When moving from one year to the next, it's usually difficult to predict what will occur, if anything. The new year of 2003 falls into that category. The previous two years have been less than encouraging, which will make 2003 hard to figure out. The major problem will be preventing technology stagnation due to economic downturn.
Spending for new designs is usually based on revenue: When that falls so do the new development budgets. Unless business picks up, this could be a long hard year for everyone in power electronics.
The question we have to ask ourselves is what can be done to improve our company's economic situation? The obvious answer is that we have to work harder and smarter. However, that's easier to say than do.
One approach toward working smarter is to use computer-aided techniques as much as possible. That includes the actual design as well as supporting activities for simulation, reliability, maintainability, etc. Designers should also leverage their designs by developing standard circuits that can be applied to other applications. There's nothing wrong with using standard designs that can be customized to specific applications.
Another design consideration is to eliminate the “not invented here” syndrome. It's okay to duplicate the basic concepts of another designer within the same company. However, take care not to copy designs patented by another company.
Keeping track of new semiconductors is another good way of working smarter. Often, new devices can simplify or reduce the cost of a power electronic system. In 2002, about 30 different companies introduced more than 250 new and improved power management IC. ICs with higher levels of integration can reduce the parts count of power electronic systems.
Articles scheduled for inclusion in Power Electronics Technology this year will help designers work smarter. Here are some examples:
Paul Harriman's article this month describes a new approach for the design of multiphase converters.
February will include a special report on passive components.
Later this year there will be an article that describes the basics of digital power supplies and details a DSP-based supply rated at 750W with a 48V output.
A four-part article by consultant Ernie Wittenbreder (Technical Witts Inc. of Flagstaff, Ariz.) will describe the synthesis of power conversion circuits that have the property of non-pulsating input and output terminal currents and cancellation of common mode noise.
Another future article will cover some basics of point-of-load converters by Jess Brown of Vishay Siliconix.
Victor Khasiev of International Rectifier's Advanced Analog Group (Santa Clara, Calif.) will present a future article entitled “Minimize Synchronous MOSFET Voltage Stress in Forward Converters with Resonant Reset.”
These are just a few examples of articles in store for you, our readers. Many more are in process.
Over the years I've seen many peaks and valleys within the electronics industry. Somehow, the industry always rebounds from the valleys. My philosophy is to learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
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