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Vicor aims to produce power supply parts in Asia, says CEO

Posted: 28 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Vicor? power supply? manufacturing? computing? automotive?

Vicor Corp., based in Andover, Mass., has announced its plan to manufacture its power supply components in Asia. The company expects to execute this plan either by building its own factory or by licensing its technology and allowing another company to manufacture there. This is according to Patrizio Vinciarelli, president, CEO and chair of Vicor.

What's paramount in the company's plan is its intention to build out from the large numbers of high value, relatively low volume applications that have been its traditional home ground and into larger volume markets in computing, automotive and even consumer electronics.

Patrizio Vinciarelli

Vicor emerged in the 1980s with what was, at the time an innovative brick-like approach to high-efficiency switch-mode power conversion called zero current switching. Since then the company has expanded and enhanced its offering to cover a complete range of power products from the wall plug and AC/DC conversion via one or multiple DC/DC conversion stages to regulation at the point-of-load.

Vinciarelli who founded Vicor in 1981, has served as president, CEO and chair of the board ever since. Having received a doctorate of physics from the University of Rome, Vinciarelli worked at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research known as CERN before becoming a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey from 1977-1980.

Vinciarelli said Vicor is in a transition phase as it seeks to build out from its origins in high efficiency, highly-featured power supplies for professional applications. While it wants to continue to serve, communications, defence, mil-aero and industrial applications, it is making ground data centre server racks, in automotive and other higher volume applications, said Vinciarelli.

However, the company is also in the process of introducing a new form factor for "front-end" power component at Electronica.

The VIA range for Vicor Integrated Adaptor package builds on the established converter housed in package (ChiP) approach and have a standard width of 35.3mm and a height of 9.3mm. The units will come in lengths varying from 72-141mm.

The VIA range combines multiple ChiP packages inside a machined metal housing and adds filtering, surge suppression, control, monitoring and bus interface functions to create something that should be easy to design in. VIA will support a range of voltage I/O and power handling including isolated, non-isolated, AC-input and DC input, regulated and non-regulated. Vicor describes VIA as "an IC approach to higher power system integration and it will cover from 25W to 1kW and input operating voltages from 8V to more than 420V. The first product, expected early in 2015, is likely to be a 400W, AC/DC input block. The VIA package is a machined metal housing that can be attached to heatsink or equipment cold wall.

VIA family of power supply components

The VIA family of power supply components with common height and width. Source: Vicor

"We were an early innovator with 'bricks' in communications. It solved a problem in communications but it was not general purpose enough," said Vinciarelli.

Vinciarelli stated that had then become important for Vicor to build out is range across the various levels of AC/DC conversion to 48V, 12V, 5V and DC/DC conversion from these DC voltages using standard component foot prints. That involves a range of input voltage ranges, output voltages and power conversion specifications along with variants on cased and board-mounted form factors, power-factor correction isolated, and non-isolated, regulated and telemetry and control functions. "You need all the complementary blocks. The approach becomes more powerful when you offer all the blocks for an end-to-end solution.

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