Power Supplies – Still Better to Buy

Kevin Parmenter, Director, Applications Engineering. TSC, America



Kevin Parmenter, Director, Applications Engineering. TSC, America

­The merchant power supply market, valued at USD 35.78 billion in 2022, is projected to reach USD 50.22 Billion by 2030 – a CAGR of 5.13 percent. The merchant power supply market refers to the industry that produces devices and systems responsible for providing electrical power to electronic devices and systems. Whether line-powered or DC-DC, power supplies are essential components in various electronic applications.

Types of power supplies include:

·       Linear power supplies provide a smooth, continuous output voltage. They are suitable for applications where low noise and simplicity are critical. Some companies design their own with LM78XX regulators and such, modern switchers are taking over many applications, even low noise requirements.

·       Switching power supplies use switching devices to process the output voltage. They are more efficient than linear power supplies and are commonly used in a variety of electronic devices.

·       Uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) offer a backup power source during outages, preventing data loss and downtime.

·       DC-DC switching converters convert direct current (DC) to DC, and regulate step-up, step-down or invert DC voltage levels.

Market drivers include:

·       Growing use of electronics in manifold global sectors, including consumer electronics, industrial, telecommunications, healthcare, and automotive.

·       Rising adoption of renewable energy is fueling the demand for power supplies in solar and wind energy systems.

·       Technological advancements in power supplies that enable manufacturers to balance equipment cost vs. high performance. This includes digital power control and wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductors.

·       Ongoing miniaturization trends toward smaller and more compact electronic devices require power supplies to be more compact without compromising performance with increased power density over time.

·       Regulatory landscape of the electronic power supply market is defined by ever more stringent global and constantly evolving regulations and standards. Power supply technologies being developed must ensure product safety, energy efficiency and environmental compliance, plus offer increasing warranty periods.

·       Innovation in the global electronic power supply market is dynamic and driven by evolving consumer needs and industry trends, such as anything other than battery-powered devices.

I’ve been arguing for years that when considering the “make vs. buy” question, customers are usually better off buying, which is another reason the market is growing like it is. I have seen so many customers get themselves in real trouble trying to design power electronics when they shouldn’t.

Manufacturers are continually innovating more efficient, dependable, and compact power supply solutions across various applications. The power density and dollars-per-watt benefits available from top power supply companies are unmatched, especially in the industrial and medical electronics industries. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s still not advisable to try to meet the mandatory requirements and be cost-competitive by attempting an internal design. Using a healthy dose of honesty results in the same conclusion. You are still better off buying power converters.