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Industry News

electronica 2012 – Innovation and Evolution

November 19, 2012
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The ‘electronics industry’ is diverse, wide ranging and all encompassing. Electronics is at the forefront of innovation and the basis for the latest technologies that impact and shape everyday lives across the globe, be it the cars we drive, Smart Grids monitoring our energy resources, medical equipment in surgeries or the communications that keep us in touch.

Every two years the evolution of electronics is demonstrated at electronica, the International Trade Fair for Electronic Components, Systems and Applications. When the 25th electronica at the Messe München, Germany, closed on 16 November more than 72,000 visitors had passed through the doors. A total of 2,669 exhibitors from 49 countries presented the future of electronics and showcased application-oriented solutions.

More than 72,000 trade visitors from 78 countries attended the Fair. Besides Germany, the countries with the largest contingent of visitors were Italy, Austria, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Switzerland, France, the Russian Federation and the USA, in that order. The number of visitors from Canada, the Russian Federation, Turkey, the USA, the Czech Republic, Austria and Asia saw a significant increase.

Such numbers are encouraging, especially in the light of the economic downturn and there is no doubt that although the electronics industry is robust it has not been immune to the impact of the crisis and has had to adapt to the prevalent market conditions. However, at electronica 2012 the mood was generally upbeat with the industry looking forward to 2013 with cautious optimism.

That optimism was confirmed by Christoph Stoppok, Managing Director of the Electronic Components and Systems Association and the PCB and Electronic Systems Association in the ZVEI (German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association) who said in a statement: “After a minor slump, we expect the world market for electronic components to grow by some four percent to $480 billion. Forecasts also call for an increase in sales in the global semiconductor industry.”

Trade Fair

The products on show covered the entire spectrum of technologies, products and solutions; from semiconductors, sensors, measuring and testing, electronics design, passive components, power supply, PCBs and other non-mounted circuit carriers through to EMS.

Due to the strength of the automotive industry in the Munich area in particular, and Germany in general, together with the increasing use of electronics in automotive applications this sector of the electronics market was well represented. Besides Germany, the countries with the largest numbers of exhibitors were China, Taiwan, the USA, Great Britain, Italy, Hong Kong, France, Switzerland and Japan, in that order.

Product Announcements

With the electronics industry being so wide and diverse, not all on show at electronica 2012 was pertinent to Microwave Journal readers. However, a number of manufacturers active in the RF and microwave sector targeted the show for new product introductions. To provide an idea of the diversity and variety that the trade fair offered the following provides a cross-section of some of the new products showcased. It is impossible to mention them all here and apologies to any company not represented.

Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) took a novel approach when teaming up with Wasatch Photonics Inc. to stage a Name That Beer demonstration using the Wasatch Photonics Stroker 785L Raman Spectrometer. Incorporating ADI’s A/D converter technology, the compact Raman laser spectrometer demonstrated how it could distinguish between 10 brands of German beer by reading the signature spectrum of each.

ADI also announced three new additions to its portfolio. The company unveiled what it claims to be the industry’s smallest isolated DC-DC converters, which use its proprietary isoPower® isolated DC-to-DC converter technology to deliver 150 mW of output power while using the minimum of board space. Secondly, a new FPGA mezzanine card (FMC) incorporates JEDEC JESD204B SerDes (serialiser/de-serialiser) technology to allow digital and analogue designers to simplify high-speed data converter-to-FPGA connectivity. Finally, ADI introduced a new 16-bit, 1-MSPS ADAS3022 data acquisition IC that is effective for power-line monitors, process and motor control, patient monitoring, and other industrial and instrumentation systems that operate within the ±10 V industrial range.

Aeroflex Ltd. announced a new test system based on its PXI 3000 Series modular instrumentation, which has been designed to offer measurements over a 160 MHz bandwidth at operating frequencies up to 6 GHz. The new system is particularly suited for making R&D, design verification, and production measurements on wireless LAN devices based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard, extending the company’s 802.11ac measurement capability in PXI to cover the optional 160 MHz bandwidth.

The company also announced that it now offers its 5800 Series multi-functional test system with a Virginia Panel interface, an industry-standard interface used by test fixture manufacturers around the world. The 5860 Multi-Strategy Test System combines analogue in-circuit test and functional test capabilities in a compact, floor-standing system.

Agilent Technologies introduced a high-precision PXIe frequency reference – the Agilent M9300A, which generates clean 10 MHz and 100 MHz signals for high-performance RF systems. The company designed the M9300A for applications that require a low phase noise, 100 MHz local oscillator, such as those in a wide variety of wireless and aerospace/defence test systems.

The new frequency reference is packaged into a one-slot PXIe module and uses a fractional-N design which minimizes phase noise and spurs. The M9300A features the ability to lock to an external reference from 1 to 110 MHz and provide flexibility with multiple outputs. Engineers can use the M9300A PXIe frequency reference with the Agilent M9380A CW Source or the M9381A PXIe vector signal generator to achieve its high-performance specifications, including greater speed. As the M9300A conforms to the PXI standard, it can be used in any PXI system where PXIe or PXI-H slots are available, regardless of the vendor.

Cree Inc. showcased its silicon carbide (SiC) power technology with the introduction of the first commercially available all-SiC Cree® power module. The new high frequency module, rated at 100 A current handling and 1200 V blocking, allows higher efficiency, compact and lighter weight systems that can result in lower total system costs compared to conventional silicon-based technologies.

The module includes SiC MOSFETs and SiC Schottky diodes in a 50 mm half-bridge configuration rated to 150°C maximum junction temperature. The SiC components enable the module to be operated at high switching frequencies that can reduce the size, weight and cost of the power conversion system. The new power module has demonstrated up to 100 kHz switching frequency. Target applications include high power converters, industrial motor drives, solar inverters and uninterruptible power supplies.

CTS Corp. featured its their latest technology. The Model 520 Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO) is a quartz based, clipped sine output, oscillator offering excellent performance (0.5ppm) and is housed in a 2.5 x 2.0 mm surface mount package. The TCXO is suitable for applications in wireless communications, broadband access, test and measurement, WLAN/WiMax/WiFi, portable equipment and mobile phone applications.

The Model 443 Quartz Crystal Resonator is housed in a ceramic 4-pad surface mount package, 3.2 x 2.5 mm, with glass seal cover. This cost efficient package format is suitable for a wide range of commercial applications that include; notebooks, computer peripherals, audio visual, Bluetooth and USB interfaces, PDAs, and automotive electronics. The crystal’s standard frequencies include 12, 14.31818, 14.7456, 16, 18.432, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.63636, 30, 32, 33, 40 and 48 MHz.

Building on the performance of its true-single-core high bandwidth family of ADCs with direct RF sampling, e2v launched a demonstration kit for its EV12AS200 12 bit 1.5 GSps analogue to digital converter. This demonstration kit (DK) allows for faster ADC performance evaluation. The EV12AS200 enables further innovation in many applications, including high verticality oscilloscopes, spectrum analysers, high dynamic range point-to-point microwave data links, electronic warfare systems and data acquisition COTS boards. The e2v DK board is a ‘plug & play’ data acquisition evaluation and development tool. The board includes a full clocking capability, multi-output voltage regulation and multi-option ADC input driver solutions, all optimally implemented for premium ADC performance.

Freescale Semiconductor introduced the Xtrinsic PRDTX11101 automotive radar transmitter for active safety applications, such as adaptive cruise control. The industry’s first 77 GHz SiGe BiCMOS transmitter features an integrated VCO and power amplifier for greater control, reduced system design complexity and lower system costs.

The new radar transmitter is manufactured using 0.18 µm SiGe BiCMOS technology, which enables integration of the digital control functions in CMOS with millimetre-wave frequency capabilities. The integrated VCO combined with PA stages reduces system complexity and enables a smaller customer circuit board size. The transmitter also features low phase noise, coupled with low power consumption and a wide tuning range.

Infineon Technologies released the next generation of thin wafer Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) by introducing TRENCHSTOP™ 5. With an increased breakthrough voltage of 650 V the new technology provides a higher safety margin for designs. Target topologies are boost PFC (AC/DC) stage and high voltage DC/DC topologies commonly found in applications such as Photovoltaic Inverters, Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) and Inverterised Welding Machines.

The TRENCHSTOP™ 5 provides the basis for two product families. The HighSpeed 5 (H5) is a soft high speed IGBT designed for ease of use and the plug and play replacement of existing IGBTs, since it requires minimum design-in effort. The HighSpeed 5 FAST (F5) is claimed to be the most efficient IGBT; for example, more than 98 percent system efficiency has been observed in application measurements on a photovoltaic inverter using a ‘H4 bridge’ topology.

IQD extended the performance of the IQOV-90 series high stability low phase noise OCXOs to encompass the full standard industrial temperature range of -40 to 85°C. The new design is available in frequencies from 10 to 40 MHz and with supply voltages of 12 V, 5.0 V or 3.3 V. Both sinewave and HCMOS outputs can be specified along with a frequency adjustment option and additionally, a reference voltage output where required. As a further option, an oven alarm output is available which indicates when the OCXO is at a stable working condition after warm-up.

Housed in a 25.4 x 22.0 mm package with a height of 12.3 mm, the new design satisfies applications where space and height is limited. Based on a FR4-PCB with a metal lid and delivered in package quantities of 75 pcs per reel the IQOV-95 is suitable for fully automatic SMD production. Its applications include base stations, repeater stations, instrumentation, medical and measurement equipment.

ON Semiconductor introduced a series of active spread spectrum clock generator ICs that manage EMI and RFI at the clock source, delivering system-wide EMI reduction of all clock dependent signals. The P3P8203A LVCMOS peak EMI reduction clock generator supports an input voltage of 3.3 V, a frequency range of 18 to 36 MHz, and analogue control of spread spectrum deviation by means of an external resistor.

The P3MS650100H and P3MS650103H LVCMOS peak EMI reduction clock generators are suitable for use in PCB space constrained applications where EMI/RFI can be a challenge and compliance with regulations is a prerequisite. Housed in a miniature four-pin WDFN package measuring 1 x 1.2 x 0.8 mm, these devices are spread spectrum clock generators. They support input voltages ranging from 1.8 V to 3.3 V, typical spread spectrum deviations of 0.45 to 1.4 percent, and reduction of EMI/RFI in clock sources with a frequency range of 15 to 60 MHz. Operating temperature range is -20º to +85ºC.

Quartzlock offers Close in Phase Noise of -123 dBc/Hz@1 Hz offset options on all E8000 GPS and A/E1000 Rubidium Frequency Standards and -110 dBc/Hz as standard. The A7-MX Signal Stability Analyzer has Close-in Noise Floor of -130 dBc/Hz@1 Hz offset, 5 x 10-14/s and 50 fs single shot resolution. Rapid, simultaneous, real time graphing of phase noise, short term stability AVAR (1ms out to >2 years) and phase data

More speed, more accuracy was the motto for Rohde & Schwarz. The main focus was the R&S ESR EMI test receiver, which measures conducted and radiated disturbances in the 10 Hz to 7 GHz frequency range in compliance with the CISPR 16-1-1 standard. Using an FFT-based time domain scan, the instrument measures electromagnetic disturbances at an extremely high speed. At the same time, the instrument functions as a full-featured, powerful signal and spectrum analyzer for lab applications. Featuring real time spectrum analysis capability with a wide range of diagnostic tools, the test receiver also enables detailed analysis of disturbance signals and their history.

The company also presented the R&S FSW43 high-end signal and spectrum analyzer with a frequency range of 2 Hz to 43.5 GHz; the latest model of the R&S SGS100A, the smallest vector signal generator on the market, which now also covers I/Q modulation throughout the 80 MHz to 12.75 GHz range; and the new R&S RTO-K5 software option for its R&S RTO high-performance oscilloscope.

RF Micro Devices (RFMD) announced the availability of the RFFM6903 front end module (FEM), which meets or exceeds the system requirements for AMI/AMR smart meter applications operating in the 868 MHz to 960 MHz frequency band. The FEM supports multiple applications, including Smart Energy/advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), portable battery-powered equipment, and general 868/915 MHz ISM band systems.

RFMD has also production released two highly linear GaN RF unmatched power transistors (UPTs) – RFHA3942 (35 W) and RFHA3944 (65 W). Their release follows the previous release of the RF393X series of UPTs targeting continuous wave (CW) and pulsed peak power applications. This new series of linear GaN discrete amplifiers is optimized for broadband applications requiring linear back-off operation or reduced spurious performance. The company plans future releases of 10 W and 95 W linear GaN devices over the next 12 months.

RT/duroid® 6035HTC laminates and 2929 bondply material will be among the materials on display at the Rogers’ booth. RT/duroid 6035HTC laminates are particularly well suited for high-power RF and microwave applications, including amplifiers, couplers, filters, and power combiners/dividers. These ceramic-filled PTFE composite materials exhibit a relative dielectric constant of 3.5 in the z-axis at 10 GHz with thermal conductivity of 1.44 W/m-K.

The 2929 bondply is a vital building block for reliable multilayer circuits and is based on a proprietary unreinforced thermoset resin system. It has a dielectric constant of 2.94 in the z-axis at 10 GHz and loss tangent of less than 0.003 in the z-axis at 10 GHz. Compatible with sequential bond processing techniques, 2929 bondply materials are well matched to many of Rogers’ high performance PCB materials.

Skyworks Solutions Inc. introduced a family of highly efficient front-end solutions for smart water and gas metering applications. The company’s front-end solutions enable significant size and cost reduction. In addition, many of these front-end solutions allow for plug-and-play functionality, drastically reducing the design time for new products. To date, Skyworks’ solutions are being utilized by 40 tier-one utility and smart energy providers throughout Europe.

The company’s newest front-end solutions offer increased range, high power efficiency and robust design flexibility – three critical features in smart metering applications. The company is delivering highly integrated modules that are enabling smart utility grids to improve their capacity and successfully manage customer demand, while allowing consumers to monitor and use energy and water more resourcefully.

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) announced that the CC2538 is the industry’s first ZigBee® wireless network processor to offer the three most popular ZigBee standards (ZigBee Smart Energy™, ZigBee Home Automation™ and ZigBee Light Link™) for one end-device. The CC2538 ZigBee network processor and Z-Stack™ 2.5 with ZigBee and ZigBee PRO support offer a broad feature set, which can be tailored for specific end-device(s).

The CC2538 features a robust IEEE 802.15.4 radio and a powerful ARM® Cortex™-M3 microcontroller system. All security operations are handled by dedicated accelerators, leaving enough processing power and memory to handle multiple ZigBee standards concurrently. 

Recent Articles by Richard Mumford, International Editor, Microwave Journal

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