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are dropped into apertures within the PCB assembly,” said Vinciarelli. The company is also using ARM microcontrollers for command and control functions within some of its more fully featured converters, Vinciarelli said. Cultural battle With power supply manufacturer Vicor going on PCB and adding intelligence it seems likely that it is going to meet competition from power semiconductor companies coming in the other direction. “We have a strategy. Semiconductor companies tend to have a different strategy. They tend to look at the low-end dc and be very application-specific. Power supply companies have the R&D background and can take a holistic view. We are saving companies the utility cost of energy,” said Vinciarelli, referring to the fact that the highest efficiency conversion may drive up component cost but also increases the electrical efficiency of equipment. What about companies that are looking to do transformer topologies in the back-end of line of silicon? Is it something Vicor is researching? “It can work. But does it make sense to do it? The big issue is efficiency and the problems of introducing magnetic materials in the back-end of line and finally I don’t think they can provide isolation. We can provide 10kV isolation,” said Vinciarelli. “So ingenuity on a very focused application might work. It may even lead to a successful company, but it is not a general-purpose solution,” he concluded. The VIA family of power supply components with common height and width. Source: Vicor. Investing in R&D “We invest 16 or 17 percent of revenue into R&D. We are in an investment phase. Therefore new products are the result,” said Vinciarelli who also indicated that the company is looking to go to do more manufacturing to serve higher volumes in more cost-sensitive applications. “Asia is growing substantially, Europe less so,” he said. “We have 250,000 square feet of automated manufacturing in Boston and we are looking to set up another facility, probably in Asia.” However, the exact business model for how such an Asian factory would be funded is not yet fixed. “We do have talks with companies particularly interested in taking licenses to do their own manufacturing,” said Vinciarelli. One possibility is that Vicor could use excess capacity at such a customer-owned facility for its own requirements while the customer ramps production for its own use. “Having that captive demand may help us,” Vinciarelli said while declining to name any potential licensees or locations. mouser.com The Newest Products for Your Newest Designs® More new products More new technologies More added every day Authorised distributor of semiconductors and electronic components for design engineers. www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe December 2014 11 Newestproducts_93x277.indd 1 05/11/14 15:13


EETE DEC 2014
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