Cliff Keys, Editorial Director, Power Systems Design
Welcome to this special issue of Power Systems Design North America themed on automotive technology. Within the following pages you will find an abundance of information on this increasingly popular topic as well as the in depth power related contributions, comment and articles we strive to bring to our engineering audience. Whatever happens with the terrible oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it brings into focus the urgent need to reduce our worldwide oil dependence. What is playing out here is in heightened media focus right now, but it is happening all the time in less media-fertile areas, away from our immediate doorstep. It's a real mess and will no-doubt get cleaned up, certainly in the Gulf, but only engineers from the power industry can move the world forward to deliver a viable oil-alternative. It will probably take a generation to achieve and will certainly meet with much resistance from the firms and authorities with vested interests in oil, but it just has to happen. The automotive industry, one of the most demanding and challenging for semiconductor manufacturers to service, demands a quality of engineering far more stringent than found in the majority of commercial applications. The rugged physical and electrical environments experienced plus the extremes of temperature make the skillful design engineering, manufacturing and subsequent quality control a huge investment for manufacturers. Not a bad thing considering the many safety factors that need to be considered. These firms deserve the higher margins they currently command. Following a very tough year, the market for automotive MEMS sensors, especially pressure sensors, used to measure tire pressure and engine performance, will rebound sharply in 2010, but continued high sales might lead to an overheated market pushing the industry back into depression, according to iSuppli. Global shipments are projected to reach 591.2 million units in 2010, a healthy increase of 17.8%. This marks the beginning of an upturn that is predicted to continue until at least the end of 2014. North America will account for the largest share in the consumption of MEMS, making up 40% of the total in 2010. Europe is next, with over 30% share. At PSD North America meanwhile, we are determined to give our readers the broadest and in-depth information to help bring a balanced insight to the whole industry. With our regular MarketWatch feature from IMS Research, David Morrison's new column on recruitment and opportunities in our industry and the in-depth design feature from Dr Ray Ridley, we strive to provide a single point of reference for engineers and managers. To complement this, we have the up-to-date industry and product news together with selected features and articles contained within our weekly web-blast, PowerSurge. If you do not receive this currently, please contact me and I'll get a subscription arranged. I do hope you enjoy the issue, please keep sending me your vital feedback to help us to deliver what our industry needs, and enjoy our fun-strip, Dilbert, at the back of the magazine. We all need a laugh.
All the best, Cliff Keys Editor-in-Chief Power Systems Design Cliff.Keys@powersystemsdesign.com