Executive Interview: Channelling higher power into smaller packages

March 11, 2014 // By Paul Buckley
EE Times Europe Power Management's editor, Paul Buckley interviews Phil Davies, VP Global Sales & Marketing of Vicor plc to discover what the leading power conversion company sees as the major technology trends of 2014 and how it plans to support sales growth in Europe.

EE Times Europe: What do you think will be the three major technology trends of 2014 and how will they impact Vicor? Where is your sales growth going to come from in Europe?

Davies: The first one that stands out is high voltage DC distribution, which we feel will gain significant traction over the next three to five years. Large Datacom and Datacentre companies are seeing major advantages with HVDC distribution. Additionally, we are seeing companies in the industrial sector showing serious interest in this technology. The nice thing for us is that our proprietary Sine Amplitude Converter (SAC) technology used in our Bus Converter Modules gives us a really big advantage in this market from the viewpoint of density and efficiency. We’ve just launched the first Bus Converter Module using our new ChiP packaging technology, which is rated at 1.2 kW in a very small package (63 x 23 x 7 mm). Vicor will also soon be launching higher power versions in the same small package size, which is testament to the SAC capability.

Next up would be 54/48 V being used as the hub in datacentres.  We are seeing a great deal of interest in this as a way of eliminating the UPS, with its associated power losses, costs and complexity are also reduced and reliability is increased. The backup batteries would simply be fed into the 48 V node. Also, with Vicor’s Factorized Power Architecture utilizing PRM and VTM chipsets, the ability to go from 48 V direct to the point of load is a very attractive proposition in terms of efficiency and density given the trend towards lower and lower voltages with microprocessors and DDR memory

Thirdly, the automotive industry is now looking seriously at 48 V distribution in hybrid applications.  And another high voltage application is of course in pure electric cars where conversion and regulation of the high voltage (400 V) from the large