Artesyn Technologies Inc. is counting on its new point-of-load converters to help it capture more distributed-power applications involving telecommunications and data communications equipment.
The Boca Raton, Fla., power supplier derives 65% of its revenue from enterprise computing and 35% from telecom/datacom networks, and says both sectors are increasingly shifting from central to distributed power systems requiring DC/DC converters that can provide voltages at the point of load, according to Todd Hendrix, vice president of worldwide marketing.
"There's a real explosion in point-of-load power," said Hendrix, noting that one cause has been the greater use of multiple voltages other than 5 and 12V to power lower-voltage ICs.
"I've seen one server application requiring 17 different voltages," said Jim Nelson, a product manager at Artesyn.
Designated the SIL10 series, the company's converters come in single-in-line packages measuring 1.2 x 0.61 x 0.53in. or 1.2 x 0.45 x 0.61in. The converters are available in eight models with fixed outputs ranging from 0.8 to 3.3V, plus a wide-output model with trimmable output voltage over a range of 0.8 to 3.6V.
Hendrix said the point-of-load converters, priced at $11.90 in quantities of 10,000, are at least 50% less expensive than brick-type converters.
"In server systems, you can't justify the cost of brick converters," Hendrix commented. Wireless-network designers, he added, were delaying 3G networks in favor of optimizing 2G and 2.5G networks through reducing power-system cost.
The lower cost stems in part from the fact that while brick converters have isolation circuitry, point-of-load converters don't--a factor that may not deter designers looking for a price break, said Mohan Mankikar, an analyst at Micro-Tech Consultants Inc., Santa Rosa, Calif.
"You can make a strong case for selling a nonisolated converter when there is a huge price differential," Mankikar said. He also noted that an isolated front-end converter can be used with a point-of-load converter to achieve isolation.
Hendrix said that the company's point-of-load converters offer time-to-market advantages over discrete-component solutions, which require additional board space and design effort.
"Artesyn can gain market share by targeting business that currently goes to discrete solutions," Mankikar said. "A packaged converter solution will ease assembly and take up less space for the designer."