Promoting its capability of mass customization, Vicor has developed the PowerBench online suite of advanced power design tools. These tools are readily accessible from Vicor’s website, and enable power designers to specify and verify the performance and attributes of customized power systems in real time. This streamlines the power-design process, and frees engineers from the constraints of designing around power supplies having a limited range of fixed operating parameters.
PowerBench encompasses the design of dc-dc converters, ac-dc and dc-dc partitioned power architecture (VIPAC and VIPAC arrays), and a broad range of power-factor-corrected ac-dc power supplies. Together with the online tools, these systems all facilitate and integrate the design, ordering, and manufacturing processes.
According to Vicor, the tool suite accounts for the electrical verification of user-specified power systems for parameters such as input voltage, output voltage and power. It also performs verification for the various temperature grades for the unit that is being configured (there are five different product grades). The customer is then responsible for using it within these user-defined specifications.
Power Bench consists of three major elements. The first element, the custom module design system (CMDS), supports Vicor's FasTrak Maxi, Mini, and Micro dc-dc converters. Any output voltage between 2 Vdc and 48 Vdc, and any input voltage from 18 Vdc minimum to 425 Vdc maximum (with input voltage ratios up to 2.1-to-1) are supported. Output power is selectable over a continuous range of 20 W to 500 W per module, and modules can be configured in fault-tolerant arrays capable of delivering several kilowatts.
Vicor states that although the modules can be used in fault tolerant arrays, array design is beyond the scope of CMDS, and is left to the designer. This is due to the individual requirements and application-specific issues that can arise in these arrays. However, detailed information on creating fault-tolerant arrays can be found in Vicor’s application notes, and in the Design Guide and Applications Manuals for the Maxi, Mini and Micro families.
The second element, the Vicor-configurable automated design (VCAD), is the heart of Vicor’s VIPAC, a power system that leverages advances in dc-dc converters and modular front-ends. This element also incorporates a partitioned power architecture.
The third element, the Vicor systems product online configurator (VSPOC), is an online system that enables a registered user to specify and verify complete power solutions in real time.
By clicking on the “Contact Vicor” link, designers are given contact information to discuss their project with applications engineering or customer service. There is also a “Comments” link for site feedback and a help page for navigation assistance.
Designers who use this tool can typically expect delivery of prototype quantities of their designs within six weeks.