6/4/2003 By Ashok Bindra, Editor,PETech Interactive Online Design Tool Cuts Power Supply Development Time To bring system level design capabilities to online simulation and development environments, Santa Clara, Calif.-based National Semiconductor has combined its broad portfolio of power management ICs with advances in its interactive Webench power supply design tool. As a result, the new interactive systems solutions selector solutions.national.com. and the revamped Webench 4.0 toolset together give users the ability to visualize complete systems online and interactively optimize the design in a few clicks before generating bill of material and creating the intended prototype. This new toolset will permit users to bring products to market in timeframes that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago, according to Phil Gibson, vice president of National’s Web business unit.
An easy-to-use interactive online design support environment, solutions.national.com. expedites the selection of power management devices for a specific application. Presently, it features solutions for some 30 specific applications for markets such as automotive, broad communications, displays, industrial medical systems, consumer, and wireless communications. Efforts are underway to expand this system solutions list to nearly 100 before the year’s end. Using a graphical navigation guide, users can access color-coded system level diagrams, obtain a list of recommended ICs, perform electrical and thermal simulations via Webench 4.0, and order product samples for worldwide delivery within 24 to 48 hours. The selection guide lets users select power management parts for a specific application by adjusting parameters such as power supply voltage, package type pin count, cost, and more than 300 electrical characteristics.
The revamped Webench 4.0 now features switching regulators for high-voltage power supply designs, as well as the supplier’s catalog of LDOs, adding more than 500 new devices. According to Edward Lam, vice president, power management at National, “The high-voltage switchers and LDOs extend the Webench toolset into an entirely new range of industry solutions.”
Major enhancements to Webench 4.0 include higher simulation accuracy, faster design, a carbon-copy feature, and multilingual capability. To assure faster and greater accuracy, new Spice-based simulation models have been added, while the older ones have been fine-tuned. Test suites can easily be duplicated with the carbon-copy feature, allowing engineers to automate test suites. The multilingual ability of Webench 4.0 offers easy translation from English to Japanese, Korean, Standard Chinese, and Simplified Chinese. In addition, National’s Analog University and knowledge-based research are integrated with Webench.
Webench usage continues to grow. Worldwide, more than 44,000 registered engineers create an average of 12,000 designs per month. In the past year, the use of Webench tools has surged by 230%—a significant increase since its humble beginnings in 1999, when the online simulator for power supply designers was first launched. Interestingly, much of the new growth is coming from Asia.
For more information, visit www.national.com.