to fit in a car's cup holder, it also is designed to fit with home decor and comes with four Duracell Pre-Charged Rechargeable batteries that can be recharged hundreds of times while holding their charge for up to one year when not in use.

* Duracell GoEasy - The Energy Star-certified GoEasy is compact enough to go where you go and charges up to two AA or AAA NiMH batteries. It comes with two rechargeable batteries that can be recharged hundreds of times.

* Duracell Daylite LED Flashlight - Captures up to 100 percent of light to focus a brighter, whiter beam, while providing five times the battery life of everyday "incandescent bulb" flashlights. The Daylite series, initially introduced in fall 2008, now includes five new models with Daylite Tough flashlights, spotlights and headlamps.

Molex cites productive meeting with French governmental advisors

FRANCE: Molex Inc., a global electronic components company, announced that Eric Doesburg, Director of Development, Molex and Marcus Kerriou, Vice President of Human Resources, Molex Europe, have made an initial contact today with Matthew Louvot, advisor of the French President and Carine Kraus, advisor of the French Minister of Industry, to discuss the mediation process started last week with the appointment of Francis Latarche.

"We welcome the mediation process, which we hope will allow a resumption of dialogue with all parties. We are confident in the prospects offered by mediation, which should lead to a quick resolution in the best interests of employees and of the company," said Kerriou.

Molex closed its manufacturing facility in Villemur-sur-Tarn, on August 6, 2009 for security reasons, following an outbreak of violence at the site.

A first meeting between the leadership of Molex and the mediator Latarche Francis will take place in the coming days.

ON Semiconductor Schottky barrier diodes for portable apps

PHOENIX, USA: ON Semiconductor has introduced four new 30 volt (V) Schottky barrier diodes. Housed in an ultra-small 0201 Dual Silicon No-lead (DSN2) chip level package, the new Schottky barrier diodes offer portable electronics designers both the industry’s smallest Schottky diode and best-in-class space-performance.

These new Schottky diodes are available with low forward voltage or low reverse current at forward current ratings of either 100 milliamp (mA) or 200 mA -- the latter being the industry’s smallest 200 mA rated parts.

The new devices provide an ideal solution for the increasing number of applications where board space is restricted such as mobile handsets, MP3 players and digital cameras.

“Optimizing board layout versus system performance in space constrained applications is a constant challenge for our customers,” said Dan Huettl, director and general manager of ON Semiconductor’s Small Signal Division. “ON Semiconductor has responded with the ultra small 0201 DSN-2 Schottky barrier diodes in support of the system designer’s quest for optimized power management in portable applications.”

The devices
The Schottky diodes feature solderable metal contacts under the package that enable 100 percent utilization of the package area for active silicon. The new 0201 DSN-2 package – which measures a mere 0.6 mm x 0.3 mm x 0.3 mm -- provides three times the board space savings compared to the popular SOD-923 (also known as 0402) which measures 1.0 mm x 0.6 mm x 0.4 mm.

Providing the lowest leakage currents on the market, the new devices help designers address power losses, efficiency and switching speeds. The new Schottky diodes have a significant performance per board area advantage versus competing parts housed in traditional plastic molded packages. Class-leading power management characteristics also serve to help prolong battery life in portable equipment applications.

The NSR0xF30NXT5G series devices are optimized for low forward voltage drop (Vf), 370 millivolts (mV) at 10 mA, which further reinforces the advanced, high-performance specification of the series. The NSR0xL30NXT5G series devices are designed for low reverse current (Ir), 0.2 microamps (µA) at 10 V reverse voltage and offer very low leakage, extending battery life.

With ESD ratings of Human Body Model: Class 3B and Machine Model: Class C coupled with low thermal resistance the two series help support design engineers challenged with incorporating ever-increasing amounts of circuitry into small spaces. The Schottky diodes are RoHS compliant and have an operating temperature range of –40°C to +125°C, making them suitable for use in equipment that is used in harsh indoor and outdoor environments.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Automotive passive entry challenges RKE, remote keyless entry

BOSTON, USA: Automotive remote keyless entry (RKE) systems will be upstaged in the future by Passive Go (PG)—where the driver needs a key to open the car door, but not to start the car—and Passive Entry Go (PEG) systems—where the car key remains in the driver’s pocket for both car entry and car ignition.

However, without breakthroughs in cost-reduction and consumer awareness, neither system will be deployed in large volumes, according to the Strategy Analytics report, “Vehicle Entry and Go: Passive Systems Set to Challenge RKE.”

PEG systems may not be deployed beyond an 11M unit niche by 2016. With cost reductions and consumer awareness, PEG could grow to 19M units, valued at $867M.
The more cost-effective PG systems could sell 26M units by 2016.

While passive systems offer drivers convenience, they are costly to develop. They require custom development, with more components, for each model and are complex to install. Also, consumers are mainly unfamiliar with keyless operation.

“Vendors have been developing more integrated solutions to resolve cost issues, enhanced reliability and usability, and increased functionality of passive systems in order to make such purchases worthwhile,” says Kevin Mak, author of the report and Industry Analyst of the Strategy Analytics Automotive Electronics Service.

“The PG system essentially raises the convenience of the conventional RKE system, without the high costs associated with a full PEG system. If successful, vendors may realize a market by 2016 for which there will be equal deployment of PG and RKE systems.”

Future key systems will also offer additional information, such as vehicle temperature, as evidenced by the long-range, two-way communication devices pioneered by General Motors and Volvo.

Image sensor market ends long, steep growth to face more cyclic era

MOUNTAIN VIEW, USA: The market for image sensors will decline to $6.4 billion in 2009, a drop of 11 percent from 2008 and the first decline since Strategies Unlimited began tracking the market in 1997. But, the average growth rate will return to single-digits in coming years, following over a decade of 22 percent compound annual growth.

A new, more cyclic phase. The current global economic cycle is driving a temporary decline, but cycles will have a stronger effect going forward, now that the perfect convergence of forces leading to rapid growth in image sensor revenues for cameraphones is maturing.

There will still be growth in unit sales in coming years for image sensors overall, but short-term fluctuations in demand, periods of oversupply and shortage, and severe price pressure will make it more challenging to stay competitive than before.

Turmoil in Japan. Japan used to dominate world image sensor production, and still manufactures over 90 percent of the world’s CCDs. CCDs continue to dominate in digital still cameras and security cameras. Even so, Fujifilm stopped production of image sensors for its line of cameras in 2007. Sony is thinking of stopping its production of CMOS arrays for cameraphones, and Panasonic has already done so.

Koreans make huge strides. Meanwhile, Korean and Taiwanese suppliers are gaining market share, especially for cameraphones. Samsung grew 61 percent from 2006 to 2008, placing it among the top suppliers.

We are also seeing increased competition from other Korean and Taiwanese companies, such as SETi, SiliconFile Technologies, and PixArt Imaging. Hynix reentered the image sensor business in the second half of 2008. These companies are focusing on the China handset market.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fairchild intros lowest RDS(ON) 20V P-channel MOSFET

SAN JOSE, USA: Fairchild Semiconductor brings designers of cell phones, medical, portable and consumer applications the industry’s lowest RDS(ON) (75mΩ at -4.5V) 20V P-channel MOSFET in a 1mm x 1mm WL-CSP package.

The FDZ371PZ is designed with Fairchild’s proprietary PowerTrench process technology. This technology yields an exceptionally low RDS(ON), minimizing conduction losses. Through these lower losses, the FDZ371PZ improves efficiency and extends battery life for portable designs. It also provides robust ESD protection of 4.4kV to protect against adverse ESD events.

The FDZ371PZ’s WL-CSP package utilizes 4 x 250µm lead-free solder balls, providing excellent electrical and thermal resistance values. Package height, when mounted, is an industry-leading 0.4mm.

The FDZ371PZ is part of a comprehensive portfolio of advanced MOSFETs that answer the industry’s need for compact, low-profile MOSFETs, offering high efficiency and excellent switching performance.

The price (each, 1k pcs.) is $0.30, and samples are now available. Delivery takes eight to 12 weeks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Knowles Acoustics ships 1 billionth Sisonic MEMS mic

ITASCA, UAS: Knowles Acoustics has reached a major milestone in the history of MEMS technology with the shipment of its 1 Billionth SiSonic surface mount MEMS microphone.

Knowles Acoustics, which shipped its first MEMS Microphone in 2003, is currently ranked in the top five Global Market Share Suppliers of MEMS for Consumer and Mobile Applications (Source: iSuppli Corp. January 2009), and is the world leader in MEMS-based silicon microphone manufacturing.

When utilized in the SiSonic patented microphone package, MEMS technology yields a low profile, robust component exhibiting low vibration sensitivity, environmental stability, and ultimately more efficient use in customer applications as a high volume surface mountable microphone.

Today, with over 30 part models and multiple generations available, SiSonic is recognized as the preferred acoustic component in mobile phones, laptops, gaming systems, and headsets.

In 2004, to address growing demand, Knowles opened a new 80,000 square foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility dedicated solely to SiSonic production. Located in Suzhou, China, the facility is highly scalable, capable of producing all SiSonic variations, and has provided the technology, manufacturing and logistical infrastructure necessary for Knowles to sustain future growth and meet the needs of global customers.

“Knowles’ long term commitment, willingness to venture into new territories, finding the ‘right’ suppliers, and financial investment, are all key ingredients to the success of the SiSonic™ MEMS Microphone,” said Jeffrey Niew, President of Knowles.

“Shipping one billion MEMS microphones is a momentous achievement which illustrates Knowles’ dedication to not only produce revolutionary products, but to be visionaries in the world of acoustics and beyond.”

Monday, August 17, 2009

Photon-X uses GigOptix’s 100G MZM

PALO ALTO, USA: GigOptix Inc. today announced the use of its 100G LX8900 Mach-Zehnder Modulator (MZM) by Photon-X, LLC, a manufacturer of advanced fiber optic and RF photonic devices and subsystems.

The LX8900 with an optical bandwidth of 65GHz enables customers to modulate a signal’s phase and amplitude at ultra high frequencies in the optical domain.

Existing modulation mechanisms operating at these frequencies suffer from a number of drawbacks including narrow bandwidth and high power dissipation. Moreover, other optical modulator technologies such as Lithium Niobate and Indium Phosphide are not able to perform at these high speeds.

The LX8900, due to the intrinsic properties of the GigOptix’s EO polymer material, is not only able to operate at ultra high frequencies but also provide a broadband response in a small, low power, radiation hard form factor.

The LX8900 and its future derivatives are expected to have applicability in defense and aerospace and be used in phase array radar, antenna remoting, RF beam steering and ultra high frequency signal mixing applications.

"This collaboration with Photon-X is a great opportunity to leverage our technology beyond the high speed optical communications arena into new markets such as wide band RF Photonics in defense and aerospace systems," said Andrea Betti-Berutto, Chief Technical Officer of GigOptix.

“The LX8900 is a unique product in terms of its high speed and broadband operation and it is a great addition to our expanding RF solution portfolio of broadband amplifier devices.”

"GigOptix electro-optic polymer technology provides a very exciting opportunity for us to develop new innovative high speed and wide band products in the RF photonics space,” said Renfeng Gao, Director of Photon-X, LLC. “The LX8900’s bandwidth and performance characteristics are very impressive and we believe will open up a whole new realm of RF photonic applications.”

Samples are available immediately.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Molex welcomes appointment of mediator by French government

LISLE, FRANCE: Molex Inc., a global electronic components company, expressed its appreciation to the French government for the appointment of a mediator to help facilitate a resolution to the conflict at its production facility in Villemur-sur-Tarn, France.

The company had been calling for this appointment since the worsening of the conflict.

“This is a decisive step towards restarting the process of negotiation,” said Marcus Kerriou, Vice President of Human Resources for Molex Europe. “We hope that this appointment will allow discussions with staff representatives to recommence in a calmer manner and that there will be a willingness to reach constructive solutions.”

Molex is a global manufacturer of electronic components, including electrical and fiber optic interconnection products and systems, switches and integrated products.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fluke Networks to acquire AirMagnet

EVERETT, USA: Fluke Networks, a leader in network installation, certification, testing, monitoring and analysis, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire AirMagnet, a leader in performance, security and compliance solutions for WLANs.

The acquisition of AirMagnet is expected to create a global leader in the fast growing area of Wi-Fi testing and further strengthen Fluke Networks' worldwide leadership in test and analysis for networks, regardless of media type.

Terms of the agreement will not be disclosed. The agreement is subject to customary closing conditions and the deal is expected to close in the coming weeks.

AirMagnet, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., provides industry-leading products that allow enterprise IT organizations to ensure the availability, performance, security and compliance of WLAN infrastructure so that business applications can function without interruption.

The company's innovative products include AirMagnet Enterprise, the leading 24x7 WLAN security and performance management solution; AirMagnet Wi-Fi Analyzer, a widely adopted Wi-Fi troubleshooting tool; as well as AirMagnet Survey, AirMagnet Spectrum Analyzer, AirMagnet Planner and AirMedic.

"Together, we expect that the solutions from Fluke Networks and AirMagnet will provide the end-to-end network visibility network engineers need and the actionable information required to deploy, secure, manage, analyze and troubleshoot their networks, independent of media type," said David Coffin, president of Fluke Networks.

"AirMagnet's products are a fit with Fluke Networks' philosophy of delivering Network SuperVision -- giving users superior visibility and insight into networking technology they can't get anywhere else."

WLANs are growing rapidly as a favored network access method for mobility and are increasingly enabling mission-critical applications. For network support teams, these technologies raise new challenges to delivering superior operating service.

Together, Fluke Networks and AirMagnet expect to provide customers with the comprehensive visibility required to ensure their network infrastructures are secure, compliant and performing optimally.

"Fluke Networks is a top innovator and recognized leader in Ethernet LAN analysis and their solutions are known worldwide for delivering deep insight into LAN performance, security and optimization," said Dean T. Au, president of AirMagnet.

"The power of a combined Fluke Networks and AirMagnet should help us fulfill more quickly the growth opportunities and product and technology roadmaps to better serve our customers' evolving needs."

IR intros 150V and 200V power MOSFETs

EL SEGUNDO, USA: International Rectifier (IR), a leader in power management technology, has introduced a series of 150V and 200V HEXFET power MOSFETs with ultra low gate charge (Qg) for industrial applications including SMPS, UPS, inverters and DC motor drives.

IR’s 150V MOSFETs offer up to 59 percent lower total gate charge than competing devices while the new 200V MOSFETs feature up to 33 percent lower total gate charge than competing devices.

"As DC-DC power converter applications advance and switching frequencies increase, input capacitance and gate charge play a significant role in overall efficiency.

"IR's new 150V and 200V MOSFETs are optimized for fast switching circuits where switching losses are critical, and, therefore, are well suited as a primary switch for isolated DC-DC converters for telecom applications or driving light load efficiency in any advanced DC-DC application," said Brian LaValle, marketing manager for IR’s Power Management Devices Business Unit.

The new MOSFETs are qualified to industrial grade and are moisture sensitivity level 1 (MSL1). The devices are available in TO220, D2PAK, TO262, DPAK and IPAK packages, offered lead free and are RoHS compliant.

The devices are available immediately. Pricing begins at $0.83 each and $0.82 each for the IRFB4615PBF and IRFB4620PBF, respectively in 10,000-unit quantities. Prices are subject to change.

Anritsu, SweepMasters to deliver 4G field test solution

RICHARDSON, USA: Anritsu Co. announced that its newly released BTS Master MT8221B high-performance handheld base station analyzer is compatible with SweepMasters’ online test data collection system.

The integration of the SweepMasters application into the MT8221B extends Anritsu’s commitment to the deployment of 4G technologies, and allows data to be collected and analyzed faster and more cost-efficiently with the MT8221B than with alternative test procedures.

"Anritsu has been working with SweepMasters for years through our Handheld Solutions Partners Program. The compatibility of the MT8221B and the SweepMasters system is a natural continuation of our relationship," said Pete Alexander, Americas National Sales Manager.

"Anritsu has always been dedicated to designing field test instruments that help in the deployment, installation, and maintenance of wireless networks. The combination of our MT8221B and SweepMasters application creates a solution that will help ensure the successful rollout of 4G networks."

Field technicians and engineers can accurately measure the performance of networks using technologies such as LTE and WiMAX, due to the MT8221B’s 20 MHz demodulation capability. Site-specific data sweep traces acquired with the MT8221B can be easily uploaded via the SweepMasters Web-based solution.

The result is the ability for engineering management to view, organize, and communicate measurement results in near real time from their desks, saving time and money.

The integration of SweepMasters into the MT8221B or any of Anritsu’s industry leading handheld analyzers allows contractors, field technicians and engineers to conduct sweeps, and easily and quickly upload results to a secure Web site.

The Web-based application automatically names the file, and sets limit lines and markers on all traces according to the client’s specifications in approximately 60 seconds per line. This process allows management to view results immediately and make quick evaluations. Alternative methods can take as long as 12 minutes per line and cost considerably more money.

"We share the commitment Anritsu has to wireless field test and value our on-going relationship with the company. Our unique solution can be used with any of Anritsu’s handheld instruments to provide contractors, field engineers and technicians with a tool that makes their jobs easier. Network management also realizes benefits from our application in Anritsu handheld instruments because it creates efficiency and raises the bar on quality," said Trent Meilinger, CEO of SweepMasters.

Anritsu and SweepMasters began their partnership in 2004. In addition to the BTS Master, the SweepMasters system can be used with Anritsu’s full line of handheld instruments, including the Site Master cable and antenna analyzers, Spectrum Master handheld spectrum analyzers, and Cell Master cable, antenna and base station analyzers.

JDSU intros fiber inspection and testing solutions

MILPITAS, USA: JDSU has introduced two new fiber inspection and testing tools -- the FVA digital benchtop fiber microscope system for lab and manufacturing segment and the MP Series optical power meter for field test technicians.

Both instruments support the company's Inspect Before You Connect campaign, which is designed to educate customers about the best practices and industry quality standards for improving the speed and efficiency of handling optical connectors.

The new FVA digital benchtop microscope system cuts fiber inspection time in half and provides an objective and repeatable measurement that enables users to ensure standard compliance of their connectors.

The JDSU FVA eliminates operator subjectivity with a fully automated inspection system that quickly and consistently focuses and centers the fiber image. It also locates and counts defects, scratches and evaluates against pass/fail criteria.

The new MP Series OPM is a miniature optical power meter that connects to a PC via a USB 2.0 connection. The MP Series OPM is an innovative alternative for one of the industry's most fundamental optical tools, adding the capability to obtain and record optical power measurements to a PC, laptop, or other JDSU test devices.

The most significant benefit of the MP series optical power meter is realized when it is combined with a JDSU P5000 microscope with pass/fail analysis, enabling technicians to effectively implement a systematic and proactive method for fully documented inspection and test wherever fiber connectivity is handled.

"With these new products, our customers can now ensure and document that they are compliant to industry end face quality standards, such as the pending IEC-61300-3-35," said Jim Nerschook, vice president and general manager in JDSU's Communications Test and Measurement business segment.

"JDSU strives to provide technicians with fast and reliable methods for non-subjective pass/fail image analysis. With the new MP Series OPM, logging optical power measurements, generating summary reports, and archiving information is now a breeze."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Is US RoHS the same as EU RoHS?

This is a guest post by Gary Nevison, Head of Legislation, Farnell, A trading division of Premier Farnell UK Ltd.

Firstly, as this new legislation is clearly not “RoHS”, it would be misleading to talk about the US RoHS compliance.

The proposed HR2420 is very different to EU RoHS and although it is claimed to be legislation designed to control hazardous substances, its main aim appears to be preventing US States imposing substance restrictions on product within scope of this legislation. It would introduce some very limited restrictions but the exemptions list is so comprehensive that these would be very few.

So, is this to be the US RoHS that we have been waiting for?

Initially, this might appear to be so, however closer scrutiny of the scope and structure of HR2420 reveals that it is better understood as an effort to limit uncoordinated piecemeal legislation on this issue by individual states.

At present, there is no federal US equivalent to EU RoHS although some states have introduced limited RoHS-like laws.

Many manufacturers would welcome a single, uniform US RoHS law as this would remove the need to meet multiple, changing requirements across US states although others, who predominantly sell internally, may be concerned about this extra restriction.

The main implications of HR2420 are for new chemicals, or major new uses of existing ones, for example products containing substances that are not included in the Toxic Substances Control Act register require certification before they can be imported.

TSCA currently imposes very few restrictions on substances, but it does affect lead-based paints, asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls.

While the Bill proposes to restrict the same six substances as EU RoHS at the same concentration values in homogeneous materials, there are no apparent equivalents to 17 EU RoHS exemptions, and there is no use of the EU RoHS product categories.

The product scope appears quite different to EU RoHS as it seems to exclude household or consumer products and include products not covered by EU RoHS like electricity distribution equipment.

Another significant difference is that EU RoHS excludes products designed for use with voltages above 1000V AC or 1500V DC, whereas HR2420 has a limit of 300V.

The restrictions would apply to products in scope manufactured after 1 July 2010.

In summary, the scope of the Bill is quite limited, is clearly different to the EU RoHS, and mainly consists of a detailed list of exclusions and exemptions.

As the scope includes many items currently excluded from EU RoHS, the HR2420 does not appear to be a federal RoHS Bill, but more of an attempt to avoid disjointed RoHS requirements emerging for products currently outside, or on the fringe of the scope of EU RoHS.

Cree reports record revenue for Q4 and fiscal 2009

DURHAM, USA: Cree Inc. announced a record revenue of $148.1 million for its fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, ended June 28, 2009.

This represents a 9 percent increase compared to revenue of $135.9 million reported for the fourth fiscal quarter last year and a 13 percent increase compared to the fiscal third quarter of 2009. GAAP net income for the fourth quarter was $9.7 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, compared to GAAP net income of $8.4 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008.

On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 was $16.3 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, compared to non-GAAP net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 of $14.5 million or $0.16 per diluted share. Cree generated $43 million of operating cash flow and $28.3 million of free cash flow (cash flow from operations less capital expenditures) during the fourth quarter.

For fiscal year 2009, Cree reported revenue of $567.3 million, which represents a 15 percent increase compared to revenue of $493.3 million for fiscal 2008. GAAP net income was $30.3 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, compared to $33.4 million, or $0.38 per diluted share for fiscal 2008.

GAAP net income for fiscal 2008 included a benefit of $0.12 per diluted share related to a gain on the sale of investments. On a non-GAAP basis, net income for fiscal year 2009 was $59.2 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, compared to $47.2 million, or $0.54 per diluted share, for fiscal 2008. Cree generated $177.9 million of operating cash flow and $122.6 million of free cash flow during fiscal 2009.

"Our strong Q4 results were an outstanding finish to a very good year and reflect the success of our strategy to drive growth in LEDs and LED lighting applications," stated Chuck Swoboda, Cree chairman and CEO.

"Entering fiscal 2010, our Q1 backlog is very strong as we see growing demand across our LED product lines. We are well positioned to benefit from the worldwide growth in LED lighting. As such, we continue to invest in the new products, channels and technical support needed to accelerate the LED lighting revolution."

Recent business highlights:
* Introduced the LRP-38, the revolutionary PAR38 LED bulb that delivers the same vibrant color as halogen with 75 percent less energy.
* Announced that Chuck Swoboda, Cree chairman and CEO, joined President Obama at the White House to discuss innovation and the latest developments in energy-efficient technologies.
* Announced that North Carolina's first eco-friendly McDonald's is 97 percent lit with LEDs, and includes Cree's entire line of LED fixtures and lamps.
* Welcomed Fairview, Texas, and Gwangju, South Korea, to the LED City Program.
* Demonstrated the XLamp XP-G, the industry's brightest and highest-efficiency lighting-class LED.
* Cash and investments increased $42.3 million to $447.2 million, with cash flow from operations of $43.0 million and free cash flow of $28.3 million.
* Accounts receivable (net) increased $0.1 million from Q3 of fiscal 2009 to $103.0 million, resulting in days sales outstanding of 63, a decrease of 8 days from Q3 of fiscal 2009.
* Inventory (net) increased $1.3 million from Q3 of fiscal 2009 to $78.8 million and represents 79 days of inventory, a decrease of four days from Q3 of fiscal 2009.

Business outlook
For its first quarter of fiscal 2010 ending September 27, 2009, Cree targets revenue in a range of $160 million to $166 million with GAAP earnings of $0.14 to $0.16 per diluted share and non-GAAP earnings of $0.21 to $0.23 per diluted share, based on an estimated 91 million diluted weighted average shares.

Targeted non-GAAP earnings exclude expenses related to the amortization of acquired intangibles of $0.02 per diluted share, and stock-based compensation expense of $0.05 per diluted share.

Molex plant closing in France not ruled illegal

LISLE, FRANCE: Molex Inc., a global electronic components company, announced that the temporary closing of its factory in Villemur-sur-Tarn, France was in fact not ruled illegal, contrary to claims by the labor unions involved in recent violence at the site.

A French judge on August 11, 2009 said that a ruling is not necessary, as the factory is already closed. Molex temporarily closed the factory on August 6, 2009 for security reasons, following an outbreak of violence at the site.

“This is clearly a disinformation campaign designed to sow confusion over a ruling unfavorable to the unions earlier today that strikers must stop blocking the site,” said Marcus Kerriou, Vice President Human Resources, Molex Incorporated.

Molex is a global manufacturer of electronic components, including electrical and fiber optic interconnection products and systems, switches and integrated products.

ISM band transceiver system for energy harvesting apps

GRAZ, AUSTRIA: SensorDynamics has launched the new automotive transceiver SD341. This high performance single-chip quad band multi channel and transceiver system is the first fail-safe, fully integrated ISM band transceiver with a universal sensor interface designed to run on very low power generated by energy harvesting.

The transceiver is controlled by an ultra low power management circuit that allows operation with microwatt power only. In a typical application the power management unit activates the on-board 8051 micro controller and other blocks that are needed for a certain task as soon as sufficient energy is detected.

Typical applications are car access systems and wireless plus batteryless remote sensors, e.g. tire pressure monitoring systems.

The SD341 supports all four ISM bands, i.e. 315, 433, 868 and 915 MHz, for world-wide license free FSK or ASK operation. Data rates up to 125 kbit/s are possible. The 32 kByte on-chip FLASH is sufficient for complex software. Several interfaces are implemented: up to twelve mixed signal general purpose I/O pins, a four wire- (SPI compatible) and a UART- interface.

For the measurement of external sensor signals two 12 bit ADCs with 400 kHz bandwidth are available. For sensor driving purposes an 8 bit DAC is implemented. To cope with different sources of energy like solar cells, electromechanical or thermo electrical energy generators, the SD341 runs with a minimum supply voltage of only 2 V and is not limited to a certain voltage slope on power on.

Furthermore, it accepts large voltage variations during operation without loss of performance. More details are to be found in the attached SD341 brief data sheet.

SD341 samples in a 6mm x 6mm QFN40 package are available now; the 1k price is 5$. An evaluation board can also be ordered.

Nu Horizons Electronics becomes North American Alcatel-Lucent master distributor

MELVILLE & MURRAY HILL, USA: Nu Horizons Electronics Corp., a leading global distributor of advanced technology semiconductor, display, illumination, power and system solutions; has been named as a North American Master Distributor for Alcatel-Lucent.

Under the terms of the agreement, which is effective immediately, Nu Horizons will distribute a full range of Alcatel-Lucent solutions for small-businesses to large enterprises. The extensive, market-leading portfolio of products includes enterprise telephony systems, mobility platforms, networking equipment, network management tools, and enterprise network security solutions.

Arthur Nadata, Executive Chairman and CEO of Nu Horizons stated: "We are excited to be chosen as an Alcatel-Lucent Master Distributor in North America and expect that the synergy created between their world-class enterprise product line and our growth model will drive increased revenue for both parties.

"This is a substantial partnership for Nu Horizons and a significant opportunity to elevate our systems division by broadening our marketplace beyond the OEM community and into the much larger enterprise space."

"This relationship is a sign of Alcatel-Lucent's ongoing commitment to the growth of our enterprise business through channels in the US and Canada," said Tom Burns, president Alcatel-Lucent enterprise activities.

"Alcatel-Lucent's products, combined with Nu Horizons' experience opening new markets through distribution will play a key role in our North American Enterprise growth strategy. Nu Horizons will add a variety of services to current offers based on the Alcatel-Lucent broad portfolio, clearing the way for the VAR community to gain immediate access to value added services and the world class Alcatel-Lucent portfolio."

Nu Horizons will provide sales and supply chain support for Alcatel-Lucent's network of business partners in North America, as well as execute market expansion programs designed to increase the scope and reach of the product family.

Alcatel-Lucent provides solutions that enable service providers, enterprises and governments worldwide, to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users.

As a leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband access, carrier and enterprise IP technologies, applications, and services, Alcatel-Lucent offers the end-to-end solutions that enable compelling communications services for people at home, at work and on the move.

National Semi intros industry's lowest nanopower op amp

SANTA CLARA, USA: A new nanopower operational amplifier (op amp) from National Semiconductor Corp. provides the industry's lowest power consumption at 552 nanowatts (nW), with guaranteed operation down to 1.6V.

The PowerWise LPV521 extends battery life in portable equipment and low power applications including wireless remote sensors, power-line monitoring, and micropower oxygen and gas sensors.

The LPV521 features a supply voltage range from 1.6V to 5.5V with a maximum supply current of 0.4 uA. Its wide-input common-mode voltage range accepts input signals 100 mV beyond each rail, enabling direct connection to several sensor types.

In addition, the LPV521's maximum 1 mV input offset voltage (Vos) and 3.5 uV per degree C of input offset voltage drift (TCVos) enable accurate and stable measurement for both high-side and low-side current sensing.

The LPV521 is the world's only nanopower op amp equipped with electromagnetic interference (EMI) suppression filters to reduce unwanted radio frequency (RF) interference from external sources. This interference is emitted from a myriad of wireless devices such as cell phones, motion sensors and RFID readers.

The LPV521 is built on National's proprietary VIP50 BiCMOS process technology, which enables optimal performance while maximizing power efficiency. The op amp offers an industry-leading power-to-performance ratio of 65 uA per MHz.

Available now, the LPV521 is supplied in a space-saving 5-pin SC-70 package and is priced at 65 cents each in 1,000-unit quantities.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Taiwan LED makers begin to see a silver lining

TAIPEI, TAIWAN: According to survey of the industry research institute LEDinside, Taiwan's listed LED makers recorded total revenue of NT 5.982 billion in July 2009, a 5.8 percent growth from NT 5.652 billion in June 2009 and a 3.8 percent growth YoY.

LED chip makers’ total revenues in July gained 6.9 percent to NT 2.621 billion while LED packagers posted NT 3.361 billion, 5.1 percent growth MoM.Source: LEDInside

Based on LEDinside’s observation of recent market dynamics, capacity utilization of upstream GaN LED chipmakers is virtually fully-loaded, with orders extending through the end of the year. As a result, upstream makers have begun to raise capital for their respective expansion plans as they gear up for next year’s LED TV market.

As for downstream packagers, blessed by Q3 as the traditional hot season, demand for conventional handsets and smart phones is expected to boom, thereby stretching order visibility to the end of September.

Encouraged by the need to meet the power-saving requirements, the introduction of CULV notebooks further drives up the demand for LED backlight. Based on past experience, the momentum for the hot season will extend through September/October.

Under robust demand in TV and NB backlight market, downstream packagers have also initiated their expansion plans.

Taiwan’s chipmakers recorded total revenue of NT2.621 billion in July, a 6.9 percent growth MoM, and 2.6 percent YoY.Source: LEDInside

In individual performance, sales of upstream chipmakers Epistar, FOREPI, Huga Optotech all out-performed their previous records in the same period last year. Leading chipmaker Epistar’s revenues hit a historic high in July with NT 1.208 billion (MoM +5.3 percent).

Although Epistar’s GaN LED chip capacity utilization is fully-loaded, spurred by more efficient chip production and influx of orders for high brightness AllnGaP, its revenue continue to set new records.

Meanwhile FOREPI’s revenue reached 184 million (MoM +10 percent), also a record high level. With continual installation of new equipment by upstream chipmakers, growth of upstream chipmakers’ output will likely extend.

Downstream LED packagers recorded total revenue of NT3,361 billion (MoM +5.1 percent, YoY +4.7 percent) with output already surpassing the standard of the same period last year. Leading LED packager Everlight posted NT 953 million in revenue, another record high figure in this year.

LEDinside expects that in the coming months, with blessing from strong demand during the traditional hot season, Everlight has the potential of returning to the NT 1 billion mark in single month sales.

Unity Opto is another winner; thanks to its long-term investment in the backlight segment, benefiting from backlight demand of mid- and large-sized models, Unity Opto continued to record high revenue of NT 402 million (MoM +18 percent, YoY 70 percent).

Amid rising demand of white-brand handsets, Harvatek, with application in handsets accounting for a large part of the company’s revenue, recorded sales revenue of NT 245 million in July (MoM +12 percent).

With an array of new products, there is still much room for revenue growth in the latter half of 2009. As a result of recent changes in trading models, Light House Tech recorded 163 million in revenue (MoM -26 percent).Source: LEDInside

However, with its continual expansion in the latter half of 2009 and increased system integration ratio, revenue growth momentum will be restored, says LEDinside.

IXYS intros 3,400V phase-leg rectifier module

BIEL, SWITZERLAND: IXYS Corp. announced its extension of its diode rectifier module range to 3,400 volts repetitive reverse voltage.

The dual rectifier diode module with a part number MDD175-34N1 features two diodes in an industry standard module. Each diode is rated at 175 Amps average current at a case temperature of 100 degrees centigrade and rated to 3,400V operation up to 125 degrees centigrade.

“This extension of the usable voltage range of existing products to 3400V represents a significant technological breakthrough for efficient power rectification above 2500V,” commented Bradley Green Vice President of International Sales of IXYS. “Most of our competitors struggle for reliability in product manufacture with operating voltages above 2,000V and this latest development further highlights our long standing tradition for market leading development in the bi-polar high voltage, high power arena.”

The MDD175-34N1 module benefits from IXYS’ own direct copper bond (DCB) isolated substrates which have been extended to offer a 3,600 volt terminal to base isolation rating. Product features also include the standard set of IXYS’ design parameters; ruggedness; world leading reliability and highest efficiency and is designed to fulfil all relevant industrial standards for most applications.

The new High Voltage Rectifier family is a new generation that covers the global trend for many applications to increase the supply voltage and is typically utilized in any front end rectification stage in applications such as motor drives, wind power conversion systems and DC power supplies.

The new technology fulfils the need of the engineer who needs to raise the voltage of a rectification system without the need for operating devices in series and in many cases can therefore reduce the system component count.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

RFMD powers new Samsung 3G handsets

GREENSBORO, USA: RF Micro Devices Inc. announced it is supporting the ramp of Samsung's Tocco Ultra Edition and GT-S8000 "Jet" 3G handsets with two of its industry-leading 3G cellular front ends -- the RF3267 and RF6266. RFMD's high-efficiency and ultra-compact 3G front ends are designed to support the critical needs of multi-band, multimode 3G handsets and smartphones.

Samsung's Tocco Ultra Edition handset delivers a full-touch mobile experience and a revolutionary 2.8" super bright AMOLED display. The slim 12.7mm-wide design includes GPS navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, an MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA music player, an 8-mega pixel camera with auto focus and dual-power LED, an FM radio with RDS, 30fps VGA video recording and editing, microSD memory capability up to 16 GB and 7.2 Mbps HSDPA performance.

Samsung's GT-S8000 Jet handset features 3.6 Mbps HSDPA performance, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, a 5-mega pixel camera, an AMOLED full-touch WVGA display, 150MB of internal memory and microSD memory capability up to 16GB.

The Tocco Ultra Edition and GT-S8000 Jet are available today, and RFMD forecasts volume shipments of its RF3267 and RF6266 will increase throughout 2009 in support of these and other Samsung 3G handsets.

"We are very pleased to support these feature-rich and highly anticipated Samsung 3G handsets with our WCDMA/HSDPA front ends," said Eric Creviston, president of RFMD's cellular products group (CPG).

"Our RF3267 and RF6266 3G front ends deliver superior current consumption and higher levels of integration, versus competitive offerings, enabling leading smartphone manufacturers to deliver WCDMA/HSDPA devices with extended battery life and a rich, multimedia experience for consumers. RFMD has been very successful with these power amplifiers in support of Samsung's 3G handsets, and we expect to support additional Samsung 3G handsets launching later this year."

RFMD's RF3267 is a Band 1 (1920 to 1980 MHz) WCDMA/HSDPA power amplifier (PA) that provides an excellent balance of efficiency and linearity resulting in as much as 15 percent less peak current consumption and a digitally controlled low-power mode that allows the handset to operate with reduced current consumption across a broader power range than competing solutions -- translating into longer battery life in data-centric mobile devices.

Additionally, the RF3267 features an integrated coupler, which allows handset designers to eliminate the external coupler traditionally placed at the output of the PA. The additional functionality is achieved without growing the industry-leading 3x3x0.9 mm package, which matches RFMD's successful prior generation PA, the RF3266.

By maintaining pin-for-pin compatibility with the RF3266, the RF3267 assists handset original equipment manufacturers seeking to shrink RF sections in support of more compact and thinner devices.

RFMD's RF6266 WCDMA/HSDPA PA operates in either Band 5 (824 to 849 MHz) or Band 8 (880 to 915 MHz) and delivers a similar feature set to the RF3267, with the same ultra-compact 3x3x0.9 mm package. Used in combination, the RF3267 and RF6266 provide a compact solution for multi-band, multimode 3G handset designs targeting the North American and/or European Union (EU) markets.

RFMD is gaining share in 3G front ends and enjoys an advantage in 3G handset design activity, given its leading product portfolio, manufacturing scale, systems-level expertise and packaging and assembly capabilities -- all of which enable RFMD to minimize complexity, reduce component count and optimize the RF design of multi-band, multimode WCDMA/HSDPA handsets and smartphones.

Monday, August 10, 2009

GigOptix's LX8400 -- smallest 40G DPSK Mach-Zehnder modulator

PALO ALTO, USA: GigOptix Inc. today announced the availability of samples of the LX8400, its 40G DPSK Mach-Zehnder modulator, using its proprietary Electro-Optical (EO) polymer technology and manufactured at a qualified telecom contract manufacturer.

The LX8400 is the first EO polymer Mach-Zehnder modulator that has been designed with volume manufacturing in mind. The device targets the fast growing telecom market’s 40G ultra-long-haul segment and competes favorably with existing technologies, such as Lithium Niobate, in terms of performance.

Ovum’s most recent Optical Component Forecast reports that 40G modulators will be the fastest growing segment of the telecom modulator market, growing at a 42 percent CAGR from $13M in 2009 to $105M in 2014.

GigOptix’s Electro-Optic polymer technology offers significant advantages over the existing crystalline semiconductor technologies used today.

These include: simpler manufacturing, larger bandwidth, smaller form factor, lower weight, lower drive voltages and immunity to radiation which is particularly important for defense and aerospace markets.

GigOptix also has carried out full thermal stability and FIT characterization of the product and is now in the process of aggressively reducing the device costs.

Friday, August 7, 2009

MEMSIC intros smaller, low-power dual-axis magnetic sensor

ANDOVER, USA: MEMSIC Inc., a leading MEMS solution provider, combining proprietary MEMS technology with advanced mixed signal processing and system solutions, has released its new low profile Dual-Axis Magnetic Sensor, the MMC212xMR, which will enable the integration of digital compass functionality into a broad range of industrial, consumer, and mobile handset applications.

MEMSIC’s new MMC212xMR integrates two-axis magnetic sensors and electronic circuits resulting in an easy to use solution for system designers.

It utilizes the same Anisotropic Magnetoresistive (AMR) technology as MEMSIC’s MMC2120XM magnetic sensor product, but the MMC212xMR is packaged in a significantly smaller package (3.0x3.0x1.0mm), which is important to board space critical applications like mobile handsets.

The MMC212xMR works with MEMSIC’s Intelligent Heading Correction (IHC) library of auto-calibration and dynamic compensation algorithms to provide industry leading compass performance.

MEMSIC’s IHC algorithms enable the compass to establish and maintain an accurate heading with normal use and without rigorous procedures for manually calibrating the device. These capabilities lead to a more robust and user-friendly solution, providing the end-user with much more accurate heading information.

The MMC212xMR draws only 0.55mA of current, making it one of the most power efficient Dual-Axis magnetic sensors, and it is highly suitable for power sensitive designs. The MMC212xMR is ideally suited for applications such as mobile handsets, personal navigation devices and sports watches.

Pricing for the product starts at $1.90 per unit for 1,000 units.

Microvision signs agreement with OSRAM for green and blue lasers

REDMOND, USA: Microvision Inc. has entered into a supply agreement with OSRAM Opto Semiconductors GmbH for the supply of green and blue lasers -- key components of Microvision’s PicoP display engine.

The announcement is the second Microvision has made in recent months regarding procurement of green lasers for use in the company’s PicoP display engine and accessory pico projector product called SHOWWX.

Following recent success commercializing its blue laser technology, OSRAM has fourth quarter commercialization plans for its green frequency doubled laser for use in Microvision’s PicoP display engine. OSRAM is one of the world's leading manufacturers of optoelectronic semiconductors for lighting, sensor and visualization applications.

“We see a significant market opportunity for pico projectors,” said Frank Moellmer, Vice President & General Manager, Business Segment Infrared of OSRAM Opto Semiconductors.

“Our focused multi-year effort to develop efficient frequency doubled green lasers for consumer applications has positioned us to begin commercial production soon. We look forward to supporting the very large market opportunity offered by pico projection display technologies as developed by Microvision.”

“OSRAM has extensive laser development and manufacturing experience and we are pleased to leverage the significant progress the OSRAM team made in the development and commercialization of compact, high-speed blue and green lasers for our products," said Alexander Tokman, President and CEO of Microvision. “We look forward to continuing our strategic relationship with OSRAM to enable high volume PicoP based products and applications."

Schneider Electric acquires Meher Capacitors

BANGALORE, INDIA: Schneider Electric announced that it has acquired from the MEHER Group, “Meher Capacitors”, which is the leader in the Indian power factor correction Market, serving primarily industrial, commercial, and infrastructure sectors.

MEHER has pioneered and nurtured the design and manufacture of Self Healing Power Factor Correction (PFC) capacitors and systems in India since the early eighties and currently possesses state of art technologies as well as comprehensive products and solutions for PFC, harmonic filtering and network analysis.

In addition, it has in active development technology platforms which are essential for the evolution of future generation PFC capacitors.

Olivier Blum, Country President of Schneider Electric in India, commented: “With this move, Schneider Electric adds another significant facet to its leadership position in Energy Efficiency in India. It was the logical next step after the recent acquisition announced two months ago.

"We now have a unique and comprehensive offer portfolio in the field of energy efficiency encompassing measurement, power quality correction, automation, and monitoring. Our recently formed Energy Management Business Unit can address the full lifecycle of any of our Customers’ energy efficiency needs, be it for an industrial set-up, a commercial building, an electrical utility, or in the infrastructure sector."

Russell Stocker, Executive Vice-President of Schneider Electric’s Asia-Pacific Operating Division, added: "The PFC business of MEHER has a unique blend of cutting edge technologies, high quality products, competitive cost structure, and a very talented team. The fast growing energy efficiency field in India and across international markets will benefit from it.

"We will grow the PFC business of MEHER five times in the next four years, with nearly half of it in the export markets of Asia-Pacific, Middle-East, South America, and Europe."

Mustafa Wajid, CEO, MEHER Group, concluded: "The transaction with Schneider Electric is yet another recognition of MEHER’s multi-faceted strengths and capabilities, and of the position it held in the business of power factor correction.

"The combination of MEHER’s technology, its team and Schneider Electric’s strong international presence creates a powerful force which will accelerate movement towards global leadership in the Power Factor Correction domain. We at MEHER see this development as an important milestone in our growth journey."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SB LiMotive to supply Li-ion battery cells for BMW’s "Megacity Vehicle" project

STUTTGART, GERMANY & SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: SB LiMotive, the Samsung SDI and Bosch joint venture, will supply lithium-ion battery cells to BMW.

The German automaker will install the battery cells in its first electric car, which is currently being developed as part of the "Megacity Vehicle" project. The zero-emission vehicles will go into series production in the first half of the next decade.

“The decision is an important milestone on the way to series production of the Megacity Vehicle. The battery is a key component in any electric vehicle, since it determines its range and performance. In SB LiMotive, we have found a supplier that offers us the best available technology, and that combines German automotive competence with Korean battery know-how,” said Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the BMW AG board, explaining the decision.

Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, said: “This success is mainly the result of SB LiMotive’s efforts to enter the market with an innovative and competitive technology even before the company is one year old." And Soon Taek Kim, CEO of Samsung SDI, said "acquiring this project is an important step toward gaining a foothold in the market for electric cars.”

Young Woo Park, President of SB LiMotive: “Between now and 2013, we will invest $500 million in the development and manufacturing of lithium-ion cells and battery systems for hybrid and electric cars.”

Dr. Joachim Fetzer, Executive Vice President of SB LiMotive, said: “We aim to quickly establish ourselves as a leading cell and battery system supplier in all markets worldwide. Out of 100 million newly produced vehicles in 2020, we expect to see some three million electric cars and plug-in hybrids as well as six million hybrid vehicles.”

One of the main reasons why BMW opted for SB LiMotive’s lithium-ion battery technology was the combined know-how of its parent companies Samsung SDI and Bosch. Samsung SDI brings extensive large-scale series production experience into the partnership, as well as manufacturing competence in the area of lithium-ion cell production.

Moreover, the company is an innovation and development leader in the realm of lithium-ion technology. The company already produces a wide range of lithium-ion batteries for use in laptops, cell phones, and power tools. For its part, Bosch can contribute its comprehensive systems competence when it comes to integrating lithium-ion technology in the overall concept of the automobile.

In its business unit for hybrid and electric drives, Bosch has comprehensive know-how in the areas of power electronics, electric motors, transmissions, and DC/DC converters. Some years ago, moreover, Bosch was the first power-tool manufacturer to successfully integrate lithium-ion batteries.

Molex intros Mini-Fit H2O mid-range power connector

LISLE, USA: Molex Inc. has introduced the Mini-Fit H2O weatherproof, compact connection system designed for wire-to-wire applications of up to 9.0A per circuit.

The Mini-Fit H2O connector system is IP67-rated, which ensures connector integrity when submersed in up to one meter of water. The product family consists of plug and receptacle assemblies and male and female crimp terminals.

The plug and receptacle assemblies are equipped with pre-installed interface and wire seals, providing customers with a lower applied cost compared to connectors with manually installed seals.

“Molex continues to be a leader in the connector marketplace by developing products that not only excel in challenging conditions but save customers time and money,” said Tom Orton, product manager, Molex. “The Mini-Fit H2O family’s pre-installed seals provide a superior water- and dust-tight connection and significantly reduce installer assembly time.”

The compact size of the Mini-Fit H2O make it the preferred choice for tight-space applications such as those found in automotive, lighting systems and medical devices. The terminals have a new "wingless" design that will not damage seals upon installation or removal.

Terminals will accept both 18 and 20 AWG, UL 1015 wires. Other features include a positive-locking system to ensure the connectors are securely mated and prevent accidental unmating, and UV-stabilized materials which allow the products to be exposed to direct sunlight.

Anritsu's world’s first dedicated Bluetooth audio test set

MORGAN HILL, USA: Anritsu Co. has introduce the MT8855A, the world’s first integrated test set capable of measuring the new generation of products using the Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), headset profile, and handsfree profile.

Providing frequency coverage of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, the MT8855A offers lower cost-of-test, significantly reduced development time, and greater confidence in the quality of products shipped compared to alternative multi-instrument test systems consisting of Bluetooth controllers, generators and analyzers.

The MT8855A is an ideal instrument for both design verification and manufacturing test of Bluetooth audio products, including headsets, mobile phones, digital music players, integrated and after-market car kits, and desktop speakers.

It establishes a standard Bluetooth link with a Device Under Test (DUT) then performs all key measurements, including level, frequency response, and Total Harmonic Distortion and Noise (THD+N), via its internal audio generators and analyzers.

Measurements are conducted quickly, as a five-point frequency response plus THD+N, stereo separation, and stereo phase test is typically conducted in less than 15 seconds, including inquiry and connect time.

BlueAudio software
Anritsu has developed BlueAudio software for use with the MT8855A. Easily installed on a PC connected to the MT8855A via USB, BlueAudio is used for instrument set up and display of all results in a convenient Windows-style graphical interface. For high-volume production applications, BlueAudio includes an “Auto Test” mode that allows users to define and run a sequence of tests automatically as a “Test Plan” for fast and accurate measurements.

BlueAudio features a measurement suite that supports all key parameters, including level, THD+N, stereo separation and stereo phase, to fully characterize audio products in production. For design verification and R&D applications, BlueAudio can display an audio FFT, frequency response curves, and THD+N against level and THD+N against frequency.

The MT8855A Bluetooth Audio Test Set has a US price of $9,950 and delivery is two to four weeks ARO.

ADA Technologies receives $100,000 for advanced Li-ion battery research

DENVER, USA: ADA Technologies, Inc. received a $100,000 grant from the Department of Energy to continue research into the development of high performance, safe and long-lasting lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

Rechargeable Li-ion batteries are needed for advanced transportation technologies, including electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Efforts to move these technologies forward have been hampered by the limited energy/power densities, flammability and short life cycle of current state-of-the-art Li-ion batteries. Li-ion batteries also are used in consumer and medical electronics, as well as in utility, military and defense applications.

ADA’s research focuses on the use of nanocomposite technology to overcome the current limitations.

“ADA has developed a nanocomposite technology that combines high performance nanocomposite electrodes with environmentally friendly electrolytes to create advanced Li-ion batteries,” said Wen Lu, Ph.D., ADA senior research scientist and principal investigator. “High performing, safe and long-lasting Li-ion batteries are key to the ongoing development of zero-emission advanced transportation technologies and have numerous other applications.”

ADA has received more than $1 million in grant money for advanced energy storage technology R&D, including the development of Li-ion batteries and ultracapacitors.

ASSET’s Dispatcher for ScanWorks applies tests simultaneously to unlimited PCBs

RICHARDSON, USA: The new Dispatcher for ASSET InterTech’s ScanWorks platform for embedded instrumentation manages the application of tests and diagnostics on an unlimited number of circuit boards in parallel.

The circuit boards being tested can be local to the ScanWorks platform or on the other side of the globe. ASSET is the leading supplier of open tools for embedded instrumentation for design validation, test and debug.

“Dispatcher for the ScanWorks platform is particularly cost-effective in high-volume manufacturing or where multiple boards are being tested in an environmental chamber,” said Dave Bonnett, technical marketing manager. “Testing many boards in parallel reduces the number of testers and makes operators more productive.”

Dispatcher works with ScanWorks’ Remote Instrumentation Controller Model 1000 (RIC-1000), a self-contained intelligent controller that connects a unit under test (UUT) to ScanWorks over an Ethernet or Internet connection and applies tests or diagnostics to the UUT. For Dispatcher to manage the test and diagnostic process on multiple UUTs, each UUT must be connected to an RIC-1000.

Dispatcher also simplifies the tracking of test results from multiple circuit boards. Test results are formatted as XML files to ease data retrieval and processing. In addition, Dispatcher comes with an application programming interface (API) that simplifies the customization of the user interface or Dispatcher’s integration into test environments such as National Instruments’ LabVIEW or TestStand.

Pricing for a Dispatcher license for a single UUT starts at $4,995. Dispatcher will be generally available during the third quarter of 2009. Initially, Dispatcher supports boundary scan test and in-system programming. Support for other embedded instrumentation test technologies will be available soon.