EL SEGUNDO, Calif. International Rectifier is set to unveil new products that capitalize on its expertise in dc/dc converter design, while Texas Instruments Inc. (Dallas) is ready to roll out new voltage regulator products along with its power-management strategy for 2000.
International Rectifier (El Segundo, Calif.) believes its introductions represent a dramatic new thrust in the dc/dc converter market. The strategy keys on front-to-back applications expertise in dc/dc converter design, and harnesses controllers and power MOSFET semiconductors that are carefully tuned to promote the maximum power efficiency for each application.
Meanwhile, Texas Instruments (Dallas) will introduce a number of voltage regulator products as part of its strategy to become the number one shipper of power devices in 2000. Boosted by its 1999 acquisition of module maker Power Trends (Warrenville, Ill.), TI also keys on front-to-back applications know-how and a thick catalog of power-management part types.
"One or two LDOs isn't going to gain you mind share as a supplier," said Steve Goacher, TI's product development manager for power management. The company will offer a broad range of ICs, along with detailed applications information. TI is also prepared to offer module or drop-in solutions, which some customers prefer when time-to-market outweighs cost considerations, said Goacher.
Power management is the strongest part of the standard linear IC market, a building-block segment that includes data converters, IC amplifiers and interface components. In 1998, power management accounted for 32 percent ($2.04 billion) of the $6.3 billion standard linear IC market, according to Dataquest Inc. (San Jose, Calif.).
The power-management IC market will grow about 16 percent and includes 30 different segments, and TI intends to play in 15 of them, Goacher said.
Even before its acquisition of Unitrode, TI had passed Linear Technology Corp. (Milpitas, Calif.) as the market's number two supplier. With $238 million in power-management device shipments, TI trailed National Semiconductor Corp. (Santa Clara, Calif.) in that market by only $50 in 1998, according to Dataquest statistics.
Among the products TI will announce this week are a dual output power supply controller (the TPS56300) and a dual output low-dropout voltage regulator (the TPS701xx). TI also introduced two parts that emphasized power rail sequencing: the UCC3895 BiCMOS phase shift PWM controller for +500-watt supplies, and a complete 25-W, dual-output power supply module, the Excalibur PT6930.
For its part, power transistor and controller maker International Rectifier is staging a new attack on the dc/dc converter market, a segment that is growing 30 to 40 percent a year, from about $3 billion in 1999 to almost $5 billion in 2004, according to Jeff Sheppard of Darnell Research Group (Corona, Calif.).
Whether they power circuit boards in a 48-V telecom backplane or the core logic of new-generation Intel processors, IR's dc/dc converters respond to the trend of distributed power, said Alex Lidow, IR's chief executive officer. The converters must take the 48- or 12-V bus voltage and convert it to the 5, 3.3, 2.5 or 1.8 volts needed to power local circuitry.
In the case of the Pentium core voltage controllers, the demand for current increases while the voltage potential decreases. The challenge for core voltage controllers, for example, is to respond to current demands that can surge from zero to 15 amps with one tick of a 600-MHz clock.
Efficiency is always a key consideration, especially when a system runs from batteries. Any power lost in the conversion process will be dissipated as heat and will tax battery life, Lidow said.
IR plans to provide semiconductor components with the industry's highest efficiency for both isolated power supplies and buck supplies. The parts will be introduced in three phases extending from January through December, said Lidow.