Demand for Power Pushes Upward

Switched-Mode, Three-Phase and Green Power Head the Wish List

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In 2006, the power supply market was estimated at more than $14.6 billion and was forecasted to achieve modest growth to more than $20 billion by 2012, according to a research report from IMS Research (, an electronics industry research network in Montreal.

According to Joel Audino, product manager at Carlo Gavazzi (, there is “a tremendous demand for reliable DC power, particularly in critical applications.”

One of the trends Audino sees is a transition from older linear-type power supplies to newer, switched-mode power supplies. “The linear type, characterized by a large transformer and heavy weight, usually are 25–50% efficient, whereas the switching type can have efficiencies from 65–90%,” he says. “With the linear style, you can get approximately 10–15 W per pound and they take up 2–3 in3 of space per watt. With switching, you get about 30 W per pound, and require only 1–2 in3 of space per watt.”

As control systems become more dependent on high-quality, reliable power capable of many different applications, there’s a transition underway from low-power, general-purpose power supplies to higher power, including three-phase, industrial-grade power supplies.

Low-profile power supplies are a new trend in the marketplace. They offer a shallow depth and fit more easily into most electrical cabinets and distribution panels. Gavazzi engineers say they offer the same great efficiencies and light weight of the standard switching power supplies but offer a versatile, shallow mounting configuration.

Expanded functionality is another trend that embraces features such as parallel function, power boost and power factor correction. “For redundancy in critical applications, the parallel function is a feature where, rather than merely including a second set of output terminals, some manufacturers include a built-in decoupling diode,” says Gavazzi. “This minimizes added expense and conserves valuable cabinet space compared to using a separate decoupling module. Power boost capability provides an extra 10–25% power capability to handle increased demand or for under-specified power supplies.”

Environmentally friendly configurations also are becoming more popular, not to mention being required in certain areas. “Green power is the largest outside influence on power-supply designs right now,” states David Norton, vice president of marketing, Lambda Americas ( “Higher and flatter efficiency curves with reduced standby and device-off power drains are being mandated by the California Efficiency Commission and Energy Star.”

Luisa Muyco, product specialist at IDEC (, beleievs that, “while reliability, quality and ease-of-use remain key factors in the power supply market, customers also continue to look for compact and lightweight power supplies that give them the benefit of space and cost savings. DIN-rail switched-mode power efficiencies are rising and price pressures continue as customers look for larger wattage power supplies and three-phase power supplies to eliminate transformers. Universal inputs, SEMI F47, Class 1, Div. 2 (UL1604) and UL508 will continue to be in demand in the future as well.”

S8VS-Series switching power supplies with built-in diangostic displays shortens troublehooting inside the control panel. The display shows the status of output voltage, output current and peak hold current. The single-phase, single-output AC-to-DC power supplies are available with display on models ranging from 60 W to 480 W.
Omron Electronics LLC; 866/45-omron;

PSU67, 24 V, IP67-rated power supply uses potting material rated for washdown and provides self-extinguishing capability to UL94-VO standard. Efficiencies approach 90%, isolation protection is 3.3 kVac, and the units have output ranges of 90–264 Vac or 110–735 Vdc. It uses minifast 7/8-in. connectors and carries approvals from UL, CE, and CAN/CSA.

ESX10-T electronic circuit protector has electronic trip characteristics and active current limitation to allow selective disconnect of loads wired to 24 Vdc power supplies. It limits the highest current to 1.3–1.8 times the rated capacity, making it possible to switch on capacitive loads up to 20,000 microF. Failure and status indication are provided by a multicolor LED and status output signal and can be remotely enabled and reset with a digital signal.
E-T-A Circuit Breakers; 800/462-9979;

Slim Line power supplies (90x22.5x95 mm for 10 W and 15 W models) are available at 5 V in 10 W, and 12 V and 24 V in 15 W. All are UL508 listed for 100% full load operation, eliminating the need to oversize or derate the power supply. Meeting UL 1604 standard and Class 1 Div. 2, the power supplies are suitable for hazardous locations and are NEC Class 2-rated.

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