New Direction in Intelligent Power Management:-

Although most of the attention on energy issues is focused on the debate over sourcing- nuclear vs. fossil fuel vs. renewable- there is a quiet but powerful revolution occurring in the grid itself. Blackouts and brownouts occuring even in “developed” economies highlight the need for better models for power distribution and management, and are driving the development of Intelligent Power Systems as integral components of what is known as the “Smart Grid”.

In contrast to centralized generation and control, these systems provide enhanced load balancing and control out on the periphery of the grid, ie at points of consumption and distributed generation from sources such as rooftop solar and small wind generators.

Therefore, at the edges of the grid demand side management will be in the form of a “power control computer” with autonomous communication capabilities either via wireless or broadband-over-powerline. This means that control logic will meet mains voltages through metering/consumption monitoring and load regulation. These applications confront the designer with problems which usually are partitioned into separate subsystems: digital logic, communications, and mains voltage (240VAC)/medium current (20 – 90A) sensing/switching.

Figure 1: RTU Worldwide Buildout

 RTU Worldwide Buildout Bar Chart

BPA expects volumes to reach some 125 million units p.a. by 2018, declining to “only” 110 million p.a. by 2022. This means integration of power management and logic will be fundamentally necessary to meet the consumer pricepoints expected for this application.

There’s more in our recent article →

Where It’s Going:-

This need for communications as well as demand-side load control represents the combination of intelligence and power provided by Metal in the Board (MiB) printed circuit technology.

The solutions which are emerging offer the potential for replacement of hardware and components formerly used to manage heat and power, and range from simply providing a metal base in the board for heat dissipation to sophisticated solutions combining thermal and power management with high density interconnect and formability. The term “Metal in the Board”, or “MiB” is coming into general use, because these solutions are not metal “core” or metal “base”. They are metal “in” the board.

BPA’s just-updated landmark study “Metal in the Board- Opportunities for Printed Circuits Providing Thermal and Power Management” is the first comprehensive look at applications, technologies, and markets developing around the fast-moving field of digital power and light.

This update brings additional coverage of dynamic new markets such as SmartGrid as well as the most recent data to the extensive review of technologies and markets presented in the first edition. These add to the solid background in thermal and current management technologies and markets which make this report essential reading for industry participants ranging from applications engineers and designers to strategists concerned with business technology and development.

How do we retool so we’re not left behind? →

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