Power Electronics

Data Points

Advanced Ceramics Corp. Expands Facility

Advanced Ceramics completed Phase II of its 300,000-sq-ft manufacturing facility expansion in Strongsville, Ohio. The completion of Phase I of the new facility took place in 2000, and current operations employ 70 persons. Relocation into Phase II will begin in the spring of 2002.

The company will locate approximately 300 employees at the new facility, when all equipment and staff are in place. This facility will allow the company to continue to supply advanced ceramic products to a growing world market and to expand and adapt to fulfill market needs. Semiconductors, electronics packaging, telecommunications, aerospace, and advanced materials use the company's high-purity ceramics and ceramic products. For more information, visit the Web at www.advceramics.com

Polycarbonate Film Replacement

As you can see in Mark Carter's article on replacements for polycarbonate film used in capacitors (page 31), the manufacturer of this film will discontinue its production. However, Electronic Concepts Inc., a New Jersey-based manufacturer of film capacitors, has produced its own capacitor-grade polycarbonate film in its Lee, Mass., casting facility exclusively for its plants in New Jersey and Ireland. The company maintains an inventory of a wide range of polycarbonate capacitors in various packages. For more information, visit the Web at www.eci-capacitors.com

North American AC Drives Market Resumes Growth

The Drives Research Corp. expects the North American ac drives market to resume growth in 2002 after suffering a double-digit decline in 2001, according to a new market research and technology forecast report.

Despite a slow recovery over the next few quarters, Drives Research predicts nearly 3% growth for ac drives in North America in 2002, with stronger growth over the next few years. It forecasts North American ac drive end-equipment and end-user markets will experience slow growth in the second quarter of 2002, with an overall gain of 2.2% for the year as the U.S. economic recovery begins in the second half of the year. But over the next two years, the industry will see growth between 4% and 7%, Drives Research said.

“We expect the billion-dollar-plus North American ac drives market to post nearly a 6% CAGR for the next five years through 2006, compared to the 8% achieved from 1995 to 2000,” said Tom Kaporch, President of Drives Research and principal author of the new market research and technology forecast report, AC Drives Outlook for North America 2002-2006. “Similarly, we see ac drive end markets growing at a CAGR close to 4% from 2002 through 2006, almost the same as the CAGR of 4.1% posted for 1995 to 2000,” Kaporch said.

To learn more about the North American ac drives market, contact Drives Research at (949) 487-5163; E-mail: [email protected]; or visit the Web: www.drivesresearch.com.

Tamura Corp. Licenses Midcom's LTCC Technology

Tamura Corp. signed a licensing agreement with Midcom Inc. of Watertown, S.D. on their new transformer utilizing ferrite multilayer, low-temperature, co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology. The new technology, described in two U.S. patents and two pending international patents, covers the methods for designing and manufacturing the MicroMagnetics transformers and devices.

This magnetic component technology uses ferrite-containing ceramic materials to allow processing in a multilayer array. This leads to a reduction in size and cost when compared to equivalent wire-wound components — while still meeting safety agency requirements for isolation. They achieve magnetic coupling as high as 0.98 and primary to secondary isolation of more than 1500Vac.

This technology improves quality and increases the reliability of magnetic components. The licensed products withstand lead-free solder temperature profiles and exceed the increasingly difficult coplanarity requirements associated with today's fine pitch automated pick and place processes. For more information, visit the Web at www.tamuracorp.com.

U.S. Fuel Cells Demand To Expand

Fuel Cells — a study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm — predicts the U.S. market for fuel cell products and systems will expand close to fourfold through 2006 to $3.3 billion, and reach $8.8 billion in 2011. This includes spending on R&D, prototyping, test marketing, demonstration programs, as well as commercial product sales. In the early 2000s, the U.S. fuel cell industry remained in a pre-commercialization phase, although viable markets are expected to later develop in specific niches as opposed to large-scale supplantation of existing energy technologies. Efforts to reduce dependence on imported oil, ongoing environmental concerns, and further technological advances promote fuel cell commercialization.

It's highly probable that electric power generation — most likely in a distributed generation or backup/standby mode — will emerge as the initial large-scale commercial application for fuel cells. Portable electronic device applications are also expected to emerge fairly quickly, with fuel cells initially serving as a battery backup and stand-alone power source later in the decade.

The automotive fuel cell area remains plagued with technical problems — many relating to on-board fuel reformers, the fueling infrastructure, and high-cost barriers. Widespread commercialization of automotive fuel cells isn't expected to begin until the end of the decade. Nonetheless, R&D and prototyping activity proceeds.

Other potential applications for fuel cells include industrial stationary and motive power systems, such as in-plant vehicles and aerospace equipment. Of the several types of fuel cell electrolyte chemistries presently under investigation, proton-exchange membrane (PEM), including variant direct methanol and solid-oxide (SOFC) appear most likely to achieve large-scale commercialization in the shortest amount of time.

For more information contact Corrine Gangloff at (440) 684-9600.

ELNA Magnetics Distributes Metglas Line

ELNA Magnetics, Woodstock, N.Y., signed an agreement with Honeywell International to become a distributor for the Metglas Solutions product line. ELNA is one of the original distributors for Ferroxcube (formerly Philips). The Amorphous Alloys made by Honeywell become ELNA's fourth product line.

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