While at APEC this year I became more aware of the Power Electronics Industry Collaborative (PEIC) which was founded ten years ago. They define their organization as ‘a national, industry-focused, member-based consortium made up of original equipment manufacturers (OEM), material suppliers, researchers, scientists, and other stakeholders working to advance and strengthen the US power electronics ecosystem through the advocacy and implementation of strategies that accelerate power electronics technology development, analysis of the supply chain, and reinforce workforce development opportunities’ .
They completed a two-year study, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Standards & Technology’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (NIST AMTech). This study yielded a technology roadmap and supply chain report in late 2016. See Figure 1 for that roadmap.
The fast-growing power semiconductor technology is enabling higher efficiency devices that can operate at higher temperatures, higher frequencies and at higher voltages in smaller/lower cost package sizes. There are many technology and manufacturing hurdles to be overcome and solved so this roadmap provides a good overview of those challenges, where the state-of-the-art is today and future solutions that are being developed to achieve this better performance that will be needed with the coming of 5G, the Internet-of-Things, Smart Homes, Smart Electric Vehicles and more.
Wide Bandgap (WBG) semiconductors are at the center of this development. Capacitors, magnetics, and packaging technology must also keep up with this performance enhancement in power design capability.
In 2017 the PEIC will focus on the power electronics workforce development in 2017. Part of the PEIC mission is to advance the U.S. power electronics industry’s competitiveness in the global economy. The PEIC is engaging in discussions with member organizations and other industry, academic institutions, and government labs to develop workforce development programs specific to power electronics engineers during 2017.
I think it is very important for suppliers and designers to monitor the PEIC website for new advances and opportunities in the Power Electronics ecosystem. I expect to hear much more upcoming news as we move forward in 2017 after this APEC 2017 conference that just ended.
See my EDN articles regarding my view of important happenings at this conference thus far—with more articles to come:
Bob Mammano’s book review by Editor Steve T, Book-review: Fundamentals-of-Power-Supply-Design