Power Electronics

IC and Power Supply Vendors Form Digital Power Alliance

Semiconductor manufacturer Atmel has joined power supply vendors Power-One and C&D Technologies to create the Z-One Digital Power Alliance. The new alliance builds on the previously announced licensing agreement between Power-One and C&D Technology. In December of last year, Power-One licensed its Z-One digital IBA technology to C&D, providing second-source options for customers looking to implement distributed power architectures using the Power-One’s digital POL converters and power managers.

The inclusion of Atmel in the Z-Alliance dramatically increases the semiconductor development, manufacturing and supply chain capabilities of the Z-Alliance organization. This latest development combines the strengths of all three companies to define and provide the next generation of digital power conversion and management products based on Z-One Digital Power Architecture with focus on the communications and data infrastructure markets.

Atmel Corp. will apply its semiconductor foundry expertise by initially working with Power-One to further integrate the Z-One digital power manager. The digital power manager is currently implemented as a 2-chip module. However, in the next generation being developed by Power-One and Atmel, this module will be reduced to a single-chip design. Later, Atmel, Power-One and C&D Technologies will define and develop other digital power management devices. The first jointly developed products are expected before the end of 2005.

Steve Goldman, Power-One’s chairman and CEO, commented, “We are very excited to join forces with Atmel Corp.—an industry leader in the design and manufacture of advanced microcontrollers, nonvolatile memory and logic devices. Their proven expertise in digital design and semiconductor packaging, combined with Power-One and C&D’s experience in digital power conversion and power management, will bring to the market truly revolutionary products. The Z-Alliance has had products in the market now for over six months, while our competitors are talking about having product available sometime this year. Meanwhile, we’ve been working on our second-generation products and believe we will have gained considerable market share by year end.”

“Our decision to join the Z-Alliance organization was motivated by the accelerating acceptance of Z-One digital power technology in the market,” said Jeff Katz, Atmel senior vice president, marketing. “We believe Atmel’s semiconductor design and manufacturing capabilities complement our partners’ strengths in the traditional power supply market and allow further expansion of Z-One application coverage through reduction of system cost and time to market. We also feel this will complement Atmel’s existing offerings in low-voltage and low-power products.” Atmel’s presence in the Z-One Alliance expands the design options for customers looking to implement Z-One technology. For example, the digital PWM control technology was offered previously only as part of Power-One’s digital point-of-load converters (POLs), which are complete, nonisolated dc-dc converter modules. However, according to Lou Pechi, Power-One’s director of market development, Atmel will be able to sell the digital PWM controller ICs that go into the digital POLs. Those digital PWM controllers then may be used to build POLs or other power conversion functions.

The alliance is expected to grow as other vendors become members. For information on joining the Z-One Digital Power Alliance, see www.z-alliance.org.

TAGS: Technologies
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