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High Power Density Design in Electronic Products

Key Takeaways

  • High power density design in electronic products.

  • The advantages of high power density designs.

  • Design considerations for high power density converters.

 High power density converters

Product design engineers are challenged to create the best designs that offer high efficiency and high power density

Space limitation is a constraint in every stratum of engineering, and the tagline “do more with less” encourages designers to create compact, miniaturized designs. The trend for portable or handheld electronic devices has led to the need for high power density designs. To keep up with this demand, product designers are challenged to create quality designs with high efficiency and high power density. In this article, we will explore the advantages of high power density designs as well as some design considerations for high power density converters. 

High Power Density Design

High power and compact size are two design parameters that are hard to match, however, if this is achieved, the product is considered a high power density product. High power density designs can accommodate high voltage and high current within small product dimensions. The high power density design of electronic products is meant to deliver continuous output power in watts without compromising thermal performance, efficiency,  reliability, and product lifetime.

To put it simply, power density can be expressed as output power in watts per cubic centimeter or as power per volume. A high value of power density is always an advantage, as it saves space and gives maximum output power in the given volume. But, it is important to achieve high power density products without the heavy derating of components or the excessive rising of temperatures; the efficiency of the product cannot be compromised. A product designer’s goal is always to create high power density designs with high efficiency and excellent thermal performance.

Advantages of High Power Density Designs

In electronic product design, power density is usually achieved by incorporating high power density power supplies, power converters, power ICs, etc. High power density designs offer the following advantages:

Small size: High power density electronic products are able to perform just as well as their larger counterparts.

Thermal consideration: The high value of power density in product design, especially electronics, is a threat to the device’s thermal performance. However, proper thermal management and packaging technology allows high power density designs to accommodate high temperatures without losing efficiency or performance. 

Easy comparison: The power density value of two similar products is useful when making a trade-off. Most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) supplying electronic products strive to increase power density to make their business monopolized. This shows how high power density products are influencing the market.

Efficiency: Most power density designs support high efficiency. Losses in components are reduced when designing for high power density. High power density designs are often chosen for their excellent thermal and electrical performance.

Design Considerations for High Power Density Converters

Most electronic devices utilize power converters for power conversion from AC to DC, DC to AC, AC to AC, or DC to DC. As power converter size decreases, the device occupies a smaller floor area and saves costs, especially in data centers, server rooms, automobiles, marine, avionics, and space engineering systems where the carpet area adds a cost. 

In conventional converters, passive components dominate the system volume, and reducing the number of components in power converters is a method to reduce the volume and cost. The technique of increasing the switching frequency of converters builds up the power density, and with that, the magnetic component size also decreases. 

High-frequency transformers and coupled inductors are a few examples of components of reduced size. Silicon carbide and gallium nitride semiconductors and nanocrystalline materials are alternatives to the traditional physical materials used in high power density converter designs. By using these design modifications, an efficient and power-dense converter can be constructed. 

In engineering applications such as automobiles, avionics, marine systems, and space, the high power density design of power supplies, power converters, and integrated circuits is critical. Cadence’s suite of design and analysis tools can help you in designing high power density electronic products.  

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