The Ubiquity of Industrial Electronics

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



When we first announced the industrial editorial topic, we had no shortage of willing participants. No surprise there – nearly every component flits through the industrial space at some point. And because of its ubiquity, industrial electronics invites a huge diversity of topics. The April issue covers everything from buck-boost converters to solid state relays, control system GUIs, bridgeless totem pole PFC implementation, smart meter power-path management, and cooling fans.

John Bazinet, David Loconto, and Steve Knoth with Analog Devices provide a treatise on how ultralow quiescent current buck-boost converters can power industrial systems. “A buck-boost DC/DC converter is one of the most valuable tools in a power supply designer’s toolbox ... in a power backup application, where a discharging storage element has a discharge voltage curve that spans the required fixed output, a buck-boost converter will exercise both modes of operation,” they note.

Meanwhile, Rogelio Castaneda and Oscar Rivera with Sensata Technologies discuss how solid-state relay designs for power supplies offer integrated thermal protection that can prevent overheating of industrial machinery. Large industrial systems all contain “big and expensive electrical motors that, if their power supply system overheats, can be severely damaged.”

4D Systems gives tips for upgrading an electromechanical user interface to a touch-sensitive LCD graphical user interface (GUI). Indeed, doing so can “can significantly extend a product’s lifetime.”

Wei Wu over at Infineon Technologies pontificates on how bridgeless totem pole PFC implementation, properly applied, eliminates EMI issues found in traditional boost PFCs. “Most of the bridgeless PFC solutions suffer from EMI issues,” notes Wu, but “the bridgeless totem pole PFC implementation does not have this problem.”

Dan Tooth from Texas Instruments ponders how a low-dropout (LDO) solution can be used for smart meter power-path management. In this scenario, an external wireless communication module must limit its supply current to be within a 100 – 150mA range, and a super capacitor (supercap) backup supply must be able to continue powering the module after the main power fails.

Finally, CUI’s Jeff Smoot reflects on cooling fan reliability – after all, if it fails, “the machine it’s meant to be cooling could eventually fail too.” Therefore, “device designers need to select fans that will be up to the task for the duration of their product’s expected life.”

Enjoy the April issue, and check out our extensive online coverage of industrial electronics here: