Power Electronics

Data Points

North American Plug-In Surge Suppressor Market Update

Over the past few years, significant changes have occurred in market share among the top suppliers of plug-in power line surge suppressors to the North American market. According to recent analysis by Venture Development Corporation (VDC), this market averaged 5% growth over the last two years, despite a difficult 2001. Leading suppliers have recognized this growth and are implementing strategies to increase their market share.

The primary driver of the changes in market share has been the winning of channel accounts. Belkin, for example, has focused on winning retail accounts in the hardware/home center channels. The company has emerged as the leading plug-in surge suppressor vendor to the North American market.

Also emerging as a top player in the industry is UPS specialist American Power Conversion (APC). APC has leveraged its strong relationships in the distribution channel to make it a leading surge suppressor vendor. In addition, both APC and Belkin have developed products with distinctive designs and packaging.

The plug-in surge suppressor market shows signs of becoming very much like a commodity business. There are few barriers to entry, and the competition for shelf space is intense. There has been a relatively slow trend toward consolidation in the industry, one that is not expected to increase rapidly in the near future.

Most vendors are making larger investments in advertising, marketing, and promotional activities.

Given the increasing levels of competition over price, shelf space, and other critical issues, it's likely that there will be growing consolidation among manufacturers of plug-in surge suppressor products over the next three to five years.

To view the entire press release, visit www.vdc-corp.com/power/press/03/pr03-32.html.

IPC Power Resistors Opens Test Lab

IPC Power Resistors has completed construction of a state-of-the-art test lab at its Florence, Ky. headquarters. The lab will be used to perform advanced product testing, including the required analysis for UL Listing and CSA Certification.

The facility will be used by IPC quality engineers and product managers to develop and test its products. In addition to the standard product testing, the lab will allow IPC to test unique applications for customers prior to implementation for increased safety. This will also allow IPC to optimize resistors and avoid over-specifying, thereby reducing the resistor price.

The lab is equipped with both ac (single and 3-phase) and dc power to test a variety of applications. Automatic signal generation and testing provide consistent, repeatable results that can be directly compared between different products. Because the lab is on-site, IPC can ship UL and CSA resistors without delay — even on custom products. The company currently has the fastest delivery times in the industry for standard products.

For more information on the test lab facility or IPC Power Resistors, contact IPC at (800) 208-7915 or visit www.ipcresistors.com.

ON Semi Expands Power MOS Capacity in Slovakia

ON Semiconductor has opened a second front-end wafer-manufacturing facility in Piestany, Slovak Republic, to produce low-voltage (50V and below) power MOSFET devices. These devices are complementary in function to the company's power management portfolio.

Over the past three years, the supplier has doubled its Central Europe fab capacity to provide more than 21% of the company's total die supply to serve the worldwide markets. According to On Semiconductor, it took less than one year to construct the facility, and install and qualify the equipment. The submicron technology employed is expected to propel Piestany to the next level and set the stage for an even brighter future for this site, noted the manufacturer.

The modern Slovakian fab uses the company's MOSFET HD3e technology platform to manufacture power semiconductor devices on 150-mm diameter wafers with the ability to handle 0.35 micron process technology. Initially, however, the fab will use larger geometries, around 0.6 micron, before moving toward submicron devices. The Slovakian fab is ramping production and is expected to fully use current equipment within three months.

For more information, visit www.onsemi.com.

Noncontact Voltage Measurement Technology Achieves 0.3% Error

Electrascan Corp., Orinda, Calif., has developed and demonstrated the first self-calibrating noncontact voltage measurement system that measures 60/50 Hz ac voltages on insulated wires, while still achieving 0.3% RMS error. The patented SCANS (Self-Calibrating Active Noncontact Sensor) technology is incorporated in the application using a novel wideband estimator to allow continuous closed-loop measurement of fundamental and harmonic components in power signals ranging from a few volts up to hundreds of kilovolts. This noncontact voltage measurement capability eliminates the need to make any direct connection to the conducting element, increasing worker safety while reducing measurement setup time and product cost. Prior to this invention, it was only possible to accurately measure current, and not voltage or power on insulated wires using a noncontact clamp-on meter.

For more information, contact Steven Chacko at 925-253-4893.

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