The Final Frontier

Author:
Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

Date
03/31/2023

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Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

­There have already been a lot of big stories in the industry already and we are barely a quarter of the way through the year. For example, the purchase of GaN Systems by Infineon, or the British volt saga are both bigger than news we get for some entire years. With power technology being in such demand for EVs, renewable energy and other high growth areas, there is bound to be more acquisition action soon. And it is not only on earth that power components are in high demand, but in outer space too.

Our Special Report this month has a rather out of this world feeling. Industrial electronics covers a huge breadth of applications, one of which is space. Components for industrial applications usually have to be protected against, noise, EMI, dust and liquids, and on occasion radiation. Space radiation levels can vary enormously. Satellites were originally mostly situated in high orbit so that they could gain as much coverage as possible. The high radiation levels at that height meant that every component in the satellite had to be radiation proofed at great cost. Now, with modern communication systems, the trend is towards constellations of satellites in low earth orbit that can communicate with each other to bring global coverage. One of the main benefits of this type of technique is lower radiation levels, meaning components require less protection. However, these satellites are smaller and lighter, and can’t have large solar generators or large batteries. That doesn’t stop the owners of the satellites wanting higher performance and using very high-performance devices to process and transmit large amounts of data. These tasks are difficult to accomplish here on earth, never mind in space with very tight power budgets. In the first article of our Special Report, Salah Ben Doua from Vicor tells us how the company is working to bring lower conversion losses and higher power density to space.

Looking further into the future, deep space exploration has always been an exciting prospect for humanity. But to accomplish that, astronauts need to have a way to make their own food as spacecraft can only carry so many supplies. In the second article in our Special Report, Patrick Le Fevre from Powerbox looks at how food is grown in restricted spaces on earth, and what a power architecture would require performing a similar task in space.

The final article in the Special Report is a bit more down to earth and comes from Radoslav Valchev, from Toshiba Electronics Europe. In the article, Radoslav talks about Brushless DC motors, and their gaining importance in industry. To get the best performance and highest efficiency out of the motors requires in-depth knowledge of both power and embedded technologies and how they work together.

As well as the special Report, this month’s issue will also include general power articles in our Tech Focus section, along with the latest news and views from the industry.

I hope you enjoy!

 

Best Regards,

Ally Winning

European Editor, PSD

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