Tuesday, August 31, 2010

National Semiconductor’s WEBENCH LED architect simplifies and speeds lighting design

HONG KONG: National Semiconductor Corp. announced the addition of WEBENCH LED Architect to its award-winning portfolio of online WEBENCH Designer tools.

The first of its kind, WEBENCH LED Architect enables both novice and expert designers to perform real-time comparisons and optimize complex lighting systems for performance, size and cost in minutes.

To start a design, the designer enters desired light output (lumens) and adjusts the design with the unique WEBENCH Optimizer Dial, evaluating size, conversion efficiency and cost trade-offs.

The designer can order components for prototyping, share the complete system with others, or easily print a complete project report including schematics, bill of materials (BOM) and performance characteristics.

Aptina unveils 8MP complete camera solution

SAN JOSE, USA: Aptina, the leading innovator of CMOS imaging technology, announced the availability of its new feature-rich 8MP CCS8140 imaging solution.

Leveraging the company’s pixel, processing and packaging innovations, the CCS8140 solution combines a high-quality MT9E013 8MP CMOS image sensor with an Aptina MT9E311 imaging co-processor while maintaining speeds similar to a standalone image processor.

The fully tuned, Aptina CCS8140 complete camera solution offers best-in-class image quality while requiring only minimal tuning and sensor adjustments to complete the final product design. The solution affords mobile handset OEMs and camera module integrators not only shorter design time and improved performance advantages, but also lower development and overall systems costs.

Aptina’s CCS8140 solution offers digital still camera (DSC) image quality and advanced functionality, such as face and scene detection, and enabling new applications such as visual search. The CCS8140 solution offers up to 250MP/second throughput processing, enabling low latency, low shutter lag, and fast 1080p/30fps high-definition (HD) video recording. Aptina’s CCS8140 complete camera solution supports two-lane MIPI output for easy integration with downstream processors.

"Traditionally, camera module integrators and mobile handset OEMs have had to source their 8MP sensor and co-processing solution from two different sources, and then spend considerable time and resources in tuning for image quality" said Farshid Sabet, VP and GM of Aptina's Mobile, PC Gaming Business Unit at Aptina.

"With the SoC-like configuration of the Aptina CCS8140 imaging solution, we are removing the compatibility and cost concerns associated with using standalone components and the image processing and improving performance beyond SoCs. We are pleased to provide a complete camera solution in a form that allows module integrators and handset OEMs to meet stringent time-to-market requirements, while lowering design risk and costs."

Sampling now, Aptina’s CCS8140 solution is available as bare die or as packaged parts. Mass production is scheduled for CYQ4 2010.

OSI Systems receives $4 million order for optoelectronic sensors

HAWTHORNE, USA: OSI Systems Inc., a vertically-integrated provider of specialized electronic products for critical applications in the Security and Healthcare industries, announced that OSI Optoelectronics, a business within its Optoelectronic and Manufacturing division, has received orders valued at approximately $4 million from a major aerospace company for optical sensors used in inertial guidance systems.

These systems are utilized for precision guidance and control for military and commercial aircrafts, helicopters, cruise missiles, satellites, space launch and military ground vehicles.

OSI Systems CEO, Deepak Chopra stated, “OSI has provided key components in critical guidance applications for over 20 years and we are proud to develop photo sensor technology utilized in critical aerospace and defense applications.”

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tsinghua Tongfang selects Veeco as primary MOCVD supplier for new China LED factory

PLAINVIEW, USA: Veeco Instruments Inc. announced that Tsinghua Tongfang Co., a Beijing-based, publicly listed division of the Tsinghua Holdings Company Ltd, has selected Veeco as its primary supplier of Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) systems for their new light-emitting diode (LED) factory. Veeco booked the initial systems from a large multi-tool purchase order earlier this month.

Wang Lianghai, VP of Tsinghua Tonfang commented: “After thorough evaluation of available MOCVD systems at our Beijing LED R&D site, we selected Veeco as our primary supplier for our new production facility in NanTong which is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

“The TurboDisc K465i MOCVD systems were the clear winner in terms of cost of ownership and productivity. We have an aggressive plan to ramp production of LEDs primarily to address backlighting demand for TVs, and Veeco’s technology, tool performance and customer support best matched our needs.”

Bill Miller, executive VP, GM of Veeco's MOCVD Operations, said: “Tsinghua Tongfang has put together an exciting new enterprise, moving from the lighting engineering business directly into the manufacture of LEDs. They have solid financial backing and an experienced technology team, and we are pleased to support their production ramp.”

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Advanced Battery Technologies update on new battery orders

NEW YORK, USA: Advanced Battery Technologies Inc., a leading developer, manufacturer and distributor of rechargeable Polymer Lithium-Ion (PLI) batteries, announced that on August 24, 2010 it signed a polymer lithium-ion phosphate battery supply contract with Hengmin Opto-electrical Tech Co., which is based in DongGuan City, Guangdong Province.

Hengmin is primarily engaged in lithium-battery pack assembly and power management systems production and sales.

The contract amount is valued at approximately $5.7 million and shipment will begin within 30 days. ABAT will deliver lithium-ion phosphate battery packs, which provide the power source for LED lights, walkie-talkies and street lamps. The street lamp product will use the large lithium-ion phosphate battery with 50AH capacity per single battery cell.

Zhiguo Fu, chairman and CEO of Advanced Battery Technologies, stated: "We are pleased about this new battery order. Hengmin has researched the market and compared our batteries with competitors and their order is a further validation of the quality and value of our Company's polymer lithium-ion batteries.

"We view this contract as a confirmation of our commitment to research and development and we will continue our efforts of providing the most updated and advanced technology for our customers."

Audio Precision enjoys record pre-orders for new production test audio analyzer

BEAVERTON, USA: Audio Precision, the recognized standard in audio test and measurement, shipped the first units of its new APx515 production test audio analyzer along with version 2.6 of its APx500 audio analyzer software.

APx515 is a best-in-class instrument for its speed, performance, automation, and ease-of-use. Despite its low cost, APx515 still has excellent performance, with a typical THD+N of –106 dB and 192K digital I/O as well as the one-click automation and ease-of-use of all APx Series audio analyzers.

The APx515 was first announced in May 2010 at the AES Europe tradeshow. Pre-shipment orders have exceeded all of AP's previous new model introductions, and now with the operating software released, the first units are being shipped to customers around the world.

"We've had to triple our production forecast for the 515," says Dave Schmoldt, President of Audio Precision. "It's by the far the most successful product introduction I've seen at AP."

In addition to supporting the APx515, APx500 v2.6 software adds the ability to perform mathematical and statistical operations with all APx audio analyzer models. Unique in the industry, these functions work within the analyzer UI with no programming required, saving hours of time when performing advanced audio analysis.

"With derived measurements, you can measure the idle noise of a device and automatically find the maximum, minimum, and standard deviation -- all without ever leaving APx," says Daniel Knighten, VP of Products and Sales. "You may never have to open Excel again."

Friday, August 27, 2010

APC launches 600VA back-UPS

BANGALORE, INDIA: APC by Schneider Electric, a global leader in critical power and cooling services, today launched BR600CI-IN – a high performance, value-for-money 600VA PC UPS, perfect for the home and SOHO environments and harsh Indian power conditions.

The new BR600CI-IN UPS specifically addresses uninterrupted computing needs of Indian PC users. According to a recent IMRB survey one in every four urban households today owns a PC.

Numerous studies also indicate that on an average, users spend a minimum of two to four hours daily on their personal computer working on documents, surfing, e-mailing, networking, sharing digital photos, blogging, downloading music/videos from the internet and enjoying conveniences of online trading, banking and bill payments.

However, power cuts continue to be an expensive interruption to this increased dependence on the PC. Every major city in the country is today seriously challenged when it comes to continuous power supply. Harmful power fluctuations also result in critical data loss, burnt motherboard, hard disk crash, monitor failure or keyboard lock ups.

The new BR600CI-IN UPS guarantees peace of mind by protecting sensitive electronics of a PC from extreme voltage fluctuation through its ‘Automatic Voltage Regulation’ feature.

It also enables customers to enjoy 21 minutes of reliable backup time due to superior best-in-class battery, so that they can continue to surf, chat, email and download even through power cuts.

Intertek continues investment into battery/energy storage testing

CHICAGO, USA: Intertek, a leader in testing, inspection and certification, has made significant investments in new battery/energy storage test equipment throughout Europe, North America, and Asia.

Recently the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) indicated a move toward "next generation" batteries which allow longer and faster run times, reduce dependence on other sources of energy, lessen the environmental impact of modern technologies, and lead to smaller and lighter electronics.

Next generation batteries are predicted to impact nearly every industry, including solar energy, electric vehicles, wind energy, medical, IT and aerospace. Intertek is now poised to assist manufacturers to ensure battery safety, reliability and conformance to regulatory standards.

Specifically addressing the rapidly evolving automotive battery market (hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and electric vehicles), Intertek’s Detroit, Michigan laboratory recently purchased 5 moderate and large format battery cycling systems. In addition to over 500 small format battery test stations, the new systems offer the ability to test up 30 mid-size and large format battery packs, for military, electric vehicle, and backup power/UPS applications.

“With rapid advancements in battery and power source technologies, Intertek is responding to the needs of the market by investing in state-of-the-art test equipment around the world,” said Tim Hubbard, Director of Operations.

“Combined with our energy storage advisory services, existing simulated durability and environmental test capabilities, Intertek is the only global, full-service provider that enables manufacturers to rapidly develop and launch safer, more reliable products that are dependant on power sources.”

Along with the 2009 acquisition of Sagentia Catella AB, a world-renowned laboratory and consultancy for the battery/energy storage industry, this expansion fortifies Intertek’s position as the premier global service provider for battery and energy storage manufacturers.

Alpha and Omega Semiconductor intros high efficiency six-channel white LED driver for notebooks

SUNNYVALE, USA: Alpha and Omega Semiconductor Ltd (AOS) announced the release of AOZ1960, a high-efficiency multi-string DC-DC boost white LED driver.

The new product features an integrated 55V low on-resistance boost switch, a wide dimming range, and extensive protection features. It provides an ideal LCD backlighting solution for the latest generation of notebook computers.

The internal 55V boost power switch enables customers to drive up to 15 LEDs in series per string, allowing for bigger and brighter displays. Additionally the boost power switch features a low on-resistance of 140mW, reducing DC-DC conversion switching losses and delivering efficiencies over 90 percent to maximize battery life.

The AOZ1960 provides both analog dimming and digital PWM dimming with 256 steps of dimming resolution. The LED current can be easily programmed with an external resistor, and the internal current regulators ensure the six parallel strings of LEDs have optimal current matching.

The new device offers extensive protection features such as cycle-by-cycle current limit, over-voltage protection, and open/short LED detection. The AOZ1960 also includes an integrated low on-resistance input switch that protects against catastrophic output short-circuit or overload fault conditions.

Song Qu, director of Power IC Marketing at AOS, said: "Traditional boost regulators cannot protect against output short circuit conditions. To improve system reliability, designers often need to use an external MOSFET or fuse at the input of boost LED driver. The AOZ1960 solves this design challenge by integrating a low on-resistance input protection switch. This feature significantly enhances system robustness, simplifies designs, and reduces component count."

The AOZ1960 is available immediately. The unit price for 1,000 pieces is US$1.48. The product is housed in a 7mm x 4mm 24-pin DFN package.

China plans to increase over 1,200 MOCVDs

TAIWAN: According to LEDinside, the research division of TrendForce Corp. has lately published a Report on China’s LED Chip Industry in 2010, pointing out that over 1200 MOCVDs have been planned for LED industry in China in the upcoming few years, of which, more than 300 units will be added in 2010.

LEDinside believes, in light of historical experiences, the annual MOCVD increase in practice is less than the planned number. However, the planned MOCVD number still reflects the rapid development of China’s LED chip industry.

At least six manufacturers have set the MOCVD purchase plan to over 100 units, for example, both Xiamen Sanan and Elec-Tech International have ordered more than 100 MOCVDs. The main reasons for MOCVD increase are subsidy policies of local governments and the promising LED market outlook, which have greatly encouraged manufacturers to massively introduce MOCVD equipment.

In view of the fiscal subsidy for MOCVD introduction, LED chip enterprises can receive a MOCVD introduction subsidy of RMB 8~10 million Yuan per unit from local government, which will substantially reduce their equipment purchase cost and enable a significant rise of planned MOCVD number.

The government fiscal subsidy policy is the major cause for LED manufacturers to plan large-scale MOCVD introduction. Moreover, local government MOCVD subsidy allows more mainstream LED chip enterprises from Taiwan, U.S and other regions into China market.

In addition to the enormous market potential of the general lighting in future, new LED application areas are continuously growing while the markets of existing LED applications are becoming more and more mature. LEDinside says, in China, there is always a market entrance rush as soon as a new industry emerges.

The number of LED chip plants has soared in the past more than a year thus the planned MOCVD number has followed to increase.

Meanwhile, most companies have little understanding of the status quo of China’s LED chip manufacturers, for instances, the number of LED chip enterprises, the planned MOCVD number of each one, the total planned MOCVD number, the forecast of MOCVD market volume, etc. A lack of accurate investigation into China’s LED chip industry has resulted into blind industry entries and the overoptimism about the planned MOCVD number of many manufacturers.

Finally, the shortage of related technology talents turns out to be inevitable. Because of the unexpected increase of China’s LED chip enterprise, most of which have MOCVD introduction plans, R&D personnel shortage will become a great challenge. Personnel will play an important role in the future market success of China’s LED chip enterprises.

LEDinside has made an in-depth research on the status quo of China’s LED chip industry and a detailed analysis on the planned MOCVD number of each company. Based on LEDinside’s Report on China‘s LED Chip Industry in 2010, large MOCVD amount does not necessarily mean real high productivity.

The productivity transfer comes only when the market accepts the product and the technology keep in pace with the market development.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Demand remains high for bellwether electronic part

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Much like the overall electronic components market, capacitors have experienced a surge in demand thanks to global consumer demand. Unfortunately, this demand has been tempered by long lead times, rising prices and a shortage of parts in the semiconductor industry, according to market research firm iSuppli Corp.

“Despite their tiny size and minuscule price—commonly a fraction of a cent—capacitors serve as a bellwether for demand trends in technology,” said Rick Pierson, senior analyst at iSuppli. “This is because capacitors are extensively used in nearly all electronic products. For example, Apple Inc.’s iPad contains 702 capacitors, while the iPhone 4 has 469.”

Lead indicators
While demand for aluminum capacitors remains very high, so do lead times and high prices. The average lead time, i.e. the period of time it takes to deliver a part after an order is submitted, is in the 18-week range—well beyond the normal 10 to 12 weeks expected for these parts. Generally, the longer the lead time, the higher demand is relative to supply.

Unfortunately, the long lead times—and the resulting increased prices—won’t show any significant improvement until late in the fourth quarter of 2010 or even into the first quarter of 2011, iSuppli semiconductor market research shows. Making matters worse is that aluminum foil, used as the conductor in capacitors, is in short supply, adding fuel to the fire of increased prices.

Figures 1 and 2 present global pricing trend and lead time forecasts for capacitors by type for the period of March 2010 through the first quarter of 2011.

Fig. 1: Global Pricing Trends for Various Types of Capacitors (Percentage Sequential Change in Pricing in US Dollars)Source: iSuppli, USA.

A course in ceramics
According to iSuppli electronic market forecasts, ceramic capacitors are also averaging 18-week lead times, with some products being put on allocation in view of sustained consumer demand. The hardest-hit ceramic capacitors include high-capacitance components and high-voltage parts, which will take the longest to recover, as they require more capacity to build because of their longer cycle times.

However, unlike tantalum capacitors, a diverse supply base exists for ceramic capacitors, and iSuppli is seeing manufacturers commit capital in order to expand their capabilities due to high demand. As a result of the increased capacity, combined with a slowing of consumer demand for ceramic capacitors, the segment should come back into balance by late fourth quarter.

Nonetheless, iSuppli sees the potential for spot shortages here and there, and specialty products will continue to have long lead times even though overall supply will improve significantly.

Tantamount to tantalum
For tantalum capacitors, no real short-term solution exists on supply issues, and manufacturers have been conservative in adding capacity given the mature nature of the products.

Combined with issues in the supply chain for tantalum ore, serious shortages are the order of the day for tantalum capacitors. Not surprisingly, this is the reason why lead times for the parts stretch to 20 weeks and beyond.

In addition, the recent downturn has prompted manufacturers of raw materials for tantalum capacitors to scale back significantly. Manufacturers won’t invest in further capacity without long-term commitments from capacitor manufacturers, supply chain research shows.

Such problems will continue until the end of the year, iSuppli expects, with some improvements occurring in the first quarter of 2011 as raw material issues get sorted out. And depending on the mix of product and the strategic importance of the OEM, pricing on these commodity parts can be expected to continue across the board.

Pricing should stabilize in the first quarter of 2011 but will remain at higher levels in the foreseeable future.

Fig. 2: Global Lead Time Trends for Various Types of Capacitors (Percentage Sequential Change in Lead Times in Weeks)Source: iSuppli, USA.

Molex releases ultra-small 1.28mm microSD memory card connector

LISLE, USA: Molex Inc. has released a 1.28mm height microSD memory card connector.

The ultra-small connector joins the Molex line designed for microSD applications. Molex microSD connectors reduce memory card fly-out and sticking problems in digital cameras, tablet PCs, mobile phones, and other compact consumer electronic devices.

“As personal consumer electronics trend smaller and smaller, memory card connectors are literally shrinking to keep pace,” comments Goji Tanabe, regional product manager, Molex. “Designed for the world’s smallest memory card storage systems, the Molex microSD line offers superior design flexibility, while eliminating problems commonly associated with spring-style memory card ejection systems.”

This new 1.28mm height microSD card connector is surface mountable and offered in push-push style. It includes a detect terminal for card detection, and brake features for smooth, controlled card ejection.

The connector is rated at 0.5A and 10V and includes metal shielding for ESD protection. An inner-lead terminal design provides secure contact reliability and prevents terminal stubbing during card insertion.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

PREE finalizing provisional patent application for breakthrough smartphone charger

NEW ORLEANS, USA: GoSolarUSA Inc. announced that the PREE Corp. is finalizing a provisional patent application for its PREEcharge design, which can charge portable electronics including the Apple iPhone, iPOD, and other wireless devices.

GSLO expects the provisional patent application be filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office this week. The application describes the PREEcharge, a breakthrough device that utilizes new technology to harvest power from inbound signals, including Bluetooth channels, CDMA transmissions, wireless local area networks, and more. The PREEcharge also features solar cells to supplement the power needs of smartphones and other mobile devices.

PREE stands for “Providing Reliable Energy Everywhere.” The PREE Corp. inked a profit participation agreement with GoSolarUSA in July.

“The PREEcharge is a flagship product that we believe will revolutionize the use of mobile smartphones and other portable electronics,” said Tyson Rohde, President and CEO of GSLO. “The finalization of this provisional patent application brings us one step closer to bringing the PREEcharge to market.”

The PREEcharge is designed for use with a wide range of smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone, Research in Motion’s Blackberry, and Google’s Android. Smartphone users often find that their batteries can’t keep up with the power-hungry demands of applications, with a typical smartphone battery losing 5-10 percent of its life every hour.

The PREEcharge is designed to allow smartphone users to charge their phones wirelessly using energy harvested from wireless LAN waves and solar rays.

GoSolarUSA aggressively acquires, develops, and markets the most promising and potentially profitable American solar technology possible, making the company a natural partner for the PREE Cor.

GigOptix expands 100G portfolio, samples Quad 7.5Vpp DWDM driver

PALO ALTO, USA: GigOptix Inc., a leading supplier of high performance electronic and electro-optic components that enable next generation 40G and 100G optical networks, today announced the availability for sampling of its new GX62455, a quad channel 7.5Vpp Mach-Zenhder Modulator (MZM) driver designed for 100G DP-QPSK long haul optical transmitters.

GigOptix’ GX62455 is a high voltage output, 32Gb/s quad MZM driver in a compact form factor (25x32mm) GPPO module that includes integrated low and high frequency chokes and requires no external components for fast and easy application. The connectors on the GX62455 have been designed to be form factor compatible with industry leading 100G multiplexer and modulators for easier system integration.

Key features of the GX62455 include:
* Data rate up to 32Gb/s per lane for 100G DP-QPSK applications.
* Low RMS jitter.
* Adjustable single ended Vout to 7.5Vpp.
* Adjustable eye cross point.
* Wide range of Input Voltage levels.
* Typical power consumption: 6W@Vout=7.5Vpp.

“We are ramping production of our first generation 100G driver and have now extended our offering with the GX62455 to support the higher output voltage of 7.5V while maintaining industry leading power consumption within the market’s smallest footprint,” stated Padraig O’Mathuna, VP of GigOptix.

“This MZM driver in conjunction with our current 100G GX3222 Transimpedance Amplifier (TIA) offers customers a one-stop-shop for 100G DP-QPSK applications and we intend to further develop system ‘bundles’ consisting of a driver and a TIA with future modulators that are tailored for specific DWDM applications. We are very excited to provide a complete physical layer solution to enable our customers to not only achieve optimal system performance with the smallest size but also the lowest power with the most cost competitive solution available in the market.”

In a most recent report on 100G components, Ovum forecasted that the 100G DWDM lineside market would launch in 2010 and grow to over 16,000 units by 2015 with a CAGR of 140 percent.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Avnet, Panduit celebrate 35-year connection

PHOENIX, USA: Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas, a business region of Avnet Inc., and Panduit, a global leader in electronic cable and connector products, are celebrating their 35-year partnership.

1975 was truly a landmark year, giving American television viewers the popular game show “Wheel of Fortune,” and children everywhere were given the chance to ride on Space Mountain in Disneyland. Just as these two events have stood the test of time, so has the distribution relationship between Avnet Electronics Marketing and Panduit.

As a leading manufacturer, Panduit’s full range of product systems optimally bundle, route, protect, terminate and identify cables and wires. These solutions offer innovative features to help customers remain competitive by improving both productivity and performance.

Panduit’s interconnect products have constantly evolved, meeting the increasing demands of today’s technology and business requirements in the original equipment manufacturers, construction, utilities, maintenance and repair operations, office/factory automation, transportation, education, healthcare, finance and government markets.

Pat Schrager, vice president of Panduit’s global distribution, shared, “Our relationship with Avnet Electronics Marketing has always been focused on helping our mutual customers meet their business goals efficiently, effectively and economically.”

“Avnet’s longstanding partnerships with our suppliers give our customers an added advantage when securing the technologies they need for future designs,” said Ed Smith, president of Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas. “Avnet and Panduit have forged a relationship that has stood the test of time, and we look forward to continuing it in the years to come.”

Digi-Key, Harwin sign global distribution agreement

THIEF RIVER FALLS, USA & PORTSMOUTH, UK: Digi-Key Corp. and Harwin announced that the two companies have entered into an agreement in which Digi-Key will distribute Harwin’s products to customers worldwide.

Harwin is a leading manufacturer of hi-rel connectors and SMT board hardware. With a more than 50-year history of manufacturing electronic components, Harwin has a wealth of experience in the industrial/instrumentation, military/aerospace, medical, consumer electronics, telecommunications, and test and measurement markets. Harwin products are currently available for purchase on Digi-Key’s global websites and will be featured in future print and online catalogs.

“We are very pleased to announce this distribution agreement and provide Harwin’s high quality, high reliability interconnect products to our customers,” said Jeff Shafer, Digi-Key’s vice president of interconnect, passive, and electromechanical product. “In addition to the value this agreement will bring to design engineers around the globe, this new partnership with Harwin affirms Digi-Key’s commitment to working with the world’s foremost suppliers of electronic components.”

Doug Steele, Harwin’s global vice president of catalog distribution, said: “We are delighted to have signed this distribution agreement with Digi-Key, which will enable customers worldwide to access Harwin’s Datamate hi-rel 2mm interconnect family as well as other Harwin products such as our EZ-Boardware range of surface mount PCB hardware. With this new agreement, more designers will learn about our products, bringing real benefits to the projects they are working on.”

Digi-Key launches 'Sort by Price' feature for registered users

THIEF RIVER FALLS, USA: Electronic components distributor Digi-Key Corp., recognized by design engineers as having the industry’s broadest selection of electronic components available for immediate shipment, today announced its new Sort by Price feature is available for all registered Digi-Key users.

“The Sort by Price feature is something our customers will find extremely helpful when sourcing electronic components,” said Tony Harris, Digi-Key’s chief marketing officer (CMO). “While registration is not required to place an online order or to use the Digi-Key website, we believe our new sort-by-price feature will prove to be an essential tool for registered users.”

The Sort by Price feature is available for registered Digi-Key users after logging in to their My Digi-Key accounts. This feature is based on tier 1 or unit pricing and applies to all parts, all Digi-Key websites, and all Digi-Key supported currencies.

Registered users will be able to sort by price in ascending or descending order in addition to applying filters for product in stock, lead free product, and RoHS Compliant product. An Advanced Sort option is also available and allows users to request parts in specific quantities.

“You asked, and we listened: Digi-Key is now able to provide registered Digi-Key users their most requested feature. Registered users can now sort parts by price on the Digi-Key website,” said John Collins, Digi-Key’s CIO.

“With our new Sort by Price feature, customers can view pricing of products from our vast collection of suppliers at a glance and choose the parts that best fit their particular needs. We want to enable our customers to take full advantage of this new feature and all that Digi-Key has to offer by becoming registered Digi-Key users.”

Digi-Key focuses on providing customers with superior service, which includes product selection and availability, on-time delivery, and responsiveness. Using leading-edge processes and state-of-the-art technologies, Digi-Key serves a global customer base from its 600,000 square foot facility in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, USA.

austriamicrosystems announces new 144-channel dot matrix LED driver

UNTERPREMSTAETTEN, AUSTRIA: austriamicrosystems has announced the AS1119, the most advanced and smallest LED dot-matrix driver (channels vs. PCB space) available.

The AS1119 drives 144 LEDs but requires only 9 mm² PCB space, reduces external component count, reduces connector pin count and requires fewer PCB layers.

Benefits for end users include up to 80 percent longer battery lifetime, more colorful effects and smoother running animations. The AS1119 is targeted for dot matrix displays in mobile phones, personal electronics and toys.

The AS1119 leads the industry by driving the most LEDs, each with an 8-bit dimming control and no external resistor required. Additionally, an 8-bit analog current control allows fine tuning of each matrix to compensate for different brightness of different colors, or to adjust the white balance on RGB LEDs.

The AS1119 incorporates six frames of memory for small animations or for use as a buffer to reduce host processor load, thereby saving energy and precious processing time. The AS1119 also extends battery life by including an on-chip 320 mA charge pump which is required when LEDs require a higher voltage than the battery can supply, allowing continuous operation even under low battery voltage conditions.

Other features include control via a 1 MHz I²C compatible interface, open and shorted LED error detection, and low-power shutdown current. Two modes of operation are offered making the AS1119 a very flexible part to design with -- single/bicolor mode to drive the maximum number of LEDs in two 8x9 matrix, or the RGB mode offering three times 5x6 matrix, allowing white balance by adjusting the analog current in each matrix.

“The AS1119 is the most advanced and smallest dot matrix LED driver available on the market,” stated Rene Wutte, austriamicrosystems’ marketing manager for Lighting.

“It enables creative light design with the longest battery lifetime through our intelligent power management for mobile applications. It allows our customers to create unique looking devices while minimizing design effort through the AS1119’s flexibility. The AS1119 also saves space & cost by reducing external component count, reducing connector pin count and the number of PCB layers.”

Only 18 lines are required to drive all 144 LEDs. This is accomplished with austriamicrosystems’ multiplexing technique called cross-plexing. This allows reducing the line count on the PCB as well as fewer pins on the connectors, saving space & costs.

The AS1119 is available in a 36-pin WL-CSP 3x3 mm package and operates over a temperature range of -40 to +85 °C over a wide 2.7 to 5.5 V power supply range.

Monday, August 23, 2010

July electronic component orders rise again

ARLINGTON, USA: An updated report from the Electronic Components Association (ECA) shows that electronic component orders rose in July, and not declined as reported on August 13.

The 12-month average, comparing this year’s results to last year’s, continued an ascent that began last summer.

ECA’s monthly report consolidates order information collected in confidence from leading electronic component manufacturers. Numbers are sometimes estimated based on recent trends when vendors do not report on a timely basis. The estimated numbers accounted for the erroneous report last Friday of a dip in orders for July.

“We apologize for any problems this has caused and we’re glad that we were able to uncover the mistake and correct it in a timely manner,” says Bob Willis, ECA president. “The good news is that orders continue to rise and the market is at its highest level in two years.”

Friday, August 20, 2010

MIC bags orders worth `20.64 crore

HYDERABAD, INDIA: MIC Electronics Ltd, a leader in design, development & manufacturing of LED video displays, and high end electronics and telecom equipment has secured 17 different orders collectively worth `18.63 crores from the Indian Railways in the second quarter of FY 2010-11 till date.

Of these 17 projects, most prominent include provision of a Video Train Information Display System for Eastern Railway and of Electronic Train Indication Board for Northern Railway worth `2.78 crore and `2.54 crore, respectively.

Others include provision of Information Display Systems, Electronic Coach Indication Board and Coach Guidance Display for South Western, Northern, Central, North Frontier and other Railways. These orders range from `20 lacs to `1.32 crore.

The company has also bagged orders from various other players for the supply of street lights. Sterling Gelation would be the first major SEZ in the country to be lit with LED Lights. TVS, in a drive to adopt green & eco friendly technologies has given an order worth `31 lacs to MIC Electronics.

M.V. Ramana Rao, chairman and MD, said: "We are overwhelmed to receive prestigious orders from the Indian Railways. Along with this, we also have the order for supply of LED screens for Common Wealth Games 2010 and MOA with BTGES. With such activities, we are hopeful for another successful financial year ahead."

CHAD Industries to exhibit LED wafer-handling capabilities at Semicon-Taiwan

SEMICON Taiwan 2010, ANAHEIM, USA: CHAD Industries will exhibit automated LED wafer handling capabilities at the Semicon-Taiwan trade show next month.

Building upon the strong interest that was received recently during Semicon-West, CHAD Industries and Veeco Instruments will pair up again to exhibit automated inspection for 2” Sapphire wafers in a live demonstration. CHAD Industries Inc. will be showing the WaferMate200 small wafer handling workcell, and Veeco Instruments Inc. will be showing their 3-D non-contact ContourGT-X8 inspection tool.

“CHAD’s wafer handling business continues to grow in Asia in general, and specifically in Taiwan, so we are very pleased to be exhibiting equipment this year at Semicon-Taiwan,” says Scott Klimczak – president of CHAD Industries.

“The WaferMate200 is a great example of how CHAD can provide all of the customization so that our customer’s OEM process tool can remain standard. This approach allows our OEM customers in the LED market to concentrate on their core competency (the process tool), and allows CHAD to concentrate on our core competence (wafer automation).”

CHAD Industries provides a suite of WaferMate handling workcells and custom application solutions designed to handle standard, and non-standard, wafers from 2” to 12”.

The WaferMate workcells are based upon standard solutions that are configured easily and quickly for each customer’s application from a library of developed tooling options. This ensures reliable and rapid deployment to meet the most challenging requirements.

CIVCOM shipping GigOptix’ GX6155 driver in small form factor 10G 300PIN MSA transponders

PALO ALTO, USA: GigOptix Inc., a leading supplier of high performance electronic and electro-optic components that enable next generation 40G and 100G optical networks, announced the adoption of the GX6155 modulator driver by CIVCOM, a leading manufacturer of opto-electronic components, modules and subsystems, in their Small Form Factor (SFF) 10G 300PIN Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) transponders.

The GX6155 is a high-performance 12.5G Mach-Zehnder Modulator (MZM) driver for metro and long-haul LiNbO3 optical transmitters. The GX6155 includes essential features such as MSA compatible supply voltages, low power dissipation, high input sensitivity, low jitter degradation, and the ability to precisely set the output amplitude and eye crossing point. The GX6155 is RoHS-6 compliant and is also backward compatible with non-RoHS soldering.

Gabby Shpirer CEO of CIVCOM stated: “GigOptix’ GX6155 provides the features, performance and value we require to respond to the growing market demand for CIVCOM’s family of 10G SFF 300PIN MSA Free Light DWDM transponders. The GX6155 enables us to deliver high performance, cost competitive, SFF MSA compliant products. Moreover, GigOptix has an extensive component level portfolio that offers us the opportunity to extend cooperation with GigOptix beyond 10G applications into forthcoming 40G and 100G applications.”

The GX6155 is used in CIVCOM’s Free Light Long Reach Tunable SFF 10G 300PIN MSA transponders. The Free Light transponders family is designed for DWDM applications offering equipment manufacturers high performance in a cost-effective SFF device. The SFF transponder uses a widely tunable laser covering the entire C-Band over distances up to 80 kilometers. Availability with Lithium Niobate modulator gives equipment manufacturers the flexibility to choose optimal solutions based on customer needs.

Avi Katz, CEO and chairman of the board of GigOptix, comments: “We are pleased to have been selected by CIVCOM for use in their advanced SFF MSA tunable transponder and to note the strong market traction that CIVCOM is experiencing with their solution.

“We look forward to supporting and contributing to CIVCOM’s success and extending our partnership with them as they aggressively roll out 10G and 40G solutions. In many ways CIVCOM is an ideal partner for GigOptix for technology and product development. Joint activities in this direction are ongoing and we look forward to a more fruitful relationship with CIVCOM.”

Victron Energy B.V. intros New Quattro 10000 48V

ALMERE, THE NETHERLANDS: The Victron Quattro series has reached a peak: the powerful Quattro 10kVA. This is the first 10kVA unit produced by Victron Energy B.V.

Using a Quattro makes a separate transfer switch superfluous. The result: less wiring, easier to install and less costs. The new Quattro 10kVA makes it possible to generate even more energy.

The Quattro 10000 is a combined inverter/charger with two AC inputs. One for mains and one for a generator. Or in the case of two generators: one for each generator. A transfer switch between two AC sources is therefore not needed. This integrated system is what makes the Quattro so unique, just like the earlier models, the Quattro 3kVA, 5kVA and 8kVA. In comparison with a conventional system, many devices are integrated into one.

The main output has no-break functionality. In the event of a grid failure, or shore or generator power being disconnected, the Quattro takes over the supply to the connected loads. This happens so fast (less than 20 milliseconds) that computers and other electronic equipment will continue to operate without disruption.

The second output is live only when AC is available on one of the inputs of the Quattro. Loads that should not discharge the battery, such as air-conditioning or a water heater, can be connected to this output.
PowerAssist: boosting power

Just like the Victron Multi family, the Quattro is equipped with PowerAssist. Where peak power is so often required only for a limited period, the Quattro will make sure that insufficient mains or generator power is immediately compensated by power from the battery. When the load reduces, the spare power is used to recharge the battery.

Avago completes next-gen LNAs for cellular and LTE base stations with MGA-635P8

SAN JOSE, USA & SINGAPORE: Avago Technologies announced the availability of its MGA-635P8 ultra low-noise amplifier (LNA) for base station (BTS) RF front-end design.

The MGA-635P8 can be used in a variety of cellular applications, such as: first stage of cellular base station transceiver radio cards, tower mounted amplifiers (TMA), combiners, repeaters and remote/digital radio heads.

The new MGA-635P8 LNA adds to Avago’s high linearity, ultra low-noise amplifier family series, which includes the previously released MGA-633P8 (450 MHz up to 1.5GHz) and MGA-634P8 (1.5 GHz up to 2.3 GHz). With the addition of the 2300 to 4000 MHz MGA-635P8, Avago has a complete family of production ready LNAs ready for high volume GSM, TDS-CDMA and CDMA cellular infrastructure applications.

The wireless infrastructure industry must provide optimum coverage with the best signal quality in a crowded spectrum. Receiver sensitivity is the most critical requirement in a BTS receiver’s design. LNA selection, in particular the first-stage LNA, greatly affects the BTS receiver’s performance. Low noise figure is a key design goal. The MGA-635P8 has a best-in-class noise figure (NF) of 0.56 dB, 0.75 dB maximum, at 2500 MHz.

Another key design factor is linearity, which affects the receiver’s ability to distinguish between closely spaced wanted and spurious signals. Output third-order intercept, OIP3, is used to specify linearity. At 2500 MHz and operating from 5 V with a 56 mA bias current, Avago’s MGA-635P8 delivers a superior OIP3 performance of 35.9 dBm.

IXYS intros demo boards for new LED driver family

MILPITAS, USA & BIEL, SWITZERLAND: IXYS Corp. has released demo boards for the LDS8710/11, LDS8720/24/26, an innovative inductor-based, high efficiency family of LED drivers that eliminates the external Schottky diode normally used in the rectification loop.

The LDS8711 uses a patent pending SmartOne Wire Interface to set maximum LED current in the range from 0.5 to 32 mA in 0.25 mA steps and PWM dimming control and it is able to drive a string of 10 WLEDs.

The LDS8710 drives a string of 10 LEDs with factory-preset maximum LED current values of 20, 25 and 30 mA with 1 percent accuracy and it uses PWM dimming to adjust LED brightness. LDS8720/24 and LDS8726 use PWM dimming to adjust the LED brightness and are able to drive up to 40 LEDs and 42 WLEDs, respectively, at 30 mA current each. The LED drivers provide full output power from a single-cell Lithium-Ion battery or supply voltage in the range from 2.7 to 5.5 V.

LDS8710/11/20/24/26 family demo boards
Demo boards are a two-layer fully assembled and tested surface mount boards, which provide easy probe access points to all LED Driver’s inputs and outputs allowing the user to quickly connect and measure electrical characteristics and waveforms. Demo boards contain one driver with LED matrix corresponding to the maximum number of LEDs that may be driven by a particular driver.

The LED matrix common wire has a 1-ohm 1 percent resistor in series that allows easy current measurement without circuit interruption. Every 1 mV of voltage drop across this resistor is equal to a 1mA LED current. The test points allow direct current measurement of the drivers. To measure the current across the LED, a current meter should be connected instead of a 1-ohm resistor.

The demo boards allow both internal and external LED brightness control. Jumper is used for selection between an internal PWM generator and an external signal source. The external PWM input is TTL compatible. The Demo boards can be powered either from three AAA alkaline batteries inserted in the battery holder, or from an external voltage source connected between the GND and Vin pin.

The LDS8710/11 are ideal for (up to 7”) LCD display backlight applications such as smart phones, portable multimedia devices, E-books, personal navigation systems, personal medical displays and digital photo frames where battery life, display size, resolution and brightness are critical.

The LDS8720/24/26 are ideal for (up to 15”) LCD display backlight applications such as automotive displays, GPS, NetBooks, laptop PCs, tablet computers and industrial and medical displays. Both device families are suitable to drive high brightness LEDs for lighting applications, such as battery powered high intensity flash lights, security lights, automotive lights and street lights.

Coupled with the Zilog micro-controllers (MCUs), and the Zilog motion sensing technology, with these drivers, IXYS provides the whole system solution for automated high efficiency lighting control based on occupancy and as needed.

Each device in the family is a fixed frequency current-mode boost converter with a cycle-by-cycle current limit and features a patent pending, integrated synchronous rectifier, which eliminates the external Schottky diode and the need for complicated and costly isolation FETs. This reduces the bill of material and footprint of the display subsystem and also simplifies the design-in process and time to market of the end product.

The LDS8710/11/20 drivers are fixed 0.7MHz frequency drivers, while the LDS8724/26 drivers operate at 1 MHz. The devices offer a wide PWM dimming frequency range (100Hz to 10 KHz) and a robust protection system (over-voltage, over-temperature, under-voltage and over-current), while the shut down current is below 1 microamp.

The LDS8710/11 drivers do not need an external current-sense resistor and this further simplifies the system; the LDS8720/24/26 drivers require an external current-sense resistor to set LED current.

Since this family of LED drivers operates at a high switching frequency, small low profile passive components (10-33 microhenry inductors and 1 microfarad 50V ceramic capacitor) can be used, which further reduces the system’s bill of material cost and allows a thin profile of the backlight unit. The system achieves higher than 86 percent efficiency.

All devices are available in a tiny 2x3x0.8 mm 8-pin TDFN package.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Revenue for key LCD component set to undergo contraction

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Global revenue from sales of a key component used in LCD screens—the Display Driver IC (DDI) —will decline during the next three quarters as rising inventory, slowing consumer demand and technological innovation conspire to cause a deceleration in shipments, according to the electronic display research firm iSuppli Corp.

While DDI revenue rose steadily during the first two quarters of 2010, the reverse will be true for the last two quarters of the year, as well as for the first quarter of 2011.

Starting from $1.63 billion in the second quarter, DDI revenue will dip to $1.59 billion in the third quarter, slide further to $1.51 in the fourth quarter, and then take a dive to $1.36 billion in the first quarter of 2011. By then, DDI revenue will have fallen a hefty 16.2 percent compared to the second quarter of 2010.

The figure shows iSuppli’s DDI semiconductor revenue forecast from the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2011.Source: iSuppli, USA.

DDIs are semiconductors that provide the voltage or drive signals for LCD as well as for Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) and plasma displays.

“Despite continued growth in the global LCD market, concerns over inventory build-up and slipping consumer confidence in the Western hemisphere will work to slow order rates for DDI components during the next three quarters,” said Randy Lawson, manager and principal analyst for display and consumer electronics at iSuppli. “Rising unit shipments of panels in applications including LCD-TVs and netbooks will not translate into stable growth for the large-panel DDI sector.”

Large panels account for 60 percent of total DDI market revenue.

“DDI unit growth also will be offset to a significant degree by the evolving technology of Thin Film Transistor (TFT) panels, an LCD variant that offers improved image quality,” Lawson said.

“Large-sized LCD panel technology and semiconductor trends are heading toward the use of so-called triple-gate designs, which integrate more complex semiconductor functionality onto panels and reduce external, discrete driver IC design complexity in order to lower costs and to increase reliability of notebook and monitor displays. The new designs call for fewer discrete driver chips to be used, thus impacting the overall growth potential of the DDI space.”

Furthermore, the DDI market will be buffeted by continuous cost-down measures from an industry that’s intent on slashing losses, as well as by projected declines in the Average Selling Price from 2010 to 2014—developments that will further exacerbate revenue woes.

As a result, the industry’s five-year CAGR beginning 2009 is expected to decline 5.2 percent to $4.2 billion, iSuppli semiconductor market research indicates.

Pockets of strength do exist that can help compensate for the general slide in DDI revenue. Uplifting factors include the adoption of stunning OLED screens into a greater number of mobile display applications, the newly energized market for eReaders and tablet PCs, and the increased implementation of high-definition panels in monitors and TVs.

Source: iSuppli, USA.

Wireless charging of mobile devices has market potential of $4.3 billion by 2014

SCOTTSDALE, USA: The growth of mobile devices combined with the increasing consumer aggravation with different and often proprietary charging solutions for each device is fueling an opportunity for wireless charging systems. The market for wireless charging systems will reach $4.3 billion in total market revenue by 2014, according to In-Stat.

While several different technologies are vying for market position, they all offer the benefits of charging mobile devices ranging from handsets to PCs simply by touching or being within proximity of a charging station. Another benefit is that many of these charging solutions can be hidden or seamlessly integrated into furniture or automobiles.

"Despite the long history of the various technologies, we are really just now beginning to see the true market potential for wireless charging solutions," says Jim McGregor, In-Stat's Chief technology Strategist.

"Like many other technology markets, it will start with add-on and third-party solutions. Eventually solutions will be integrated into many mobile electronics as the costs decrease and the demand increases. While still a fraction of the overall mobile device segment, wireless charging is just beginning to hit its stride in the market."

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:
* Approximately 44 percent of survey respondents found current mobile charging solutions are an annoyance. Up to 40 percent are willing to pay $50 more for a wireless charging solution, depending on the mobile device.
* As with other technologies, prices are expected to degrade rapidly to about half of current pricing by 2014.
* Tightly coupled inductive charging systems are expected to be the early market leader.
& Of the integrated charging solutions, over two-thirds are expected to be in cars.

Lineage Power signs global distribution agreement with Nu Horizons Electronics

MELVILLE & PLANO, USA: Nu Horizons Electronics Corp.), a leading global distributor of advanced technology semiconductor, display, power, illumination, system and telecommunication solutions, and Lineage Power Corp., a Gores Group company and the first name in power, have signed a distribution agreement.

The agreement, which is effective immediately, involves the distribution of Lineage Power's end-to-end, AC-DC power supplies and DC-DC board mounted power modules for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) throughout Nu Horizons' global network.

"The addition of Lineage to our power portfolio offers our customers quality products at competitive prices," said Kent Smith, president - global distribution group for Nu Horizons. "Our partnership gives design engineers access to Lineage Power's Tunable Loop and Total Efficiency technologies that accelerate new product development schedules and help achieve sustainability objectives. Lineage provides embedded power supplies and power conversion solutions for the most demanding applications within the datacom, telecom, medical, military and industrial markets."

"Nu Horizons' proven technical engineering team and reputation for outstanding customer service make them an ideal partner," said Jeff Frank, president of the Lineage OEM Embedded Power division.

"Our power solutions offer size, efficiency, and cost advantages while dramatically reducing risk and improving reliability. Nu Horizons brings superior demand creation plus comprehensive field sales expertise and precision world-class logistics, offering Lineage the opportunity to reach more customers throughout North America, Europe and Asia."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Auto component industry records 20 percent growth; turnover $22 billion

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Auto Components Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), the apex body representing India’s auto component manufacturing industry, announced the findings of its industry performance review for fiscal 2009-10.

The turnover of the auto component industry, which includes supplies to the vehicle manufacturers, aftermarket sales and exports, but sans the imports stood at `103,400 crores ($22 billion) for the period April 2009 to March 2010, registering a growth of 20 percent over the previous year.

This, however, does not include components manufactured by vehicle manufacturers for their captive consumption; components manufactured by non-ACMA member companies, a majority of whose supplies are non-automotive in nature, and the unorganised sector.

Auto component consumption in 2008-09 was severely impacted by the slowdown in the Indian economy. The industry, however, recovered smoothly and witnessed upsurge in consumption, especially in the second half of 2009-10. With business sentiment gaining momentum and consumption of finished vehicles growing steadily, auto component industry in fiscal 2010-11 is expected to cross $26 billion, registering an over 18 percent growth.

Commenting on the industry performance, ACMA president, Jayant Davar said: “The adverse impact of the global economic slowdown is well behind us; the auto industry witnessed unprecedented growth in 2009-10. The auto components sector, in tandem with the finished auto goods industry, grew to a healthy over $22 billion.

The exports owing to slow recovery in the US and Western Europe remained flat at $3.8 billion. Imports crossed $8 billion, growing 20 percent over the last fiscal. The first quarter of 2010-11 continued to witness significant growth of over 30 percent and this quantum seems to suggest that the growth in the auto component industry in the fiscal 2010-11 will surpass 18 percent.”

Addressing the issue of capacity addition in the auto component industry he elaborated: “The industry is in the mode of capacity expansion, but with poor infrastructure, insufficient power, lack of skilled manpower and low return on investments, scaling up has been somewhat behind. It is also essential that the OEMs take the component manufacturers into confidence, guide them and invest in the industry such that the supply chain is able to service the auto industry to its fullest potential. Some hand holding in areas such as tooling, equipment etc. might be required by vehicle manufacturers to ensure unabated supplies for meeting the demand.”

Delineating his thoughts on the current policy environment and the need for supporting Auto component manufacturing in the country, ACMA vice president, Srivats Ram, said: “We foresee a need for accelerated investments in the auto component sector, which will require higher scale technologies to be absorbed by component manufacturers. We believe that a Technology Development & Upgradation Fund is the need of the hour. This has been taken up with the government.
“On foreign trade, India should consider establishing Foreign Trade Agreements (FTAs) with countries like Brazil, South Africa and Iran who already have a ready market for our products. We also need to ensure that FTAs do not result in inverted duty structures and that they are not a disincentive to source or manufacture in India. Further on the exports front, it is important that the government continues its scheme of export incentives, as many of our export contracts are long term in nature.”
Sharing his thoughts on the need for a conducive ecosystem for the auto component industry in India, Vinnie Mehta, ACMA's executive director said: "There is a need for India to build product development capabilities by nurturing relationships between industry, academia and testing agencies. Further, we also need to address the issue of skilling and manpower in the auto component manufacturing industry. The recently announced Auto Skill Development Council (ASDC) is definitely a welcome step and would enable skilling of people based on curriculum and training methods prescribed by the industry. However, there could also be a shortage of manpower, per se, skilled or unskilled, due to the concentration of the auto industry in a few urban centres, which also needs to be addressed.”

Some of the other observations of the ACMA Industry Performance Review 2009-10:
Exports: The exports of auto components remained flat at $3.8 billion. Europe accounted for over 40 percent of exports, followed by Asia and North America at 24 percent and 22 percent, respectively. The latter half of the 2009-10 witnessed the European economy and the Euro hitting troubled waters. While exports to North America, Asia and other parts of the world are improving, a full recovery of exports is expected in due course.

Imports: With growth in the domestic market, imports of auto components also grew by 20 percent to $8.16 billion; almost 85 percent of the imports were accounted for by the OEMs, the rest 15 percent by the aftermarket. The quantum of imports has also increased due to several FTAs and other trade agreements signed by the government.

Capacity addition: The auto component industry added $1.7 billion in capacity in 2009-10 in several greenfield as well as expansion projects. The cumulative investment in the auto component sector in India stood at $9 billion. The industry is expected to add at least another $2 billion in 2010-11.

Indian Auto Components Industry: Summary of findings (figures in $ billion)Source: ACMA.

Chemtura to support emerging technologies in semicon, PV and single-site catalyst markets

BERGKAMEN, GERMANY: On its 50th anniversary of production excellence in Germany, Chemtura Organometallics GmbH, a subsidiary of US-based Chemtura Corp., announced a number of substantial investments to satisfy the growing requirements and demand for precursors in the electronics, semiconductor and photovoltaic markets, and organometallic catalyst components for the olefin polymerization market.

“We are further expanding our Bergkamen plant to provide a sustainable supply for tomorrow’s global customer requirements of the specialty chemicals trimethylaluminum (TMA), methylaluminoxane (MAO), and diethylzinc (DEZ),” said Dr. Ulrich Stewen, GM of Chemtura and President of Organometallics.

“This capacity expansion complements our plans for regional footprints for the production of organometallic specialty chemicals in the Middle East and also in Korea, where we have just announced a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture with UP Chemical Co. Ltd. We are proud to say that as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our organometallics production, Chemtura Organometallics is well-positioned for the future by these investments in new product capacities and increasing our regional footprint.”

In Bergkamen, a fully backwards-integrated production line with increased DEZ capacity started operations in the second quarter of 2010. It is designed to satisfy the growing demand for custom-made, high-purity DEZ in semiconductor and thin-film photovoltaic applications. Additional world-scale production lines for TMA and MAO will become operational during 2012 to continue supporting the increasing customer demand.

The new capacity for MAO has the flexibility to produce optimal activator grades, tailor-made to individual customer requirements. The capacity expansions for different TMA grades will meet the rapid growth in demand for specialty applications in the electronics, pharmaceutical and polymer industries.

Chemtura’s production technology will have integrated recycling capabilities for a sustainable supply based on readily available raw materials. In addition, thanks to flexibility in container design, Chemtura will continue to satisfy individual customer needs during scale-up and large-scale commercial production.

Dr. Stewen continued: “As a leading producer of high-quality, highly efficient, tailor-made organometallics, Chemtura offers a sustainable supply of essential products and services that enable industries to smoothly transition to clean and renewable energy generation, to support the mass production of LEDs via high-quality TMA precursors and raw material, and to make high-efficiency activators accessible for the next generation of single site catalysts (SSCs).

“Through permanent innovation, selective growth and future-oriented planning, we work in partnership with our customers in the pharmaceutical, solar, semiconductor, catalyst, glass and nuclear industries to meet their unique and often proprietary requirements.”

AnalogicTech intros multi-string LED backlight drivers

SANTA CLARA, USA: Advanced Analogic Technologies Inc. (AnalogicTech), an analog semiconductor company focused on powering innovative solutions in consumer, industrial, and communications markets, has introduced its AAT1409/7/5 family of multi-string LED backlight drivers.

Offering integrated boost converters and precision current sinks that can support up to 88 LEDs at 360mA total LED current, the AAT1409/7/5 drivers are among the most powerful in the marketplace. These new drivers bring to market a fully featured solution that reduces the number of backlight PCBs, reducing costs, yet is capable of driving high brightness LEDs and ensuring uniformity across the display by precisely controlling the backlight intensity.

"As LCD displays continue to gain traction in the computing, consumer and industrial markets, features like power, efficiency, accuracy and flexibility of the backlight drivers are all critical differentiators," said Ray Chan, technical marketing manager at AnalogicTech. "By offering a product family designed for a specific range of LCD panels – 10-inch to 22-inch in this case – we are able to offer a very powerful and effective approach to LCD power management."

The AAT1409/7/5 drivers operate from DC inputs, cigarette lighter adapters or multi-cell Li-ion batteries over the 4.5V to 26V range. The family is available in 8, 6 and 4 channels making them ideal for driving white LED (WLED) edge backlighting for LCD panels ranging from 10 to 22 inches in size. The drivers also support up to 100 kHz PWM dimming frequency to ensure silent operation.

An additional consideration is that many portable LCD devices are battery-powered and operate under low ambient lighting conditions or in power saving modes, so require low level backlight dimming to extend battery run time. The AAT1409/7/5 addresses this with a design that maintains high efficiency during low PWM duty cycles to reduce wasted energy during light load conditions. The driver's high resolution 1000:1 PWM dimming range delivers precise control of backlight brightness, equivalent to a 10-bit resolution.

Key features and benefits
* High-efficiency light load mode achieves up to 88 percent conversion efficiency at a 5 percent dimming duty cycle.
* Step-up converter can deliver up to 360mA total LED current at a 45V operating voltage.
* 100kHz PWM dimming frequency and optionally synchronized switching frequency to system clock reduces audible noise.
* +/- 2 percent LED current accuracy and matching between strings.
* Selectable switching frequency accommodates various inductor and capacitor sizes.
* Up to 92 percent efficiency over wide input voltage (VIN) range of 4.5V to 26.0V
LX rated to 50V.
* Up to eight LED current sinks at 45mA each.
* Flexible configurations with disable or parallel channels.
* Open/shorted LEDs enable fault tolerance.
* Current limit protection, over-voltage protection and over-temperature protection.
* Soft-start to minimize inrush current.
* TQFN34-24 low profile package.
* -40 C to +85C operating temperature range.

Avago releases family of four high performance SOT-89 power amplifier gain blocks for cellular infrastructure

SAN JOSE, USA & SINGAPORE: Avago Technologies has announced four new Gain Block solutions that feature high linearity, high gain, excellent gain flatness and low power dissipation.

The performance gains of the MGA-31189 and MGA-31289 0.25 watt and MGA-31389 and MGA-31489 0.10 watt Gain Blocks are made possible by Avago’s proprietary, 0.25 µm GaAs Enhancement-mode pHEMT semiconductor process.

Avago’s newest power amplifier family is optimized for frequency in order to deliver better performance across major cellular frequency bands. A common footprint and PCB layout allows a single design to support multiple frequencies and geographic markets with a choice of output power. The devices feature high gain which can reduce the total number of RF stages needed.

The MGA-31189 and MGA-31389 serve applications from 50 MHz to 2.0 GHz and the MGA-31289 and MGA-31489 from 1.5 GHz to 3.0 GHz, thus the MGA-31x89 series covers all the major cellular bands — GSM, CDMA, and UMTS — plus next generation LTE bands.

The family offers a choice of power levels in each pair of frequency-optimized devices, and these devices are designed with a common package footprint and pin-out and a single PCB design supports multiple frequency bands. This simplifies the PCB layout and overall design for system engineers developing new LTE band infrastructure.

Available in the compact, industry standard SOT-89 package, the new Avago MGA-31x89 0.25 watt and 0.10 watt gain block power amplifiers can also replace existing market solutions as a pin-to-pin, drop-in replacement offering better linearity and power performance.

The MGA-31189, MGA-31289, MGA-31389, and MGA-31489 are available in a RoHS compliant, halogen-free, SOT-89 plastic package with dimensions of 4.5x4.1x1.5mm.

Avago’s 0.25 W MGA-31189 and MGA-31289 high gain power amplifiers are priced at $1.98 each in 10,000 piece quantities. Avago’s 0.10 W MGA-31389 and MGA-31489 high gain power amplifiers are priced at $1.52 each in 10,000 piece quantities.

Samples, a demonstration board and production quantities are available now through Avago’s direct sales channel and worldwide distribution partners.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Digi-Key announces stock on APEM Q-Series LED indicator kit

THIEF RIVER FALLS, USA: Electronic components distributor Digi-Key Corp. is now stocking the APEM Q-Series LED Indicator Kit.

This kit is now available for purchase on Digi-Key’s global websites and will be featured in future print and online catalogs.

APEM’s LED Indicator Kit includes 17 Q-Series panel mounting LED indicators – one each of 17 different values – in red, green, yellow, and white. Fixing nuts and spring washers are included.

Unique features of the Q-Series LED indicators include solder lug/quick-connect terminals, wire terminations, and 200mm elongated wires. An ideal complement to APEM’s broad range of panel-mounted switches, the Q-Series is intended for industrial panels, panel indicators, automation equipment, and instrumentation applications in a variety of industries.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Panel inventory adjustment to influence performance of package manufacturers

TAIWAN: Based on the industry researcher LEDinside’s analysis and statistics, in July this year, listed LED manufacturers in Taiwan have total revenue of 10.853 billion NTD, a 2.7 percent growth compared with June revenue of 10.56 billion NTD and 80 percent rise YoY.

The revenue for LED chip manufacturers in July reached 4.97 billion NTD, up 7.6 percent from June. The revenue for LED package manufacturers in July amounted to 5.88 billion NTD, down 1.1 percent from June.Compiled by LEDinside, LED index (LEDX) observes the industry through the performance of the LED industry market value. Currently, LED epitaxy index (Chip LEDX) has dropped to 3,833 points, while the LED package index (Package LEDX) has come to 4,955 points.

Although the production value of Taiwan's LED manufacturers continues to hit monthly record high, the LED index has slumped almost 20% of its high point, compared to that of early this year, which has gone against the fundamental. Evident from the index, most investors are negative about the market in light of the recent inventory adjustment by Korean customers and price competition driven by international TV brands.

Taiwan's overall revenue of chip manufacturers observed in July soared 86 percent on yearly base. Most epitaxy manufacturers continued to make record high revenue because of ongoing introduction of MOCVD systems. Epistar generated revenue of 1.902 billion NTD in July while Tekcore and Genesis Photonics also had significant growth in July revenue due to the contribution of TV backlight orders.

Besides, global LED epitaxy manufacturers have greatly expanded production capacity since last year as is reflected in the recent Q2 earnings release by Aixtron and Veeco, the two global leading LED equipment manufacturers.

Aixtron had revenue of 198 million Euro (+ 24 percent QoQ) for Q2 and its equipment orders amounted to 175 million Euro (+4 percent QoQ), followed closely by Veeco with Q2 revenue of $253 million (+55 percent QoQ).

The overall equipment orders received by Aixtron and Veeco this year have exceeded 600~700 units. In particular, promoted by subsidy policies from Chinese local governments, China will witness the greatest MOCVD system increase of the world in next two years. Moreover, the rising capital expenditure in China will also boost the development of peripheral equipments like the prober and sorter, even the need of upstream raw materials, for example, the sapphire substrate and MO source.

In view of downstream LED package manufacturers, Everlight still led the LED Industry with 1.72 billion NTD in revenue for July. However, from the revenue observation of LED package manufacturers, some manufacturers have been slightly affected by the slack NB demand and high panel inventory.

As the short-term inventory adjustment in backlight market will slow down the growth momentum of package manufacturers, the whole industry is watching when the lighting market will prop up the demand.

Cree also announced its April-to -June earnings report lately: Q2 revenue at $265 million (+13 percent QoQ), gross profits as high as 50 percent, net profit to 52 million NTD and EPS at 0.48 (GAAP). It made an outstanding performance in both revenue and profits.It is expected that the backlight market slackness will be offset by Q3 lighting demand and the revenue will have 2-6 percent growth space.

Electronic component orders dip in July

ARLINGTON, USA: Electronic component orders dipped in July after reaching a two-year high in June, according to the monthly order index compiled by the Electronic Components Association (ECA). The 12-month average, comparing this year’s results to last year’s, continued an ascent that began last summer.

ECA’s monthly report consolidates order information collected in confidence from leading electronic component manufacturers. Bob Willis, ECA president, sees a few different possibilities for the lull in growth last month.

“We might be seeing manufacturers retrench after a huge demand caused by replenishment of low inventory levels and perceived shortages of electronic components,” says Willis.

“There are also tangible signs that the recovery is lagging compared to last year at this time, when it was just building up steam. Another possibility is that manufacturers are taking a bit of a timeout to get a better picture of future demand – that has happened a couple of times over the past year.”

Update on Dodd-Frank Reform and Consumer Protection Act

This is a contribution by Gary Nevison, Premier Farnell.

UK: Something that industry is going to hear more about is the “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” which was signed into law by President Obama on 21 July 2010.

The Act includes a raft of measures arising out of the recent financial crisis and runs to 2,300 pages!

Last year, there was a bill in the US Senate known as the “Congo Conflict Minerals Act of 2009” which was similar. The issue has been heavily debated on both sides and has now made it in to the Dodd-Frank Act.

The section on conflict minerals requires that companies, principally US listed, that are Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered disclose annually whether it has used relevant minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an “adjoining country”.

If a company did use conflict minerals from such countries, it will also have to submit a report to the SEC describing how it exercised due diligence on the source and chain of custody of such minerals, including an “independent private sector audit” of such a report, as well as a description of the products manufactured that contain such conflict minerals. This information would have to be made available on the company’s website.

The minerals covered are: columbite-tantalite (coltan), cassiterite, gold, wolframite or their derivatives or any other mineral determined by the Secretary of State.

The electrical products industry has a major use for materials covered by this legislation and many of the components will come from China where one source of the raw materials will be the Congo National security applications have an exemption limited to two years.

It is worth noting that very few of the Act’s provisions take effect immediately. The vast majority require various regulatory agencies to issue implementing regulations with specified periods. The section dealing with conflict minerals refers to regulations being produced not later than 270 days after the Act was passed.

While the SEC has not yet published any posed rules under the Dodd-Frank Act it must promulgate the regulations within approximately nine months (April 2011).

However, before that they need to publish a draft proposal, possibly in December or January, allowing for public comment. Such periods of review are typically 60 or 90 days. In the meantime, the SEC has started soliciting unofficial public comment through its website.

So, the Dodd-Frank Act will create yet another data collection requirement for an industry already struggling to cope with REACH, RoHS and other such legislation.

Premier Farnell has been asking its suppliers for confirmation of use of conflict materials for a while as there is little doubt that customers down the supply chain will seek reassurance that no metals are sourced from the conflict areas or if a product is labelled “conflict mineral free” if it does not contain any of the conflict minerals that directly finance or benefit armed groups in the Congo.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Elec-Tech selects Veeco MOCVD as tool of choice for two new China LED factories

PLAINVIEW, USA: Veeco Instruments Inc. announced that Elec-Tech International has selected its TurboDisc K465i Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) systems as their “tool of choice” for two new LED factories in Wuhu and Yangzhou, China.

In August Veeco booked the initial systems from a large multi-tool purchase order from Elec-Tech’s LED subsidiary, Elec-Tech Optoelectronic Technology (Wuhu) Co., Ltd.

Tony Wang, chairman of Elec-Tech commented: “Our Board of Directors has approved our plan to purchase 130 MOCVD tools to ramp production capacity at our two LED factories. Our goal is to become one of the top three LED companies by output and sales revenue in China within two years, focusing primarily on the general lighting and BLU market, but on other applications as well.”

Wang continued: “After a thorough evaluation of the available MOCVD products, we selected Veeco as our preferred and primary supplier for the vast majority of the 130 MOCVD systems we will be installing at our new factories. We believe that Veeco’s MOCVD systems have low cost-of-ownership and proven high productivity, and will help us to achieve success in the LED market.”

Bill Miller, executive VP, GM of Veeco's MOCVD Operations, said: “We are extremely pleased that Elec-Tech has chosen Veeco for their production requirements as they build out their aggressive plans in China. We look forward to supporting this important new customer with our best-in-class systems and world-class applications process support.”

Update on RoHS and WEEE recast

This is a contribution by Gary Nevison, Premier Farnell.

UK: Senior officials at the UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) have updated industry on the current position in regard to the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) recasts.

With Belgium now holding the European Union (EU) presidency there has been an increase in pace, on RoHS in particular, and they are clearly looking for significant progress during their tenure. Meetings are taking place behind the scenes between the European Commission (EC), European Parliament (EP) and Council of Ministers with an aspiration of possibly achieving a first reading agreement.

If all goes well, allowing for transposition into national law, RoHS could enter into force as soon as early 2013.

However, debate continues on several topics not least that of an open scope approach covering all electrical and electronic equipment unless specifically excluded. Some European Member States are against this without an impact assessment and, if an open scope was to be approved they feel it would require widespread exclusions.

There is a view that an open scope could be implemented some six years after the recast enters into force with the EC carrying out an impact assessment within the first four years although this is a subject of much debate.

The addition of two further restricted substances, nanosilver and carbon nanotubes, to the original six in Annex IV, is still under consideration, but a new Annex III will cover a list of 37 substances or groups of substances or compounds that will be analysed as a matter of priority with a restriction in mind. This would include the Substances of Very High Concern that currently reside in the REACH Candidate List.

The EC and EP are also discussing the possible addition of cables, consumables and accessories to the scope.

Also under discussion is the interaction between RoHS and REACH and a methodology for adding new substances as well as a methodology for dealing with exemptions.

The plenary vote on RoHS is expected in October, although this has changed several times, and a first reading agreement is possible but not guaranteed. At present the category 8 (medical devices) and category 9 (monitoring and control instruments) shall apply two years after the RoHS recast enters into force, to in-vitro medical devices four years after and industrial monitoring and control instruments five years after.

However, if a first reading deal is achieved then those dates are likely to revert to the original dates of 2014, 2016 and 2017 as previously proposed by the European Commission.

In respect of the WEEE recast little or no progress was made under the previous presidency and it is unlikely that a first reading deal will be achieved.

Over 200 amendments have been put forward and topics to be discussed further include collection targets based on the percentage of WEEE put on the market, increased treatment and reprocessing targets, producer responsibilities, whether WEEE should be an open scope or not, and a clear definition of “reuse”.

The scope (categories of products) would move to RoHS and there may be a reduction in the WEEE recast from ten categories to five.

Sharing registrations across all Member States would reduce regulatory burden and further measures to control the illegal export of e-waste to developing countries would be a positive step forward. So much is still to be done but, under the Belgium presidency, things could move at an increased pace as they clearly have a desire to make a difference on their shift!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Concerns of high LED inventory; Japan’s orders will spur the next wave of LED industry growth

TAIWAN: Recent panel manufacturers are concerned about the excess inventory, causing doubts to the demand for LED TV backlight.

According to LEDinside, an LED industry research division of TrendForce, Japanese TV brand vendors have come to Taiwan to seek LED material sources. Whether Taiwan’s LED manufacturers will successfully join in the supply chain of TV brand vendors of Japan and China will be the key for Taiwan LED industry to break a new record.

LEDinside’s survey showed that the Korean panel vendors have started to save LED stocks from the end of 2009. Therefore, when facing the slack season, they hit the break for LED procurement in advance. Taiwan-based panel manufacturers have formally adopted large quantities of LED backlight products; AUO is the fastest of all at this stage, creating short supply for its LED plant Lextar.

As for the Chimei Group, Chi Mei and Innolux require more integration, thus affecting the progress of LED TV backlight in 2010. Most of the Taiwanese manufacturers are in its initial stage, and the LED backlight module vendors indicated that their current inventory is at a safe level.

According to survey from research institute WitsView, the current panel and set inventory remains at more than four weeks, resulting in a great decline in CCFL panel price, making panel manufacturers hold a more conservative attitude towards LED backlight products. Whether it will affect the penetration rate of LED backlight products remains to be seen.

The shipment target for Samsung LED-backlit TV is very aggressive in 2010. Samsung Group saw LED as an important key component; therefore, they have been actively preparing the materials since the end of 2009.

However, the retail price of LED-backlit TV is still high, which made end-market sales lower than expected in the first half of 2010. In addition, due to concerns of excessive panel inventory, Samsung’s product pull-in started to slow down at the beginning of Q1, and recently began to adjust its inventory.

After Samsung’s LED- backlit TV have successfully open up a market in 2009, other TV brand manufacturers are actively planning to implement LED-backlit TV. Nevertheless, to date, most manufacturers, including Sharp and Sony, are still behind schedule.

Therefore, LEDinside indicated that, in terms of panel makers’ inventory, apart from Samsung, other companies’ progress of launching LED TV, including those of China and Japan, still lag far behind; even Japanese brand vendors are actively seeking sources of LED materials in Taiwan.

Therefore, in the upcoming months, with China’s National Day holiday and the arrival of Christmas, gaining orders from other companies aside from Korean companies is a critical point for Taiwan's LED manufacturers to achieve their targets in sales performance.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Antenova releases dual-mode receive/transmit internal SMD FM antenna module for embedded FM radio apps

CAMBRIDGE, UK: Antenova Ltd, the integrated antenna and RF solutions company, has announced the addition of the M10385 dual-mode receive/transmit internal surface mount FM Antenna Module for a broad range of mobile and digital media device applications.

Antenova’s innovative printed circuit board (PCB) antenna module design provides a simple drop-in solution to address the growing market for FM radio functionality in mobile and media devices such as mobile phones, personal navigation devices (PNDs), personal media players (PMPs), media tables and digital photo frames (DPFs), without the need for external headphone or retractable antennas.

“Antenova’s M10385 internal surface mount FM Antenna Module is an ideal solution for device manufactures wanting to add FM radio receive and transmit functionality to the new generation of slim and sleek mobile devices,” stated Greg McCray, CEO of Antenova.

“In mobile phone applications, M10385 eliminates the need for traditional headphone cable antennas and is suitable for use with Bluetooth headsets. In addition, M10385 has the transmit capability which enables any device fitted with the FM antenna module to become a personal FM transmitter.

“So, for example, a user could transmit the music from their mobile phone, PMP or MP3 player to their car radio, thereby providing a no cost in-car audio integration option for listening to their music on the car’s stereo sound system. The same can be applied to the home stereo system with FM radio as well.”

The M10385 is an active FM antenna module consisting of Antenova’s patent pending FM antenna with a matching circuit and low noise amplifier (LNA) in a small 30 x 5 x 1.5 mm3 package, with the convenience of a standard surface mount device (SMD). M10385 is capable of receiving/transmitting FM frequencies from 87.5 - 108 MHz and is intended to be planar mounted at the edge of the host PCB for minimum space requirement.

A minimum clearance of 2mm between the antenna and the host PCB ground plane is recommended for the best FM signal reception. The module can be easily interfaced to any FM receiver as the LNA output is matched to 50 ohms, but custom impedance can also be provided.

Key Digital updates Red Iguana and HD Python series HDMI cables to support latest HDMI features

MOUNT VERNON, USA: Key Digital Systems Inc. has announced updates to the Red Iguana and HD Python Series HDMI and Cables. These cables are full HD 1080p certified and feature HDMI with HDCP, 21 Gbps Super Sonic Speed, 12-bit deep color and 120 Hz refresh rates.

Both the Red Iguana and HD Python series HDMI cables now support new HDMI features: 3D – Capability to pass 3D stereoscopic signal formats; 4K – 4096x2160/24 video resolution support for commercial applications such as Digital Movie Theaters, CAD, Post Production, Graphics and etc.; HDMI Ethernet Channel – Allows 100 Mb/s Ethernet between two HDMI connecting devices; Audio Return Channel –Allows audio to be returned from display back to HDMI source for amplification and display.

The Red Iguana Series HDMI cables are perfectly fit for Residential installations. They are VW1 UL rated and feature gold-plated 24 gauge conductors and precision internal windings to deliver exceptional digital video performance. This cable is perfect for your rack interconnects and is available in lengths of; 1.5, 3, 6, 9, 12, 16 and 20 ft. They also offer full support for lossless digital audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus and DTS™-HD Master Audio.

The HD Python Series HDMI Cables are designed for Commercial market and are CL3 UL rated for in-wall installations and feature rugged construction and specifications. They are available in lengths of; 12, 16, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 75 ft.

Crystal IS, Asahi Kasei announce joint development agreement

GREEN ISLAND, USA: Crystal IS Inc., a leading developer of ultraviolet light emitting diodes (UVC LEDs), and Asahi Kasei Corp., the parent company of one of Japan’s major diversified industrial groups, announced the signing of a joint development agreement.

Under the agreement the two companies will create a manufacturing process for large diameter aluminum nitride (AlN) substrates based on Crystal IS proprietary intellectual property.

“Aluminum nitride substrates are a critical component in the fabrication of UVC LEDs for energy efficient water and air sterilization applications,” said Dr. Steven Berger CEO of Crystal IS. “Building on our intellectual property to develop manufacturable large diameter substrates is an important step towards high-volume production and long term growth.”

The development will take place at the Crystal IS facility in Green Island, NY and the program will run in parallel with the company’s UVC LED activities.

“After a comprehensive study, we found Crystal IS wafer technology the most advanced and suitable for commercialization,” said Masafumi Nakao, who heads Asahi Kasei’s development of new business in compound semiconductors. “To reinforce our commitment to Crystal IS and the technology, we are happy to make a $2 million investment in the company as we assess the long-term market potential of these substrates for LEDs and a number of other high-power applications.”

Vincotech releases IPM solution with optional PFC

MUNICH, GERMANY: Vincotech, a supplier of module-based solutions for power electronics, announced that the flowIPM 1B product family is now also available without PFC (Power Factor Correction). The compact design and sophisticated thermal management of this IPM (Intelligent Power Modules) make it the perfect solution for crowded mechanical environments.

The flowIPM is used most frequently for applications such as motor driver circuits with up to 1kW output power. It is the optimum solution for mechanical environments where space is tight, for example, embedded motor drives for fans, pumps, washing machines, and small industrial motor drives.

Vincotech’s flowIPM integrates the inverter, rectifier, and entire driver circuit so there is no need for additional external components. Integrated shunts add highly precise current sensing to the inverter’s capabilities.

The flowIPM 1B family comprises four types. 4A and 10A versions are available for the inverter section. The module comes in a 17-mm high flow 1B housing measuring just 72 mm by 36 mm. Other options such as press-fit technology and phase-change material are also available on demand.

The new flowIPM 1B products are available immediately worldwide.

IR intros online IGBT selection tool to optimize power management design

EL SEGUNDO, USA: International Rectifier (IR) has announced the availability of a new online Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) selection tool that enables design optimization in a wide range of applications including motor drives, uninterruptable power supplies (UPS), solar inverters, and welding.

IR’s new IGBT Selection Tool evaluates application conditions including bus voltage, switching frequency, and short circuit protection requirements. Located at mypower.irf.com/IGBT, the online tool provides an estimate of losses and suggests parts that can function within the given constraints. The tool also provides pricing for each part to enable designers to consider the effects of device choice on system cost.

“IR offers a broad array of IGBT products enabling optimized inverter designs for different applications. The new online selection tool enables engineers to quickly and easily compare choices to select the optimal IGBT for their design,” said IR product manager Elk Kabaker.

IGBT selection requires evaluation of many parameters that cannot be simplified into a single metric. As switching losses can be traded for conduction losses, for example, calculating operating losses requires both operating frequency and bus voltage parameters, in addition to operating current. Also, the requirement of some motor drive inverters for minimum short circuit withstand time comes at the expense of higher losses.

IR offers a wide selection of IGBTs offering various tradeoffs in switching speed as well as devices designed for applications that do not have minimum short circuit requirements. The new selection tool helps designers make use of IR’s broad IGBT portfolio and weigh the performance tradeoffs.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

ON Semiconductor intros compact power line communication solution for reduced component count and implementation cost

PHOENIX, USA: ON Semiconductor has introduced the NCS5650 - a new line driver device targeted at Power Line Carrier (PLC) communications applications such as smart metering, industrial control and street lighting.

The NCS5650 is a high efficiency, Class AB, low distortion driver, specifically designed to drive power line mains and capable of accepting a signal from any power line carrier modem.

The NCS5650 contains an operational amplifier which can be configured as a unity gain follower buffer, or alternatively used to provide the first stage of a 4-pole low pass filter. The output stage has the capacity drive up to 2.0 A peak into an isolation transformer or simple coil coupling to the mains.

At an output current of 1.5 A, the output voltage is guaranteed to swing within 1.0 V or less on either rail, ensuring optimal signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in harsh environments. The NCS5650 draws just 150 µA while in shutdown mode. Power supply options are single-sided 6 V to 12 V and dual balanced ±3.0 V to ±6.0 V.

With its unique full power bandwidth, the NCS5650 can operate in any region of the world while complying with local PLC frequency band regulations like CENELEC.

The devices have an extended junction temperature range of −40 °C to +125 °C. They are offered in a compact QFN package with an exposed thermal pad for enhanced heat dissipation and increased thermal reliability which provides cost sensitive designers a further bill of materials cost reduction.

The NCS5650 is offered in a compact 20-pin, 4 mm x 4 mm x 1 mm, Pb-free, QFN package priced at $3.73 per unit in 10,000 unit quantities.

“The advent of power line communications allows utility companies to add greater levels of functionality to their electricity distribution networks - thereby providing consumers more control over their energy consumption,” said Simon Keeton, general manager of ON Semiconductor’s Audio, Video and Interface products division.

“When combined with an industry leading Spaced Frequency Shift Keying (SFSK) modem, like ON Semiconductor’s AMIS-49587, the NCS5650 acts as an adaptive solution for PLC communications with a desirable balance of performance and price. Designs employing this solution will benefit from high levels of integration which provides a reduced component count and a decreased overall bill of materials.”