This year’s Power Conversion and Intelligent Motion (PCIM) conference and exposition was a great event as usual, bringing together not only new technologies and companies, but also old friends and colleagues. Here’s a slideshow of some of the interesting sights and people that were at PCIM 2019.
Trade shows are people shows, because without users and the makers who create for them, nothing would happen. One person known as an integral part of the power electronics industry, and recent IEEE International Symposium on Power Semiconductor Devices and ICs (ISPSD) Hall of Fame inductee, is Alex Lidow, the co-founder and CEO of Efficient Power Conversion. He was at the showing, among other things, a 300W LLC module using the company’s EPC2045 enhancement-mode power transistor.
We also caught up with RECOM CEO Karsten Bier, who talked about how they recently acquired a company called Power Control Systems, specialists in custom solutions. This builds on RECOM’s expertise in medical power, another area where specialization is common. Such consolidation of IP is becoming more and more commonplace as manufacturers position themselves to address specific electronic industry verticals more effectively.
In addition to Alex and EPC, all of the other major wide-bandgap players were there as well, each exhibiting their latest solutions. There was a great deal of interest at the show in Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) power semiconductors, and the solutions that could be made from them. In Figure 4 the CEO of GaN Systems, Jim Witham, explains their tech to a booth visitor.
UnitedSiC is getting a lot of attention lately. Their CEO Chris Dries (Figure 5) pointed out this is not only because they are the only major epitaxial SiC player in the industry, but also because from the recent investment by Analog Devices, and the positive industry reception to the company’s new flyback portfolio at their booth. Wolfspeed’s Guy Moxley (Figure 6) was also in a great mood, talking about the recently-announced billion-dollar investment for manufacturing capacity the company is making, and its ramifications. Now that wide-bandgap is finally going mainstream, capacities have to go up significantly.
We also caught up with one of the old management team members from GaN Systems, Geoff Haynes, in his new role at The Thinking Pod Innovations (Figure 7). His group is a start-up company, from the Ingenuity Center at the University of Nottingham Innovation Park, with a focus on innovative inexpensive, power-dense solutions for power electronic conversion, in particular those employing wide band-gap semiconductors.
Besides materials, advanced topologies are also gaining traction, as engineers pursue higher levels of efficiency and power density. Pre-Switch is one of those companies, using AI-based electronics to drive IGBTs with zero switching loss. Their CEO, Bruce Renouard, was there talking about the company’s CleanWave inverter evaluation system, which uses AI to constantly adjust the relative timing of elements within the switching system, to force a resonance to offset the current and voltage waveforms, minimizing switching losses in the power conversion system.
Accuracy in power systems is as important as efficiency, and proper performance measurement of an active system enables better control and oversight. Advanced current-measurement systems not only address this need, but also improve system reliability and safety. Loic Moreau, EMEA Sales and Marketing Director for Danisense, was at the event reminding people about the need for more accurate sensing systems (Figure 9).
We also caught up with one of my old friends, Charlie Swiontek, who’s the Director of Strategic Marketing at Murata Power Solutions. The company was promoting, among other things, their latest line of AC-DC power conversion solutions (Figure 10). For example, their MVAC250 family of switching power supplies tout their high efficiency and power density.
One of the nice things about European trade shows is they take the people part seriously, and almost every booth has coffee and refreshments for weary hall walkers. Here we see the merry crew at the Vincotech booth, and their impressive coffee bar (Figure 11). LIke we said, trade shows are people shows, nothing happens anywhere unless people are involved.