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Infineon unveils high-density power modules to enable benchmark performance and TCO for AI data centers

Wed, 02/28/2024 - 09:15

Artificial Intelligence is currently driving an exponential increase in global data generation, and consequently increasing the energy demands of the chips supporting this data growth. Today, Infineon Technologies AG launched its TDM2254xD series dual-phase power modules that enable best-in-class power density, quality and total cost of ownership (TCO) for AI data centres. The TDM2254xD series products blend innovation in robust OptiMOSTM MOSFET technology with novel packaging and proprietary magnetic structure to deliver industry-leading electrical and thermal performance with robust mechanical design. This lets data centres operate at a higher efficiency to meet the high power demands of AI GPU (Graphic Processor Unit) platforms while also significantly reducing TCO. 

Given that AI servers require 3 times more energy than traditional servers and data centres already consume more than 2 per cent of the global energy supply, it is essential to find innovative power solutions and architecture designs that further drive decarbonization. Paving the way for the green AI factory, Infineon’s TDM2254xD dual-phase power modules combine with XDPTM Controller technology to enable efficient voltage regulation for high-performance computing platforms with superior electrical, thermal and mechanical operation.

Infineon introduced the TDM2254xD series at the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC). The modules’ unique design allows for efficient heat transfer from the power stage onto the heat sink through a novel inductor design that is optimized to transfer current and heat, thereby allowing for a 2 per cent higher efficiency than industry average modules at full load. Improving power efficiency at the core of a GPU yields significant energy savings at scale. This translates into megawatts saved for data centres computing generative AI and in turn leads to reduced CO2 emissions and millions of dollars in operating cost savings over the system’s lifetime. 

“This unique Product-to-System solution combined with our cutting-edge manufacturing lets Infineon deliver solutions with differentiated performance and quality at scale, thereby significantly reducing total cost of ownership for our customers,” said Athar Zaidi, Senior Vice President of Power & Sensor Systems at Infineon Technologies. “We are excited to bring this solution to market; it will accelerate computing performance and will further drive our mission of digitalization and decarbonization.”

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Saelig Company Unveils PicoScope 6428E-D – A Game-Changing High-Speed Oscilloscope

Tue, 02/27/2024 - 13:59

In a groundbreaking announcement, Saelig Company introduced the PicoScope 6428E-D, a cutting-edge four-channel high-speed oscilloscope. This innovative addition to Pico Technology’s renowned PicoScope 6000E Series boasts an impressive bandwidth of up to 3GHz and a remarkable maximum vertical resolution of 12 bits into 50ohm inputs. Featuring an unprecedented real-time sampling rate of 10GSa/s, the PicoScope 6428E-D sets a new standard for precision and performance in waveform analysis.

One of its standout features is its ability to accommodate larger than ±500mV input signals with external attenuators or probes specifically designed for 50ohm inputs. The device’s 4GSa buffer can hold up to two 200ms captures at the maximum sampling rate, facilitating the recording of multiple instances of complex signals under varying conditions. This capability is instrumental in quickly capturing high-frequency signals with unparalleled precision for detailed signal analysis. Moreover, the PicoScope 6428E-D can display single-shot pulses with an impressive 100ps time resolution, enabling users to uncover critical signal integrity issues such as timing errors, glitches, dropouts, crosstalk, and metastability issues.

Key Features:

  • 4 channels with four input ranges per channel (±50mV, ±100mV, ±200mV, ±500mV)
  • Up to 3GHz bandwidth
  • 100ps time resolution
  • 4GSa capture memory
  • Up to 10 GSa/s real-time sampling
  • 8-, 10-, or 12-bit flexible resolution (FlexRes)
  • Segmented memory/rapid block trigger
  • Built-in 50MHz 14-bit function generator/AWG
  • Fast transfer of captured data via USB 3.0 SuperSpeed connection
  • PicoScope software included, with drivers and SDK (Windows, Linux, Mac)
  • Programming examples for LabView, MATLAB, Python, and C++

Applications:

  • High-energy physics
  • Particle accelerators
  • LIDAR (light detection and ranging)
  • VISAR (velocity-interferometer system for any reflector)
  • Spectroscopy
  • Medical imaging
  • Semiconductor/Production test
  • Non-destructive testing

Designed for scientists, engineers, and researchers involved in high-speed applications, the PicoScope 6428E-D caters to the need for capturing, measuring, and analyzing sub-nanosecond waveform events. Whether used as a standalone instrument or integrated into a larger system, this oscilloscope offers unparalleled performance at a competitive cost. Unlike traditional benchtop mixed-signal oscilloscopes, which occupy significant bench space and are often financially out of reach for many engineers, the 6428E-D provides a cost-effective solution without compromising on quality. Additionally, users benefit from free software upgrades as new features become available.

Manufactured by Pico Technology, Europe’s award-winning test and measurement manufacturer, the PicoScope 6428E-D is now available through Saelig Company, Inc., their USA technical distributor.

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Microchip Launches New dsPIC DSC-Based Integrated Motor Drivers that Bring Controllers, Gate Drivers and Communications to a Single Device

Tue, 02/27/2024 - 10:45

A corresponding ecosystem of support tools will help simplify motor control system development and accelerate time to market

To implement efficient, real-time embedded motor control systems in space-constrained applications, Microchip Technology has launched a new family of dsPIC Digital Signal Controller (DSC)-based integrated motor drivers. These devices incorporate a dsPIC33 digital signal controller (DSC), a three-phase MOSFET gate driver and an optional LIN or CAN FD transceiver into one package. A significant benefit of this integration is reduction in component count of the motor control system design, smaller printed circuit board (PCB) dimensions and reduced complexity. The devices are supported by development boards, reference designs, application notes and Microchip’s field-oriented control (FOC) software development suite, motorBench Development Suite V2.45.

“Automotive, consumer and industrial designs are evolving and require higher performance and reduced footprints. These expectations often come at a higher expense and increase in dimensional size,” said Joe Thomsen, vice president of Microchip’s digital signal controllers business unit. “By integrating multiple device functions into one chip, the dsPIC DSC-based integrated motor drivers can reduce system-level costs and board space.”

The integrated motor driver devices can be powered by a single power supply up to 29V (operation) and 40V (transient). An internal 3.3V low dropout (LDO) voltage regulator powers the dsPIC DSC, which eliminates the need for an external LDO to power the device. Operating between 70—100 MHz, the dsPIC DSC-based integrated motor drivers provide high CPU performance and can support efficient deployment of FOC and other advanced motor control algorithms.

Development Tools

An extensive ecosystem of motor control software and hardware development tools helps make the design process faster and easier, reducing the customer’s time to market.

The dsPIC33CK Motor Control Starter Kit (MCSK) and the MCLV-48V-300W are two new dsPIC33-based integrated motor driver development boards that provide rapid prototyping solutions with flexible control options. The MCSK includes a dsPIC33CK low-voltage motor control development board, a 24V three-phase BLDC motor, an AC/DC adapter, a USB cable and other accessories. This cost-effective kit supports fast prototyping of motor control applications that operate between 12 and 48 VDC with up to 10 Amps of continuous current. The MCLV-48V-300W development board enables fast prototyping of three-phase permanent magnet synchronous motors that are rated between 12 and 48 VDC and capable of delivering up to 25A RMS continuous current per phase. This inverter board introduces a new modular concept where a separate dual-in-line module (DIM) is inserted into the board to configure it for a particular dsPIC DSC or MCU.

The motorBench Development Suite is a free GUI-based software development tool for FOC that accurately measures critical motor parameters, automatically tunes feedback control gains and generates source code by utilizing the motor control application framework (MCAF). The latest version, v2.45, includes a powerful new feature called zero-speed/maximum torque (ZS/MT), which enables designers to eliminate Hall or magnetic sensors while maximizing the torque output from the motor, from start-up and at low speeds. This feature can be used in pumps, power tools, e-Mobility and many other applications.

MPLAB Discover now contains many dsPIC DSC-based MATLAB Simulink models supporting various motor control algorithms and development boards. Microchip also provides free device blocks for Simulink that can be used to generate optimized code from models for dsPIC DSCs and other Microchip MCUs.

The growing number of dsPIC DSC-based motor control reference designs now includes an automotive cooling fan, low-voltage ceiling fan and a drone propeller controller. These reference designs shorten the time to market by providing a production-ready solution for various motor control applications. Typically, the board design files include schematics and a BOM, a board user’s guide and motor control source code that are available for download.

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Light + Building 2024: Naturally sustainable energy

Tue, 02/27/2024 - 09:24

Photovoltaic systems (PV systems) have a central role to play in providing sustainable energy for the future. From private balcony power plants to systems on the roofs of apartment buildings and commercial photovoltaic fields, subsidy programmes and legal simplifications are designed to accelerate the expansion of Europe’s energy systems. Thus, aspects of building-services technology, PV systems, energy storage and control, as well as systems integration, are set to gain significance at the coming Light + Building from 3 to 8 March 2024.

At Light + Building, the world’s leading trade fair for lighting and building-services technology, over 2,000 national and international manufacturers are getting ready to present both intelligent lighting systems and future-oriented home and building-services technology. The electrical infrastructure is a prerequisite for convenient home and building automation, efficient energy storage and management, the connection of PV systems and charging stations, as well as electrical heating systems.

“Trade fairs mirror markets. And Light + Building directly reflects the latest developments in the sector. In the field of building-services technology, the subjects of the source, independence and storage of energy have become increasingly important over recent years. Accordingly, these topics are also growing in significance at Light + Building with the number of exhibitors showing such products and services increasing and new companies discovering the world’s leading trade fair for themselves,” says Johannes Möller, Director of Brand Management Light + Building.

Solutions for increasingly important subjects, such as PV systems and energy storage, dominate Halls 11 and 12. 70 of the exhibitors there are experts for the subjects of e‑mobility and charging infrastructure while 45 companies present innovations and products for decentralised energy-supply systems and components. Ten of them are specialists in photovoltaic systems. The key players in Halls 11 and 12 include ABB, ABL, Amperfied, Bosch Thermotechnik, Compleo Charging Solutions, Fronius, Go-e, Hager, Hensel, Hepa Solar, Legrand, Mennekes, OBO Bettermann, Phoenix Contact, Schneider Electric, Siemens, SMA, Senec, Spelsberg, Walther-Werke, Weidmüller and Wieland.

With electrical engineering, home and building automation and connected safety and security technology (Intersec Building), the world of building-services technology is also to be found in Hall 9.

Knowledge transfer & networking: events spotlighting regenerative energies

The Building Plaza in Hall 9.0 is the meeting place for knowledge transfer, events and inspiration in the field of building-services technology. On Tuesday, 5 March 2024, the programme revolves around the subject of regenerative energies with numerous lectures and panel discussions being held under the motto ‘Storing and managing energy’. The programme continues on Wednesday and Thursday, 6 and 7 March 2024, with the first ‘Building in the Energy Transition’ congress. Under the heading ‘Light up the Future: Innovations for a sustainable energy supply in buildings and districts’, visitors can look forward to lectures, panel discussions and tours of the fair offering insights into the latest research from the field of sustainable energy supplies for buildings.

Light + Building – the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Lighting and Building Technology.

The Light + Building event will take place from 3 to 8 March 2024.

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Events to go: The variety of topics at Light + Building 2024 at a glance

Tue, 02/27/2024 - 09:20

Whether A for Architecture Day or Z for ZVEI Technology Forum – the range of events, specialist presentations and guided tours at Light + Building in Frankfurt am Main is huge. At the world’s leading trade fair for lighting and building-services technology from March 3 to 8, 2024, the abundance of events will ensure a plus in knowledge transfer and inspiration.

Light + Building is the international meeting place for manufacturers from the fields of lighting, electrical engineering, home and building automation and connected security technology from March 3 to 8, 2024. The focus is on solutions for the sustainable, safe and comfortable use of homes and buildings. A visit to the trade fair will be an experience thanks to the huge range of talks, specialist lectures, presentations and award ceremonies. Detailed information can be found in the Light + Building event calendar at: www.light-building.com/events

An overview of the wide range of events at Light + Building:

Focus: Architecture, light & design

Design Plaza Hall 3.1, Stand B50

Designer Annetta Palmisano from the bora.herke.Palmisano Style Agency will be presenting the 2024/25 trends for lighting design every day. The team will also be staging the three themes in a trend presentation in Hall 3.1 Stand F81.

On March 3, the stage will be under the sign of World Architects. The programme includes Talks + Tours with Sophia Klees at 11:00 a.m. and Prof. Andreas Schulz at 3 p.m. Further guided tours in English will take place on March 6 at 11 a.m. with Sabine De Schutter and at 2 p.m. with Ulrike Brandi.

The Designplus Awards by Light + Building will be announced in the afternoon at 1.30 p.m. In cooperation with Stylepark, a magazine & platform for architecture and design, Messe Frankfurt will present the awards. All award-winning products will be on display in a special show in the passageway of the foyer in Hall 5.1/6.1 for the entire duration of the fair. Stylepark will be exchanging ideas with selected winners of the Designplus Awards on stage on March 4. Another award ceremony will take place on March 4: the EK Service Group honours the ‘Retailer of the Year’.

Architonic editor-in-chief Simon Keane-Cowell from the DAAily platform group will explore the challenges and opportunities as well as the latest developments in the world of lighting design and planning in a series of entertaining interviews on March 5. Included will be some of the best international A&D practitioners. Outstanding works in the field of lighting design will be honoured with the German Lighting Design Award. The nominees for 2024 will be presented at Light + Building 2024. Another guest on the stage that day will be the Messe Frankfurt’s Italian subsidiary with the theme ‘Right to housing’.

The Design Plaza will be all about light and lighting topics when the Lighting Association of the German Electro and Digital Industry Association (ZVEI) takes to the stage on Wednesday, March 6. This will bring together lighting experts for roundtable discussions on the topics of sustainability, efficiency and digitalization.

For the first time, the IALD – International Association of Lighting Designers will also be a guest on stage on March 7, providing a day of high-quality content.

On International Women’s Day, March 8, the ‘Women in Lighting’ project will be celebrating its 5th anniversary at Light + Building. The theme for the stage programme in the morning is ‘Inspire Inclusion’. This will be followed by a networking session at lunchtime.

Exhibitor Stage@Light + Building, Hall 5.0, Stand B60

The experts for light and lighting will be in the spotlight on the Exhibitor Stage in Hall 5.0. For the first time, there will be alternating specialist lectures and presentations by exhibitors from March 4 to 7.

Focus: Technology & topics of the built world

Building Plaza, Hall 9.0, Stand D60

The leading content creators in the craft industry will come together live at the Power Creator Days on March 3 and 4. On stage, the online & social media world meets the trade fair action while content creators, visitors and exhibitors pedal together on charity bikes for energy generation. Messe Frankfurt converts the energy generated into a sum of money that is donated to a good cause.

MuP Verlag is organizing presentations on the topic of ‘Storing and managing energy’ on the stage on March 5. (lectures in German only)

The European industry organization REHVA will provide information on the topic of ‘Data Driven Smart Buildings’ at the Building Plaza on March 8.

BMWK areas with newcomers, Hall 9.0 / Hall 4.1

Entrepreneurial newcomers to the industry have a special place at Light + Building Autumn Edition. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) is organizing a joint stand in Hall 9.0 in the Electrical Engineering product area and in Hall 4.1 in the Technical Lighting product area.

E-House of the electrical trades, Hall 11.0 C07/D07

The focus of the ZVEH’s E-House in 2024 will be on the topics of ‘energy efficiency’, ‘sustainable energy supply’ and ‘smart health’. Among other things, it will showcase an integrated energy management system that incorporates a PV system, storage unit and heat pump as well as charging infrastructure for e-mobility. It controls the energy flows in the house according to the individual requirements of the residents.

Exhibitor Stage@Light + Building, Hall 11.0, FOY01

For the first time, there will be a stage for specialist lectures and presentations by exhibitors in the building area in Hall 11.0. From March 4 to 7, experts will take turns here to impart know-how on selected topics from the built world.

BIM by BTGA, Hall 11/Portalhaus, Via Ebene, Stand B02

The ‘BIM Cave’ will be at the centre of the trade fair appearance of the Federal Association of the Building Services Industry (BTGA) in 2024. To this end, the BTGA trade fair stand itself will become a BIM model. This gives visitors the opportunity to experience BIM live and discover the benefits of this digital planning method.

IEECB&SC and European ESCO Conference, March 6-7, Portalhaus

The 12th International Conference on Improving Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings and Smart Communities (IEECB&SC’24) and the European ESCO Conference will bring together all the key players in the field of commercial buildings and neighbourhood planning. The congress opens on March 6 and 7 from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. in the Portalhaus on level Via, room Frequenz.

House of Energy, March 5/6, Portalhaus

‘Connecting sustainable technologies together’ is the motto of the annual House of Energy Congress on March 6 and 7 in the Portalhaus.

ZVEI Technology Forum, Hall 12.1

The electrification and digitalization of the building sector is the focus of the ZVEI Technology Forum. Experts from ZVEI member companies will take a manufacturer-neutral and cross-product look at innovative solutions and systems as well as changes to standards.

Light + Building – the world’s leading trade fair for lighting and building services technology. The next Light + Building opens its doors from 3 to 8 March 2024.

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Arrow Electronics and Infineon Collaborate to Accelerate Automotive Electrification

Tue, 02/27/2024 - 08:34

Arrow Electronics, Inc. and its engineering services company, eInfochips, are working with Infineon Technologies to help eInfochips’ customers accelerate the development of electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

Development of EV chargers, especially DC “fast chargers,” is becoming increasingly challenging to equipment manufacturers due to several factors, such as lack of prior experience, stringent functional safety and reliability requirements, and a fledgling support network. The collaboration between Arrow and Infineon aims to help innovators navigate these challenges while accelerating time-to-market.

As part of the collaboration, Arrow’s High Power Center of Excellence has developed a 30kW DC fast charger reference platform. This includes Infineon’s 1200V CoolSiC Easy power modules and also hardware design, embedded firmware, bi-directional charging support and energy metering functionality.

“Combining Arrow’s strength in components, engineering and design services with Infineon’s innovative products will help customers accelerate their design and speed to market in e-mobility applications,” said Murdoch Fitzgerald, vice president, global engineering and design services at Arrow. “Customers can rely on this collaboration to deliver innovative and leading edge DC faster chargers, accelerate and de-risk design cycles, and get access to a world-class support team enabling them to plan and manage their product roadmap and lifecycles.”

“Infineon is on a drive towards decarbonization and digitalization with our ecosystem partners, and this collaboration with Arrow is a testament to this mission,” said Shri Joshi, vice president of Green Industrial Power, Infineon Technologies Americas. “The joint 30kW DC fast charger reference platform, which includes Infineon’s latest power modules and devices, will help our customers bring more fast chargers to market as the future moves to electrical vehicles. We look forward to this ongoing collaboration to support our customer base.”

The first reference design from this collaboration, a production-grade 30kW DC fast charger reference development platform, is being demonstrated at the Applied Power Electronics Conference, Feb. 25-29, in Long Beach, Calif.

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ROHM’s EcoGaN has been adopted in the 45W Output USB-C Charger C4 Duo from Innergie, a brand of Delta

Tue, 02/27/2024 - 08:01

ROHM has announced the adoption of its 650V GaN device (EcoGaN) in the C4 Duo, a 45W output USB-C charger from Innergie, a brand of Delta. Delta is a global provider of IoT-based Smart Green Solutions headquartered in Taiwan. ROHM’s EcoGaN device contributes to greater application performance, reliability, and miniaturization by providing higher efficiency in power supply systems.

Efforts to save energy are accelerating toward achieving a sustainable society by reducing power loss, especially in equipment that handle high power. Furthermore, GaN devices that enable high-speed switching are being considered for power supplies, since high-frequency operation not only saves energy but also allows the use of smaller circuits.

Offering GaN-based devices under the brand name EcoGaN, ROHM is advancing product development and providing solutions by focusing on mastering the use of GaN, which has high potential but is difficult to handle. For discrete products, mass production of 150V withstand GaN HEMTs began in 2022 and 650V withstand GaN HEMTs in 2023 featuring industry-leading device performance (RDS(ON) × Ciss / RDS(ON) × Coss). What’s more, integrating an ESD protection element into the GNP1150TCA-Z improves ESD breakdown tolerance by approximately 75% over standard GaN HEMTs, and has been evaluated to improve application reliability that ultimately led its adoption.

Yuhei Yamaguchi, General Manager, Power Stage Product Development Dept., LSI Business Div., ROHM Co., Ltd.

We are pleased to have ROHM’s EcoGaN incorporated into USB-C chargers from Delta, a global leader in power and thermal management solutions. ROHM contributes to Delta’s prowess in high-energy power supplies by leveraging analog technology that maximizes power semiconductor performance and achieves superior topologies. Both companies share a similar management vision to realize a decarbonized and digital society, forming a strong partnership that resulted in the adoption of ROHM devices and ICs in Delta’s power circuit design. Furthermore, we look forward to our continued collaboration to promote greater miniaturization and efficiency in chargers and other products that can contribute to enriching people’s lives.

Jason Chen, General Manager, Innergie, a brand of Delta

The development of GaN power devices is a major focus in the global electronics industry, and therefore, we have deepened our collaboration with ROHM over the past several years. Moreover, in 2022, we initiated a strategic partnership to jointly develop next-generation power semiconductors for power supply systems. This partnership has delivered ROHM’s advanced 650V GaN (GNP1150TCA-Z) devices, which are now supporting Innergie’s new products. The C4 Duo is the first model from Innergie’s One for All Series adapters to use ROHM’s GaN devices, and we expect more models to adopt this state-of-the-art technology. We believe that, by strengthening our collaboration with ROHM, we will be able to provide customers adapters featuring higher power efficiency and capability, but with much smaller product size.

ROHM EcoGaN

Refers to ROHM’s new lineup of GaN devices that contribute to energy conservation and miniaturization by maximizing GaN characteristics to achieve lower application power consumption, smaller peripheral components, and simpler designs requiring fewer parts.

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India to Witness Major Boost in Semiconductor Industry with Two New Chip Fabs

Mon, 02/26/2024 - 11:16

In a significant development for India’s semiconductor industry, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrashekhar, announced plans for the establishment of two new semiconductor fabs alongside numerous chip assembly and packaging units. Tower Semiconductor from Israel and the Tata Group from India are set to invest billions in this initiative.

These multi-billion dollar fabs will operate with 65, 40, and 28-nanometer technology, marking a substantial advancement for India’s semiconductor capabilities. Additional proposals for packaging units are also in the pipeline, with approvals expected before or after the upcoming general elections.

Chandrashekhar, in an exclusive interaction with PTI, stated, “The names that you mentioned have submitted these big, very credible, very significant investment proposals. We see this happening in a very, very quick short term.”

This announcement follows the government’s receipt of 13 proposals for setting up ATMP (Assembly, Testing, Marking, and Packaging) units and four proposals for chip fabs. The government aims to secure $55 billion in semiconductor investments by 2026 and $110 billion by 2030.

Highlighting the neglected state of electronics and semiconductor manufacturing before 2014, Chandrashekhar noted a significant increase in in-house electronics manufacturing over the past decade. In FY 2022-23 alone, electronics manufacturing reached Rs 8.22 Lakh Crore (USD 102 billion), with projections indicating further growth to Rs 23,95,195 crore (USD 300 billion) by 2026.

Chandrashekhar emphasized India’s pivotal role in the global electronics market, citing the growth of mobile phone manufacturing in the country. “Three years ago, there were no Apple phones being manufactured in India. Today, we are exporting USD 10-12 billion worth of Apple and Samsung mobile phones,” he stated, underscoring India’s expanding presence in the sector.

The establishment of these new chip fabs signals a significant stride towards positioning India as a key player in the global semiconductor industry, fostering economic growth and technological advancement in the country.

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Technological Advancements in the Aerospace and Defence Sector – Integration of AI/ML into sensors, weapons and information systems designed for the Military

Mon, 02/26/2024 - 10:07

Author: Capt. Nikunj Parashar, Founder & CMD at Sagar Defence Engineering Pvt. Ltd. 

In recent years, the defence sector has witnessed a transformative wave of technological advancements, with a particular focus on integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) into various facets of military operations. The emergence of all-electric air mobility services, particularly in the form of personal aerial vehicles, represents a groundbreaking shift in the defence technology landscape. AI and ML technologies have rapidly become integral components of military systems, enhancing their capabilities across various domains. In the realm of sensors, these technologies enable more sophisticated data analysis, allowing for real-time threat detection and predictive maintenance. AI facilitates advanced targeting, autonomous decision-making, and improved accuracy so that information systems benefit from AI-driven analytics, providing commanders with actionable insights for strategic decision-making.

One of the most notable and exciting developments in the defence sector is the emergence of all-electric air mobility services. Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAVs), often referred to as urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles, represent a paradigm shift in transportation within military operations. These vehicles leverage electric propulsion systems, eliminating the need for traditional fuel and significantly reducing both operational costs and environmental impact while providing various services such as emergency medical evacuation, logistical support and reaching areas that cannot be accessed through traditional modes of aerial transport, saving cost and time.

The adoption of all-electric air mobility services in the military context offers several advantages. Firstly, these vehicles provide unparalleled flexibility and agility, allowing for rapid deployment and evacuation in challenging terrains or emergencies. The electric propulsion systems also contribute to stealth capabilities, reducing acoustic and thermal signatures compared to conventional aircraft. Moreover, personal aerial vehicles are designed to operate in urban environments, providing an additional layer of versatility for military operations in complex and densely populated areas. Their vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities eliminate the need for extensive runway infrastructure, enabling deployment from confined spaces, such as rooftops, landing zones and droneports. The integration of AI into these aerial platforms enhances their autonomy and safety features along with advanced navigation systems, obstacle detection, and collision avoidance capabilities, making these vehicles suitable for a wide range of military applications.

The Role of Drones in Border Security and Beyond

As the defence industry continues to push the boundaries of innovation, the integration of unmanned systems has become pivotal in providing robust and efficient solutions for safeguarding national borders. Borders present a unique set of challenges, demanding cutting-edge technologies to address the vast expanses of water in coastal regions and remote terrains in hilly areas. The defence industry recognizes the unparalleled capabilities of autonomous drones, whether they be Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs), in meeting these challenges head-on, offering comprehensive solutions for border surveillance.

Autonomous drones, equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and technologies, have become indispensable assets in the arsenal of defence systems. These unmanned maritime and aerial platforms operate seamlessly without direct human intervention, following pre-programmed routes or responding dynamically to emerging threats. The defence sector harnesses the autonomy of these drones to ensure continuous, systematic, and cost-effective monitoring of maritime borders as they are equipped with advanced sensors, high-resolution cameras and thermal imaging, enabling them to capture detailed and actionable intelligence about the maritime environment and difficult terrains, providing the capability to detect, track, and respond to potential threats in real-time, bolstering national security measures.

The real strength of autonomous drones lies in their ability to cover extensive areas swiftly, providing unparalleled situational awareness. The defence sector employs these systems to conduct thorough surveillance, identify suspicious activities, monitor vessel movements, and combat illicit operations such as smuggling and illegal fishing, facilitating rapid decision-making and response coordination. This not only enhances the safety of defence personnel but also ensures continuous surveillance capabilities, maintaining an unyielding presence along maritime borders.

Furthermore, the defence industry capitalizes on the versatility of autonomous drones, extending their applications beyond border security. The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms enhances data analysis, allowing for the identification of complex patterns and potential threats with unprecedented accuracy. This proactive approach empowers defence agencies to stay ahead of emerging challenges and allocate resources effectively. The use of such technology represents a futuristic leap in military capabilities as these vehicles not only address operational challenges but also align with the growing emphasis on indigenization in developing defence technologies. As the defence sector continues to evolve, the integration of these cutting-edge technologies is shaping the future landscape of military operations.

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Understanding Car Trackers: Types, Working Mechanism, and Benefits

Mon, 02/26/2024 - 09:52

In today’s fast-paced world, technology has revolutionized various aspects of our lives, including how we monitor and safeguard our vehicles. One such advancement in vehicle security is the car tracker, a sophisticated device designed to provide real-time location information and other valuable data about a vehicle’s whereabouts. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what car trackers are, the different types available, how they work, and the benefits they offer to vehicle owners.

What is a Car Tracker?

A car tracker, also known as a GPS tracker or vehicle tracker, is a compact electronic device that utilizes the Global Positioning System (GPS) to determine the precise location of a vehicle in real time. It communicates this information to a central server or a designated user interface, allowing vehicle owners or authorized personnel to monitor the vehicle’s movements remotely.

Types of Car Trackers
  1. Hardwired Trackers: These trackers are directly connected to the vehicle’s power source and are usually installed discreetly within the vehicle’s electrical system. Hardwired trackers offer robust and continuous monitoring capabilities, making them suitable for long-term vehicle tracking.
  2. Plug-and-Play Trackers: Also known as OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) trackers, these devices are plugged into the vehicle’s OBD port, typically located under the dashboard. Plug-and-play trackers are easy to install and can be transferred between vehicles effortlessly, making them ideal for temporary tracking or rental fleets.
  3. Battery-Powered Trackers: These trackers operate on internal batteries and do not require a direct connection to the vehicle’s power source. Battery-powered trackers offer flexibility in installation and are often used in situations where covert tracking is required or in vehicles without a permanent power source.
How Does the Car Tracker Work?

Car trackers rely on GPS technology and cellular networks to transmit location data. Here’s a simplified overview of how they work:

  1. GPS Acquisition: The tracker receives signals from GPS satellites to determine its precise location coordinates.
  2. Data Transmission: The tracker then transmits this location data and other relevant information such as speed and direction to a central server or user interface via cellular networks.
  3. Remote Monitoring: Vehicle owners or authorized users can access this information in real-time through a web-based platform or a dedicated mobile app, enabling them to track the vehicle’s movements remotely.
Car Tracker Benefits
  1. Vehicle Security: Car trackers serve as a powerful deterrent against theft and unauthorized use by providing real-time location information. In the event of a theft, trackers facilitate quick recovery efforts, increasing the chances of recovering the stolen vehicle.
  2. Fleet Management: For businesses with a fleet of vehicles, trackers offer valuable insights into vehicle utilization, route optimization, and driver behaviour. This allows for better fleet management, improved efficiency, and cost savings.
  3. Insurance Discounts: Many insurance companies offer discounts to vehicle owners who install car trackers, which are considered a proactive measure to mitigate the risk of theft or loss.
  4. Peace of Mind: Knowing that their vehicles are equipped with trackers provides vehicle owners with peace of mind, especially when their vehicles are parked in unfamiliar locations or left unattended for extended periods.

In conclusion, car trackers are invaluable tools for enhancing vehicle security, optimizing fleet management, and providing peace of mind to vehicle owners. With various types available to suit different needs and preferences, investing in a car tracker can be a proactive step towards safeguarding your valuable assets on the road.

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Emerging solutions in all-electric air mobility service

Mon, 02/26/2024 - 09:50

Author: Ajay Kumar Lohany, Delivery Sr. Director- Aero & Rail, Cyient

With projections indicating a doubling of air passenger numbers to 8.2 million by 2037, the advancement of all-electric and hybrid-electric propulsion for powering Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) is evolving into a billion-dollar industry. Recent assessments by Rolls Royce suggest that approximately 15,000 Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) vehicles will be indispensable across 30 major cities by 2035 solely to meet the demand for intracity travel. By 2030, top players in the passenger Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) sector could boast larger fleets and significantly more daily flights than the world’s biggest airlines. These flights, averaging just 18 minutes each, will typically carry fewer passengers (ranging from one to six, plus a pilot).

Source: Cirium; investor presentations; US Bureau of Transportation Statistics; McKinsey analysis

The increasing urbanization, expanding population, aging infrastructure, and the surge in e-commerce and logistics underscore the need for a contemporary, safe, and cost-effective transportation solution for both people and goods. Urban Air Mobility (UAM) presents a seamless, reliable, and swift mode of transportation, addressing present and future urban challenges. With the capacity to transform intra and inter-city transportation, UAM offers a quicker and more effective alternative to conventional ground-based transportation methods. The adoption of Urban Air Mobility hinges on five primary factors:

  • Growing demand for alternate modes of transportation in urban mobility
  • Need for convenient, efficient and last-mile delivery
  • Zero emission and noise-free mandates
  • Advancement in technologies (Energy storage, Autonomous, Connected, Power Electronics)
  • Security

Despite the growing Urban Air Mobility (UAM) sector, it faces significant challenges that need addressing for future growth and success. These challenges range from developing reliable electric propulsion systems to achieving autonomous flight capabilities and establishing necessary infrastructure like vertiports and charging stations. Overcoming these hurdles is vital for unlocking UAM’s transformative potential in urban transportation.

AI Integration for UAM Enhancement

Utilizing AI for predictive maintenance enables analysis of sensor data and onboard sources to forecast maintenance needs, reducing downtime and increasing aircraft availability. AI-enabled maintenance inspections allow for rapid issue identification through image analysis of eVTOLs and UAVs, minimizing errors and oversights. AI aids in making better decisions for aircraft maintenance support by thoroughly analyzing various considerations, likely leading to improved outcomes. Additionally, robotic systems equipped with AI algorithms can autonomously repair or replace minor parts, enhancing safety for maintenance teams. Moreover, AI facilitates better diagnostics and targeted troubleshooting, expediting issue identification and repair suggestions. Ultimately, proactive maintenance, data integration, and improved safety are promised by AI in UAM, ensuring aircraft are maintained effectively from takeoff to landing.

AI in Intelligent Cabin Management (ICMS)

The Intelligent Cabin Management System (ICMS), utilized in aviation and rail industries, undergoes continuous advancements fueled by emerging technologies. Enhanced facial recognition algorithms, driven by artificial intelligence (AI), significantly improve efficiencies and reliability in user authentication, behavior analysis, safety, threat detection, and object tracking. Moreover, ICMS prioritizes monitoring passengers’ vital signs onboard for health safety.

This solution ensures cabin operations with a focus on passenger safety, security, and health, suitable for various passenger cabins in aircraft and rail, and particularly ideal for UAM applications. It facilitates cabin entry by authorized crew and passengers, guides seating arrangements, enforces luggage placement regulations, ensures compliance with air travel advisories, monitors passenger behavior for preemptive intervention, identifies permitted and potentially threatening objects, flags left luggage, and detects vital health parameters for real-time monitoring and control.

AI in UAM Maintenance

AI-driven predictive maintenance involves analyzing sensor data and onboard sources to anticipate UAM maintenance needs, aiding in proactive scheduling and minimizing downtime. Similarly, AI-based inspections utilize image analysis to swiftly identify potential issues during regular checks, enhancing accuracy and reducing errors. Additionally, AI supports maintenance decision-making by analyzing various factors like repair costs and part availability, providing informed recommendations. Future advancements may see autonomous maintenance systems, powered by AI, performing routine tasks such as inspections and minor repairs, improving efficiency and safety. Furthermore, AI assists technicians in diagnostics and troubleshooting by analyzing data and historical records to pinpoint issues and suggest appropriate solutions, streamlining maintenance processes and ensuring UAM operational reliability.

Conclusion

The integration of AI into UAM maintenance offers numerous benefits that significantly enhance the efficiency, safety, and reliability of UAM operations. Through proactive maintenance enabled by AI’s predictive capabilities, maintenance teams can anticipate and address potential failures before they occur, reducing unplanned downtime and enhancing operational reliability. Furthermore, AI-supported maintenance increases aircraft availability, ensuring vehicles are consistently safe and reliable, thus contributing to higher customer satisfaction and overall operational performance.

Moreover, AI-driven maintenance optimization leads to cost reduction by accurately predicting maintenance needs and minimizing unnecessary inspections and component replacements, thereby reducing labor and material costs. Additionally, AI’s continuous monitoring of UAM vehicle conditions enhances safety by detecting anomalies or safety risks in real-time, preventing accidents and ensuring timely maintenance. Overall, the application of AI in UAM maintenance represents a transformative step towards a more efficient, safe, and reliable urban air transportation system.

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Precision at all Altitudes for Aerospace: Addressing the Challenges of Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace Production

Mon, 02/26/2024 - 09:38

Authored by: Mr. Aveen Padmaprabha, Head of Industrial Quality Solutions, Carl Zeiss India (Bangalore) Pvt. Ltd.

 

Mr. Aveen Padmaprabha, Head of Industrial Quality Solutions, Carl Zeiss India (Bangalore) Pvt. Ltd.

The aerospace industry in India is one of the fastest-growing sectors with an increasingly strong domestic manufacturing base. To gain further competitive advantage, the implementation of new technologies such as additive manufacturing has been gaining importance in the recent past. While this method leads to cost reduction of building low-volume parts, as well as enables the industry to challenge the limits of efficiency through extremely accurate and complex design executions, the quality challenges faced by these new manufacturing processes should also be thoroughly addressed. High-precision metrology solutions are not only an opportunity to optimize the manufacturing process but also offer valuable insight into material sciences and ensure the quality of the output.

Additive Manufacturing as an Opportunity in Aerospace

Air travel, a preferred mode of transportation, relies on aircraft parts meeting stringent quality standards. For instance, before a supplier commences production, up to 1500 inspection features of a turbine blade must be verified, adhering to tight tolerance ranges at every production step. Beyond this challenge, another is the vital maintenance and repair operations (MRO) which often involves replacing high-complexity, quality-intensive low-volume or single parts. Traditional manufacturing processes for MROs prove both time and cost-intensive, unable to meet the demanded complexity and accuracy efficiently. Consequently, additive manufacturing, specifically 3D printing, is increasingly integrated into the aerospace production chain in India, positioning the industry as a pioneer in additive manufacturing innovation. However, the adoption of this technology brings its own challenges, which our experience suggests can be effectively addressed through high-quality metrology solutions.

Hitting the Brake: The Process and Challenges of Additive Manufacturing

Powder is the building block of additively manufactured parts. The particles are small, typically ranging from a few micrometers to tens of microns in diameter. Their size distribution and shape influence spread ability and hence possible defects might occur during the process. The defect density is among other aspects and also a factor for the recycling and aging of the powder. A uniformly distributed powder bed is the essential basis for a stable and reliable additive manufacturing process. Improper powder quality, powder rheology and the process parameters might cause voids to form in the final structure. The additive manufacturing process, unlike traditional manufacturing methods, requires powders to be melted layer by layer during the build. Melt temperatures and process parameters greatly affect the crystallography and, as a consequence, part properties. After printing, the part is still attached to the build plate. It is then heat-treated for stress relief and removed from the build plate with a band saw or wire EDM. Some parts are then heat treated again for microstructure changes. These processes possibly influence the characteristics and accuracy of the part, impacting the quality and safety. Post which, Dimensional accuracy and surface finish are critical to ensure proper assembly and consistent matching across multiple parts. Even though additive manufacturing is an immense opportunity since it enables an unprecedented control over material microstructures. Analyzing and understanding these structures is key for an efficient and optimized process that ensures the demanded quality and safety.

Precision at all Altitudes: Overcoming the Challenges

Utilizing cutting-edge measurement and inspection equipment is crucial for meeting aerospace parts’ sophisticated requirements. Our metrology solutions support and can be implemented throughout the manufacturing process, enabling immediate corrective actions, ensuring high-quality output, and promoting sustainable resourcing. We employ Light or Electron Microscopes and CT for continuous powder characterization, identifying sources of quality issues in the powder bed during or after printing. Defective parts can be detected and fixed during the build, avoiding downstream costs and increasing yield. Optical 3D-scanners, Coordinate Measuring Machines, and high-resolution CT validate accuracy, inspect finished parts, and analyze internal structures, contributing to defining optimal settings for future processes. The comprehensive data analysis across the process chain, facilitated by metrology devices equipped with IoT and PiWeb software by ZEISS, ensures correlation and supports an efficient and optimized process. Investing in high-quality metrology and research equipment is indispensable for ensuring safety and quality in the aerospace industry, particularly as ‘Make in India’ propels the sector’s growth, with additive manufacturing playing a vital role in material science and process optimization.

ZEISS, as a key global provider, plays a pivotal role with its Blue Line process, contributing to the industry’s success through precise metrology and quality solutions. Moreover, the company’s commitment to excellence extends beyond mere provision, as it actively engages in collaborative ventures. The company’s globally unique application lab not only facilitates joint customer projects and scientific studies but also serves as a dynamic hub for hands-on demonstrations. This collaborative approach fosters a rich environment for learning and knowledge distribution, ensuring that the aerospace industry benefits not only from cutting-edge technology but also from shared insights and collective expertise.

In my opinion, the aerospace industry in India stands at the forefront of innovation and technological advancements, embracing additive manufacturing as a crucial element in its production chain. By leveraging cutting-edge measurement and inspection equipment throughout the entire manufacturing process, the industry can achieve immediate corrective actions, increase yield, and streamline resource utilization. With continued investments in high-quality metrology and research equipment, the aerospace sector can ensure the safety and quality of its intricate and complex components, further solidifying its position as a leader in technological innovation.

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Vishay Intertechnology Launches Innovative Half-Bridge IGBT Power Modules

Sat, 02/24/2024 - 11:28

Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. has unveiled a groundbreaking line of five new half-bridge IGBT power modules, housed in the newly redesigned INT-A-PAK package. These modules, namely the VS-GT100TS065S, VS-GT150TS065S, VS-GT200TS065S, VS-GT100TS065N, and VS-GT200TS065N, are built on Vishay’s cutting-edge Trench IGBT technology. They offer designers a choice between two technologies — low VCE(ON) or low Eoff — to mitigate conduction or switching losses in high-current inverter stages for transportation, energy, and industry applications.

These half-bridge devices are a fusion of Trench IGBTs and Gen IV FRED Pt anti-parallel diodes, featuring soft reverse recovery characteristics. The modules’ INT-A-PAK package now boasts a new gate pin orientation, ensuring compatibility with the 34 mm industry-standard package and facilitating mechanical drop-in replacements.

The modules find applications in various fields, including power supply inverters for railway equipment, energy generation, distribution, storage systems, welding equipment, motor drives, and robotics. Specifically designed for reducing conduction losses in output stages for TIG welding machines, these devices offer a collector-to-emitter voltage of ≤ 1.07 V at +125 °C and rated current. For high-frequency power applications, the other variants boast low switching losses, with Eoff down to 1.0 mJ at +125 °C and rated current.

Key features of the VS-GT100TS065S include:

  • VCES: 650 V
  • Continuous Collector Current (IC DC), TC = 80 °C: 185A
  • VCE(on) at 100 A, 25 °C: 1.05 V
  • Chip Level VCE(on) at 100 A, 25 °C: 0.98 V
  • Speed: DC to 1 kHz
  • Package: INT-A-PAK
  • Circuit Configuration: Half-bridge

These modules offer a 650 V collector-to-emitter voltage, continuous collector current ranging from 100 A to 200 A, and low junction-to-case thermal resistance. UL-approved file E78996 can be directly mounted to heatsinks and provide low EMI to diminish snubbing requirements.

Introducing these advanced half-bridge IGBT power modules marks a significant advancement in the field, promising enhanced efficiency and performance across various industrial sectors.

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u-blox Launches NORA-W4 Module: Next-Generation IoT Connectivity Solution

Fri, 02/23/2024 - 12:55

In a move set to revolutionize the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape, u-blox has introduced the NORA-W4 module, a cutting-edge solution tailored to meet the evolving demands of IoT applications. This state-of-the-art module, hailed as the most cost-effective and reliable single-band Wi-Fi 6 module on the market, promises to redefine connectivity standards for battery-operated devices.

Designed to address the burgeoning needs of various sectors including smart homes, asset tracking, healthcare, and industrial automation, the NORA-W4 module integrates advanced wireless technologies including Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth Low Energy 5.3, Thread, and Zigbee. Boasting compact dimensions of just 10.4 x 14.3 x 1.9 mm, the module is built on the Espressif ESP32-C6 System-on-Chip, offering a single-band tri-radio Wi-Fi 6 solution.

One of the standout features of the NORA-W4 module is its ability to enable battery-powered IoT nodes to operate directly over Wi-Fi, eliminating the necessity for a Bluetooth gateway and subsequently reducing system-level costs. This attribute is particularly advantageous for wireless battery-operated sensors and similar applications, promising enhanced efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Key features of the NORA-W4 module include:

  • Integration of Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth Low Energy 5.3, Zigbee, and Thread connectivity.
  • Support for Wi-Fi 6 Target Wake Time and low-power peripherals.
  • Comprehensive security features ensure enhanced protection.
  • Compact design with various antenna options and compatibility with other NORA modules.
  • Support for the Matter protocol over Wi-Fi or Thread.
  • Global certification ensures usability worldwide.

Emphasizing the significance of Wi-Fi 6 technology, the module is optimized for IoT environments, offering reduced network congestion and improved throughput in crowded settings such as factories and warehouses. Moreover, its compatibility with Wi-Fi 4 ensures seamless integration with existing infrastructure.

Security remains a top priority, with the module incorporating features such as secure boot, a trusted execution environment, and flash encryption. Offering six variants catering to diverse requirements, the module provides options for open CPU or u-connectXpress, antenna pin or PCB antenna, and 4MB or 8MB flash memory.

Early samples of the NORA-W4 module are currently available, with volume production slated to commence in the second half of 2024. This milestone launch underscores u-blox’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions that push the boundaries of IoT connectivity.

 

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Rohde & Schwarz presents 3GPP 5G conformance test solutions with smallest footprint on the market

Fri, 02/23/2024 - 11:44

Rohde & Schwarz is introducing two new setups for 5G RF and RRM conformance testing. The R&S TS8980S-4A is a cost-efficient single-box solution tailored to 3GPP inband test cases, and the R&S TS8980FTA-3A is a single-rack solution covering all inband and out-of-band test cases. No other solution on the market offers the same capabilities in such a compact format.

The R&S TS8980 is an official 5G conformance test platform approved by the Global Certification Forum (GCF) and the PCS Type Certification Review Board (PTCRB). Chipset, modem and end device manufacturers as well as test houses can use the test system to perform RF (TP298) and RRM (TP296) tests in line with 3GPP specifications. The platform also meets the test requirements of network operators and regulatory bodies.

Rohde & Schwarz has developed two new setups for its successful R&S TS8980 family: the R&S TS8980S-4A and the R&S TS8980FTA-3A. These solutions meet the market requirements for reduced hardware and a smaller footprint.

The single-box solution R&S TS8980S-4A is a fully automated conformance test system for performing validated conformance test cases up to 8 GHz and 4 carrier aggregation (4 CA). Based on an enhanced R&S CMX500 one-box 5G signalling tester (OBT), it is a cost-efficient solution that supports 3GPP RX/TX inband conformance test cases, demodulation and radio resource management (RRM) test cases. Customers can also upgrade their R&S CMX500 to an R&S TS8980S-4A. This solution is particularly attractive for 5G device manufacturers who want to perform inband testing in-house and outsource out-of-band testing to a test house. The automation is based on the R&S Contest software platform with an intuitive GUI, advanced tools for fast debugging and a sophisticated report manager for big data analysis and cloud services.

The single-rack solution R&S TS8980FTA-3A is the most compact conformance test solution on the market. It supports the full range of both inband and out-of-band test cases and the entire device certification process for RF and RRM, covering 5G NR as defined by 3GPP and carrier acceptance specifications. Typically, these capabilities require a two-rack solution. Now, Rohde & Schwarz has succeeded in reducing the footprint of this test system to a single rack setup, allowing it to be installed in laboratories with limited floor space.

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Renesas Develops New AI Accelerator for Lightweight AI Models and Embedded Processor Technology to Enable Real-Time Processing

Fri, 02/23/2024 - 11:08
Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced the development of embedded processor technology that enables higher speeds and lower power consumption in microprocessor units (MPUs) that realize advanced vision AI. The newly developed technologies are as follows: (1) A dynamically reconfigurable processor (DRP)-based AI accelerator that efficiently processes lightweight AI models and (2) Heterogeneous architecture technology that enables real-time processing by cooperatively operating processor IPs, such as the CPU. Renesas produced a prototype of an embedded AI-MPU with these technologies and confirmed its high-speed and low-power-consumption operation. It achieved up to 16 times faster processing (130 TOPS) than before the introduction of these new technologies, and world-class power efficiency (up to 23.9 TOPS/W at 0.8 V supply).
Amid the recent spread of robots into factories, logistics, medical services, and stores, there is a growing need for systems that can autonomously run in real-time by detecting surroundings using advanced vision AI. Since there are severe restrictions on heat generation, particularly for embedded devices, higher performance and lower power consumption are required in AI chips. Renesas developed new technologies to meet these requirements and presented these achievements on February 21, at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference 2024 (ISSCC 2024), held between February 18 and 22, 2024 in San Francisco.
The technologies developed by Renesas are as follows:
(1)  An AI accelerator that efficiently processes lightweight AI models
As a typical technology for improving AI processing efficiency, pruning is available to omit calculations that do not significantly affect recognition accuracy. However, it is common that calculations that do not affect recognition accuracy randomly exist in AI models. This causes a difference between the parallelism of hardware processing and the randomness of pruning, which makes processing inefficient.
To solve this issue, Renesas optimized its unique DRP-based AI accelerator (DRP-AI) for pruning. By analyzing how pruning pattern characteristics and a pruning method are related to recognition accuracy in typical image recognition AI models (CNN models), we identified the hardware structure of an AI accelerator that can achieve both high recognition accuracy and an efficient pruning rate and applied it to the DRP-AI design. In addition, software was developed to reduce the weight of AI models optimized for this DRP-AI. This software converts the random pruning model configuration into highly efficient parallel computing, resulting in higher-speed AI processing. In particular, Renesas’ highly flexible pruning support technology (flexible N: M pruning technology), which can dynamically change the number of cycles in response to changes in the local pruning rate in AI models, allows for fine control of the pruning rate according to the power consumption, operating speed, and recognition accuracy required by users.
This technology reduces the number of AI model processing cycles to as little as one-sixteenth of pruning incompatible models and consumes less than one-eighth of the power.
(2)  Heterogeneous architecture technology that enables real-time processing for robot control
Robot applications require advanced vision AI processing for recognition of the surrounding environment. Meanwhile, robot motion judgment and control require detailed condition programming in response to changes in the surrounding environment, so CPU-based software processing is more suitable than AI-based processing. The challenge has been that CPUs with current embedded processors are not fully capable of controlling robots in real-time. That is why Renesas introduced a dynamically reconfigurable processor (DRP), which handles complex processing, in addition to the CPU and AI accelerator (DRP-AI). This led to the development of heterogeneous architecture technology that enables higher speeds and lower power consumption in AI-MPUs by distributing and parallelizing processes appropriately.
A DRP runs an application while dynamically changing the circuit connection configuration between the arithmetic units inside the chip for each operation clock according to the processing details. Since only the necessary arithmetic circuits operate even for complex processing, lower power consumption and higher speeds are possible. For example, SLAM (Simultaneously Localization and Mapping), one of the typical robot applications, is a complex configuration that requires multiple programming processes for robot position recognition in parallel with environment recognition by vision AI processing. Renesas demonstrated operating this SLAM through instantaneous program switching with the DRP and parallel operation of the AI accelerator and CPU. This resulted in about 17 times faster operation speeds and about 12 times higher operating power efficiency than the embedded CPU alone.
Operation Verification
Renesas created a prototype of a test chip with these technologies and confirmed that it achieved the world-class, highest power efficiency of 23.9 TOPS per watt at a normal power voltage of 0.8 V for the AI accelerator and operating power efficiency of 10 TOPS per watt for major AI models. It also proved that AI processing is possible without a fan or heat sink.
Utilizing these results helps solve heat generation due to increased power consumption, which has been one of the challenges associated with the implementation of AI chips in a variety of embedded devices such as service robots and automated guided vehicles. Significantly reducing heat generation will contribute to the spread of automation into various industries, such as the robotics and smart technology markets. These technologies will be applied to Renesas’ RZ/V series—MPUs for vision AI applications.

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Infineon sells manufacturing sites in Cavite, Philippines and Cheonan, South Korea to ASE, strengthening the strategic partnership of the two companies

Thu, 02/22/2024 - 14:26

Infineon Technologies and ASE Technology Holding Co., Ltd. have announced that definitive agreements were signed under which Infineon will sell two backend manufacturing sites, one in Cavite, Philippines and one in Cheonan, South Korea, to two fully owned subsidiaries of ASE, a leading provider of independent semiconductor manufacturing services in assembly and test. The plants currently run under the entity names Infineon Technologies Manufacturing Ltd. – Philippine Branch (Cavite) and Infineon Technologies Power Semitech Co., Ltd. (Cheonan) and will be acquired by ASE Inc. and ASE Korea Inc. respectively. Post the transaction, ASE will assume operations with current employees, and further develop both sites to support multiple customers. As such, ASE and Infineon have also concluded long-term supply agreements under which Infineon will continue to receive previously established services as well as services for new products to support its customers and fulfill existing commitments.

Infineon’s manufacturing strategy, with a balanced operations footprint combining in-house and external manufacturing, is an important pillar of the company’s profitable growth path. By pooling manufacturing volumes in Cavite and Cheonan under a new owner and offering highest-quality manufacturing services to the overall industry, Infineon and ASE will be able to leverage mutual synergy potentials, thus generating attractive growth potentials for both companies.

“We have excellent, highly competent teams and a great track record of highest quality standards at both sites, Cavite and Cheonan,” said Alexander Gorski, EVP and Head of Backend Operations at Infineon. “ASE has been a trusted, strategic partner of Infineon for many years and will be an excellent new owner that will continue on this successful path and strengthen both fabs even further. The sale of our sites to ASE is in line with Infineon’s manufacturing strategy, provides mutual synergies and enables further growth while strengthening supply chain resilience”.

“Both the automotive and power management market segments are strategic focus areas for ASE,“ said Dr. Tien Wu, Chief Operating Officer of ASE. “This acquisition of Infineon’s facilities in Cavite and Cheonan marks ASE’s strong commitment to form a strategic long-term partnership with Infineon in developing backend manufacturing solutions matching future growth opportunities. Given Infineon’s market leadership in automotive and power semiconductors and ASE’s leading position in backend semiconductor manufacturing, this partnership creates a win-win solution for the entire ecosystem from product companies to the end consumer.”

Infineon Technologies Power Semitech is a backend manufacturing site with around 300 employees. The fab is located in Cheonan, South Korea, about 60 miles south of Seoul. Infineon Technologies Cavite, is a backend manufacturing site with more than 900 employees. It is located in one of the fastest growing and most industrialized provinces in the Philippines.

The transaction is expected to close towards the end of the second calendar quarter of 2024 when all pending closing conditions will have been fulfilled.

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Lightning research with 8-channel digitizer system

Thu, 02/22/2024 - 11:52

ADC cards by Spectrum Instrumentation help to reveal the secrets of how lightning forms

The causes of a lightning flash are complex and still unclear. At Duke University, North Carolina, USA, the team of Prof. Cummer tries to resolve these secrets. Lightning often occurs entirely in opaque clouds which makes it impossible to see what is going on. However, a flash also produces radio waves in the UHF and VHF frequency range that can be captured and studied. The challenge is that a huge amount of data needs to be processed and recorded in the seconds before and during the lighting event. The scientists chose ADC cards by Spectrum Instrumentation to manage this challenge. The objective of the research is to understand how lightning forms, using this knowledge to better protect buildings from damage and also to understand if climate change will result in more or fewer lightning storms.

Two M4i.4451-x8 digitizers syncronized for lightning research

Steven A. Cummer, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Duke University explains, “A few years ago, there was nothing that could capture and process the huge volume of data involved. During an active thunderstorm, we often need to be able to record over one TeraByte per hour. We selected the Spectrum M4i.4451-x8 digitizer card with four channels, and we use two of them in the recording equipment. They are connected via Spectrum’s Star-Hub to enable us to record simultaneously from eight antennas. Star-Hub ensures that everything is perfectly in sync which is vital as we are using the antennas to form an interferometer. From small time differences between the signals at different antennas, we are able to work out the location of each lightning event which can be up to 50 kilometres away. The cards have a sampling rate of 500 MegaSamples per second on each channel to gather the amount of data we need, and the 14-bit resolution ensures we capture all the small signals.”

The important second before the lightning event

Prof. Cummer in front of one of the eight antennas in the setup

The research of Prof. Cummer is partly focussed on the moments just before and just after the lighting starts. The structure of lightning once formed is understood – it is a conducting channel of hot ionised gas that can be hundreds of meters long. “A challenge is that we are trying to capture data before the lightning begins. This pre-event data is virtually impossible to obtain if you rely on optical data capture of the flash as there is no easy way to gather this from back in time”, he explained. “But now, with the Spectrum-based setup, we are able to get pre-lightning data. The cards constantly record data and then overwriting if it is not needed. The lightning event is the trigger to not only record data for the next second but also keep the previous fraction of a second before the event, as that is always in the card’s memory but just not stored unless triggered. With 2 GigaSamples of memory per card, there is more than enough storage to capture all the several hundred MegaSamples of signals per second we need, which is then written to an SDD. That done, the system quickly resets to record the next lightning event’s data. This is vital to capture data from a storm where lightning can occur every few seconds for several hours.”

Regarding the software of the 8-channel system, Prof. Cummer commented that he uses Spectrum’s measurement software SBench 6 to control and program the cards. “This was so easy and versatile to use that no time in this project was needed to create special software programs from scratch”, he reports.

Lightning Gamma Radiation

Another mystery that Prof. Cummer and his team are investigating is why some lightning events generate high-energy gamma radiation and others do not. The fact that this happens was discovered around 30 years ago. Gamma ray detectors on satellites picked up signals from Earth while scientists expected they should only come from deep space. The gamma rays in a thunderstorm are generated right at the beginning of a flash, so the pre-event data gathered on this project will enable physicists to understand this kind of gamma ray production.

An example of lightning analysis

The 8-channel system with its antennas could be moved around, but up to now it was operated in a fixed location at the Duke University in Durham. On April 12, 2019 at 21:24:40 UTC, the lightning flash analysed here was recorded. It is noteworthy that this entire flash took place inside a storm cloud, so only a diffusely illuminated cloud could be seen. But, with VHF radio measurements, the entire structure was captured which is shown in the diagram. With azimuth and elevation, every position in the sky is clearly defined. The timing sequence of this lightning can be seen in the linked 48 sec video that shows in slow motion the 1 second duration lightning flash. Each dot in the movie is a different detected and located radio source from the lightning flash. When all shown together, these dots make a very clear movie of the space and time structure of the lightning event.

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Vishay Intertechnology IGBT Power Modules in Redesigned INT-A-PAK Package Reduce Conduction and Switching Losses

Thu, 02/22/2024 - 09:16

Built on Trench IGBT Technology, Half-Bridge Devices Offer Choice of Low VCE(ON) or Low Eoff for High-Current Inverter Stages

Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. has introduced five new half-bridge IGBT power modules in the newly redesigned INT-A-PAK package. Built on Vishay’s Trench IGBT technology, the VS-GT100TS065S, VS-GT150TS065S, VS-GT200TS065S, VS-GT100TS065N, and VS-GT200TS065N offer designers a choice of two best in class technologies — low VCE(ON) or low Eoff — to lower conduction or switching losses in high current inverter stages for transportation, energy, and industrial applications.

The half-bridge devices released today combine Trench IGBTs — which deliver improved power savings versus other devices on the market — with Gen IV FRED Pt anti-parallel diodes with ultra-soft reverse recovery characteristics. Offering a new gate pin orientation, the modules’ compact INT-A-PAK package is now 100 % compatible with the 34 mm industry-standard package to offer a mechanical drop-in replacement.

The industrial-level devices will be used in power supply inverters for railway equipment; energy generation, distribution, and storage systems; welding equipment; motor drives; and robotics. To reduce conduction losses in output stages for TIG welding machines, the VS-GT100TS065S, VS-GT150TS065S, and VS-GT200TS065S offer an industry-low collector to emitter voltage of ≤ 1.07 V at +125 °C and rated current. For high-frequency power applications, the VS-GT100TS065N and VS-GT200TS065N offer extremely low switching losses, with Eoff down to 1.0 mJ at +125 °C and rated current.

The RoHS-compliant modules feature 650 V collector-to-emitter voltages, continuous collector current from 100 A to 200 A, and very low junction-to-case thermal resistance. UL-approved file E78996, the devices can be directly mounted to heatsinks and offer low EMI to reduce snubbing requirements.

Key Specification Table:

Part #

VCES

IC

VCE(ON)

Eoff

Speed

Package

@ IC and +125 °C

VS-GT100TS065S

650 V

100 A

1.02 V

6.5 mJ

DC to 1 kHz

INT-A-PAK

VS-GT150TS065S

650 V

150 A

1.05 V

10.3 mJ

DC to 1 kHz

INT-A-PAK

VS-GT200TS065S

650 V

200 A

1.07 V

13.7 mJ

DC to 1 kHz

INT-A-PAK

VS-GT100TS065N

650 V

100 A

2.12 V

1.0 mJ

8 kHz to 30 kHz

INT-A-PAK

VS-GT200TS065N

650 V

200 A

2.13 V

3.86 mJ

8 kHz to 30 kHz

INT-A-PAK

The post Vishay Intertechnology IGBT Power Modules in Redesigned INT-A-PAK Package Reduce Conduction and Switching Losses appeared first on ELE Times.

Infineon introduces the OPTIGA Trust M MTR, making it easy to add Matter and security to smart home devices

Thu, 02/22/2024 - 09:03

In a world of increasing connectivity and the growing popularity of the Internet of Things, it is important to simplify interoperability across connected devices and to enhance their security and reliability. The Matter standard was created precisely for this purpose. In order to facilitate integration of the Matter standard and security features into smart home and smart building devices, Infineon Technologies now introduces the OPTIGA Trust M MTR. The Matter-certified Secure Element is the latest configuration of Infineon’s OPTIGA Trust M, combined with a Matter provisioning service.

Matter: smooth interoperability of connected devices

According to ABI Research forecasts, the number of smart home devices will double by 2030, reaching about 1.7 billion worldwide. All these devices have to be able to connect securely and reliably with each other and with different smart home ecosystems. That’s where the Matter standard comes into play, facilitating smooth interoperability across connected devices even from different companies. The Matter protocol defines a set of principles that support uniform security and privacy measures for the smart home, since smart homes rely on smart devices to increase not only comfort but also efficiency and security.

“When we designed the Matter protocol in the Connectivity Standards Alliance, we were committed to building strong security,” said Steve Hanna, Distinguished Engineer at Infineon and leader of the standards teams that defined Matter’s security. “That’s why Matter brings new security features to the smart home, some of which were challenging for IoT product designers. Infineon’s OPTIGA Trust M MTR addresses those challenges head-on so that now it can be even easier to build a Matter product.”

OPTIGA Trust M MTR facilitates Matter and security integration

The tamper-resistant security controller can be easily integrated into a system to perform security-related functions and provide a high level of protection for sensitive data and cryptographic operations. As a discrete Secure Element, OPTIGA Trust M MTR can be integrated into any MCU-based design to enhance security and handle multiple product protocols simultaneously. This gives original equipment manufacturers greater flexibility and allows faster time to market.

According to the Matter protocol, every smart home device must have a Device Attestation Certificate (DAC), containing the Product ID (PID) and the Vendor ID (VID), to verify the authenticity and trustworthiness of each device commissioned in the Matter ecosystem. With OPTIGA Trust M MTR, the PID no longer needs to be defined in advance when the reel is ordered or manufactured. Instead, each device receives a personalized DAC injection at a later point right up until the start of device production. This gives device manufacturers more flexibility in creating multiple product variants of smart home devices.

OPTIGA Trust M MTR Secure Elements are pre-provisioned at a Common Criteria-certified Infineon facility. The batch of Secure Elements on a reel is shipped with an associated barcode. The customer claims ownership of these chips on the IoT portal of Infineon partner Kudelski IoT by scanning the barcode. Kudelski IoT is a trusted and established Product Attestation Authority (PAA) approved by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA). Kudelski IoT will enable the download of production DACs corresponding to the vendor and the product. Finally, the personalized DAC is transferred to the OPTIGA Trust M MTR at the factory level (see graphic).

Please note: An Online Media Briefing will be held on 22 February 2024 (3:00 pm CET / 9:00 am EST), in which Distinguished Engineer Steve Hanna will present additional information about the new OPTIGA Trust M MTR.

About Matter: In order to enhance the security and reliability of smart devices, Infineon and more than 600 companies are collaborating in the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) to simplify and harmonize the Internet of Things using technology standards such as Matter. Matter was created to keep devices and information protected and private, yet easy to use. The Matter standard provides guidance to device manufacturers, enabling them to select the appropriate platform security for their devices and corresponding use cases. Matter embeds privacy principles into all interactions between devices and software agents that handle personal data. Ultimately, it creates the foundation for connected things by supporting simplicity, interoperability, reliability and security.

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