Power Electronics

Data Points

Extreme Temperature Capability Expands Coin Cell Applications

For its heat-resistant primary battery types used in onboard tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) in vehicles to meet new federal safety mandate, Fair Lawn, N.J.-based Maxell Corp. of America is targeting Lithium Manganese Dioxide (Li/MnO2)-based coin cells beyond pressure sensing tags.

With the ability to operate in extremely cold and hot environments, coupled with a rugged structure and a shelf life of 10 years, Maxell's CR2450 is finding use in a variety of transmitters, tags and transponders of RF signals. Hence, the supplier is extending its reach to a transponder on a highway tolls collection system, such as the Easy Pass in the Northeast, and the emerging automated meter readers (AMRs).

Placed outside a home or commercial facility, the AMR transmits gas and water usage to the servicing company for billing purposes.

In addition, Maxell is exploring the use of the new high-temperature coin cells in expanding RF-based keyless entry systems used in automobiles, as well as a drug delivery system that uses a battery-activated drug patch attached to a patient's skin. Called iontophoresis, this noninvasive drug delivery method uses electrical current to move solubilized drugs across the skin to underlying tissue.

According to Maxell, its new coin cell is used here because it is thin enough to fit into a drug pouch.

The new cells, types CR2450-HR and CR2450HR-EX, include a change in gasket material, a totally new crimping structure and improved content to operate in the high-temperature environment encountered on rotating auto and light truck wheels. In fact, Maxell employs a proprietary sealing technique to protect the battery's resistance to high- and low-temperature extremes, which are essential to this new set of automotive requirements and applications.

The company believes that this may be the first time coin cells have been designed for and exposed to these rigorous extremes. According to Maxell, the new cells offer a nominal voltage of 3 V, and one lithium battery. In addition, they can replace two cells of another chemistry. These coin-type lithium batteries also have a high-energy density, making them ideal for use in compact equipment that requires powerful, small-sized batteries.

For more information, visit www.maxell.com.

Good News for Ultracapacitors

Ultracapacitors are emerging as viable, complementary and alternative energy storage solutions to lead acid and li-ion battery technologies, as they offer advantages such as increased power capacity, longer life cycles, and lower maintenance.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan “World Ultracapacitors Market” reveals that revenues in this industry totaled $33.9 million in 2002 and are projected to reach $88.1 million by 2006.

“Ultracapacitors have evolved into a multipurpose technology, capable of providing peak power and power conditioning, as well as being a single energy storage solution,” says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Farah Saeed. “Possibilities of using ultracapacitors have emerged over the years due to continuous improvements in energy density, power capacity, and the reduction of equivalent series resistance.”

High initial costs of these alternative solutions when compared to those of lead acid batteries are, for the moment, deterring customers from investing in them. Nevertheless, a surge in power requirements from next-generation electronics as well as the automotive and industrial sectors is expected to provide impetus to this market.

Power-hungry mobile applications and 42-V automotive electric systems are a strong area of growth for ultracapacitors. Ultracapacitor vendors can make inroads into these areas by leveraging the advantages of this technology, which include greater power capacity, longer life cycles and lower maintenance.

“Increased power requirements in mobile applications is being driven by product enhancements and value-added features,” says Saeed. “Features such as on-line gaming and Wi-Fi accessibility are pushing the requirements for power and energy in future mobile applications.”

Demand from the automotive sector is expected to increase as present-day vehicles are increasingly being equipped with a multitude of additional features that require more power. Manufacturers of uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and dc power systems, which mainly use lead acid batteries, are likely to consider the possibility of implementing ultracapacitors as the primary energy storage solution to boost power reliability.

Although this promising technology appears to have a bright future, initial market penetration is expected to be slow; however, this is projected to improve as soon as prices of ultracapacitors drop and their commercial viability improves.

For more information, visit www.batteries.frost.com.

Linear Technology Gets Automotive Quality System Certification

Linear Technology Corp., Milpitas, Calif., has been independently certified to meet the quality requirements of the automotive industry worldwide. With the award of the TS16949 Quality Management System for Automotive Suppliers, Linear Technology becomes one of the first semiconductor companies certified to meet the demanding requirements of the automotive industry in the United States, Europe and Asia. The company also has been certified as compliant with ISO9001:2000 — the highest level of quality certification presented to companies.

TUV Management Service GmbH of Munich, Germany, completed the certification of Linear Technology. TUV conducted a thorough audit of the company and determined that it meets the international quality standards of the automotive industry.

For more information, visit www.linear.com

TI Unveils NanoStar WCSP

Dallas-based Texas Instruments Inc. recently announced the delivery of select analog semiconductors in its NanoStar wafer chip-scale packaging (WCSP). This advanced packaging technology shrinks package size, increases design flexibility and improves reliability without sacrificing performance.

NanoStar has no molding compound, lead frame, wire bonds or leads. Using standard surface-mount technology (SMT) assembly procedures, NanoStar can be mounted to a printed circuit board without additional underfill. Other benefits include improved electrical performance, thinner package profile and high assembly yields.

TI's first power management ICs available in WCSP include the TPS793285, a new 200-mA radio frequency (RF) low-dropout (LDO) regulator, and the TPS62000 95% efficient dc-dc buck converter that supports a 2-V to 5.5-V input voltage and up to 600-mA output current.

The TPS793285 LDO is part of a family of low-power linear voltage regulators featuring high power supply rejection ratio (PSRR), ultra-low noise, fast start-up and excellent line and load transient responses. Now available in a 5-ball NanoStar package measuring 0.84 mm × 1.348 mm, it provides an ultra-small footprint and package weight, and supports various portable applications.

The OPA2347 dual operational amplifier offers excellent speed/power ratio (20-µA quiescent current/350-kHz bandwidth), dc precision, low-voltage operation and rail-to-rail performance. The combination of low-power consumption and an 8-ball NanoStar package, measuring 1.008 mm × 2.100 mm, is ideal for a variety of battery-powered applications.

Well-suited for cellular handsets and PDAs, the TPA2010D1 is a 2-W high-efficiency, filter-free Class-D audio power amplifier that requires only three external components. The device features high efficiency (87%), improved PSRR (-75 dB). Through its fully differential architecture, it offers excellent noise immunity. Package dimensions being only 1.45 mm × 1.45 mm, this device will also be the smallest Class-D audio power amplifier available on the market. Upon release, the TPA2010D1 will be in a 9-ball NanoStar package with a lead-free option (NanoFree).

The TLV5614 is a quadruple 12-bit voltage-output digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with a flexible serial interface, allowing glueless interface to TMS320, SPI, QSPI and Microwire serial ports. Rail-to-rail output stage, power-down mode and NanoStar packaging, which measures only 2 mm × 2.7 mm, make the TLV5614 ideal for single-voltage, battery-based applications. Eight-bit, 10-bit and 12-bit quad and octal DACs are also available.

For more information, visit www.ti.com.

Vishay Reopens Thin-Films Plant

A $50 million investment, 20 months of hard work, and loyalty to dedicated employees and customers have culminated in the reopening of a thin-films manufacturing plant in Warwick, R.I. As a result, Warwick-based Vishay Electro-Films, which was destroyed by an accidental fire in February 2002, is up and running with state-of-the-art thin-films equipment.

According to Vishay, the $50 million facility is the most advanced thin-film manufacturing plant in the world, doubling production capacity and providing greater flexibility and accuracy for specialized designs for thin-film components and networks on ceramic and silicon substrates. In addition, the facility offers improved quality and throughput, with the ability to handle more complex high-density interconnect (HDI) designs on multilayer substrates.

For more information, visit www.vishay-efi.com.

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