Making Industry More Efficient

Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD



As we continue our journey out of the pandemic that has hit the world so hard, things are slowly, but surely getting back to normal. The last year has been hard, but many of us are lucky enough to be able to work from home. Many others have not been so fortunate and have had to go into work risking infection despite precautions being taken to stop the spread. Those people have kept our food and goods flowing and they deserve a big thank you from us all.

There are plenty of those type of people in the electronics industry, who help make our chips, boards and products. Our biggest customers in Europe also come from the industrial sector, and in the future, that area could make up an even bigger part of our output due to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The IIoT has been quickly adopted by companies that operate in the industrial sector as the benefits are so clear – more efficient processes, less waste and the enabling of predictive maintenance for production machinery. Electronics have also got a big part to play in other areas of industry. For example, electric motors in industry are the biggest overall consumers of energy worldwide. According to CleanTechnica, electric motors consume around 66% of the power used in industry and 45% of all electricity generated globally. The EU has targeted making motors more efficient to by eliminating the most wasteful motors in a series of steps that will reduce carbon output by over 1 million tonnes per year.

The first article in our Special Report this month looks to help motors become more efficient by using GaN die in the intelligent power modules that drive motors. Eric Persson from Infineon Technologies talks about how GaN die in IPMs for motor drive applications can dramatically cut power loss over silicon technologies. They also do not suffer the high edge-rate problems that silicon technologies do, which can impact reliability and EMI compliance.

The second article in the Special Report this month is focussed on PLCs. PLCs have been a mainstay of industrial applications for decades, but the complexity and demands of today’s industrial processes means that they have to incorporate more power and features than ever before, while still being housed in packages that fit on standard DIN rails. They also require accurate communications, especially in the analog domain. In his article, Jürgen Schemel from Analog Devices details how the company’s AD5758 chip can completely integrate all the functions of an analog output channel, including the basic function of a DAC, driver, an ADC, intelligent power management and a voltage reference. The resulting solution is small, accurate and doesn’t need derated for different load conditions.

As well as the Special Report article we have general articles on a variety of subjects along with news and comment. I hope you enjoy.

Best regards,

Ally Winning

European Editor, PSD