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  1. Tips to Keep in Mind When Selecting an AC-DC Open-frame Power Supply

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    Cincon - AC-DC Open-frame Power Supply
    Sager Power Systems, a specialized group of Sager Electronics, offers a dedicated sales force of power systems sales engineers concentrated on power, thermal management and battery solutions with the unique position of providing traditional distribution services and value-added design. Sager is focused on bringing our customers the newest products, technical design information and design support to support our customers’ application requirements.

    Choosing the Right PSU Matters

    AC-DC power supplies are essential in many end applications as major power supply units (PSUs). More and more, power supply manufacturers provide a wide variety of options to engineers. While some PSUs may be suitable to your device, others may not due to the design of the PSU. Therefore, selecting the right PSU for your specific requirement is an important factor in the success of your project.

    1. Class I or Class II for your system
    2. Heat dissipation to the power supply

    Class I or Class II for Your Application?

    The PSU is the key component in making your device work. The first thing to determine is if your end application has a ground (earth) connection.

    If the system design of the device includes a ground connection, a Class I power supply is the correct choice. If the design does not include a ground connection, a Class II power supply is the best option. The EMC testing result is deeply affected by the choice of the power supply, making it a critical factor during the selection process.

    In many cases, when an end application is a portable device, it’s common for a Class II power supply to be selected. The reason for choosing a Class II power supply is due to the increased uncertainty surrounding the AC power source in these types of devices; there is limited knowledge of the AC source’s connection with the ground. In other cases, Class I power supplies are chosen.

    For the user’s convenience, unlike many power supplies which only have one version, Cincon also developed several series which can be used as either Class I or Class II with more options under development.

  2. How to Connect Batteries in Series and Parallel

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    PowerSonic
    Sager Power Systems, a specialized group of Sager Electronics, offers a dedicated sales force of power systems sales engineers concentrated on power, thermal management and battery solutions with the unique position of providing traditional distribution services and value-added design. Sager is focused on bringing our customers the newest products, technical design information and design support to support our customers’ application requirements.

    Series, Series-Parallel and Parallel is the act of connecting two batteries together. By connecting two or more batteries in either series, series-parallel or parallel, you can increase the voltage or amp-hour capacity, or both to allow for higher voltage applications or power hungry applications. Power Sonic explains these connection types below.

    Connecting Batteries in Series

    Connecting a battery in a series is to connect two or more batteries together to increase the battery system’s overall voltage. Connecting the batteries in a series does not increase the capacity only the voltage. For example, connecting four 12-volt 26Ah batteries you will have a battery voltage of 48-volts and a battery capacity of 26Ah.Contact Sager Power Systems for Your Battery Requirements

    To configure batteries with a series connection, each battery must have the same voltage and capacity rating. Connecting batteries of different voltages could result in damage to the batteries. Connecting two 6-volt 10Ah batteries together in a series is a strong example of proper connection, while connecting one 6-volt 10Ah battery with one 12-volt 10Ah battery is not.

    To connect a group of batteries in series connect the negative terminal of one battery to the positive terminal of a second battery and so on until all required batteries are connected. From this stage, connect a link or cable to the negative terminal of the first battery in the battery string to the application. A second cable is then attached to the positive terminal of the last battery to the application.

    When charging batteries in series, you need to use a charger that matches the battery system voltage. It is recommended each battery is charged individually to avoid battery imbalance as each battery may be at a different charge level.

    Sealed lead acid batteries have been the battery of choice for long string, high voltage battery systems for many years, although lithium batteries can be configured in series attention is required to the BMS or PCM.

    Connecting Batteries in Series

    Connecting Batteries in Parallel

    Connecting a battery in parallel is when you connect two or more batteries together to increase the amp-hour capacity. With a parallel battery connection the capacity will increase, but the voltage will remain the same. For example, connecting four 12-volt 100Ah batteries would result in a 12-volt 400Ah battery system.

    When connecting batteries in parallel, the negative terminal of one battery is connected to the negative terminal of the second battery and so on throughout the battery string. This same approach is taken with the positive terminals, with one positive terminal connected to the positive terminal of the next battery. By way of example, for a 12-volt 300Ah battery system, three 12-volt 100Ah batteries would be strung together in parallel.

    Parallel battery configuration helps increase the duration in which batteries can power equipment, but due to the increased amp-hour capacity, this configuration can take longer to charge than series connected batteries.

    Connecting Batteries in Parallel

    Series – Parallel Connected Batteries

    Series-parallel connection is the connection of a string of batteries to increase both the voltage and capacity of the battery system. Connecting six 6-volt 100Ah batteries together to create a 24-volt 200Ah battery system is achieved by configuring two strings of four batteries. In this particular connection, two or more sets of batteries will be configured in both series and parallel to increase the system capacity.

    Series – Parallel Connected Batteries

    Examples of Batteries Connected in Series and in Parallel

    Batteries Connected in Series and in Parallel
    Batteries Connected in Series and in Parallel

    Power Sonic Battery Solutions

    Power Sonic has been manufacturing sealed lead acid batteries since 1970 and offer one of the most comprehensive battery ranges within the industry. The following is a sampling of the industry leading battery solutions from Power Sonic:

    PS Series Rechargeable Sealed Lead Acid Batteries

    Overview Page

    Datasheet

    Product Catalog

     

    • General purpose VRLA battery
    • Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) technology for superior performance
    • Power and volume ration yielding unrivalled energy density
    • VdS approved models
    • Valve regulated, maintenance free spill proof construction
    • Rugged impact resistant ABS case and cover flame retardant to UL94:HB and UL94:V0
    • Low discharge rate for long shelf life
    Power Sonic PS Series Rechargeable Sealed Lead Acid Batteries

    PG Series Batteries

    Datasheet

    Product Catalog

     

    • Long service life VRLA battery
    • Superb high-rate discharge characteristics
    • Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) technology for superior performance
    • Lead-calcium alloy grids and use of high purity lead account for superior shelf-life characteristics
    • Thick plate design and efficient gas recombination for a design life expectancy of up to 12 years in standby mode
    • Proven valve regulated technology to guarantee safe operation
    • Rugged impact resistant ABS case and cover, available to UL94:V0 flame retardent
     Power Sonic PG Series Batteries

    PSL-SC Series of Series Connection Lithium Batteries

    Datasheet

     

    • Super safe lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) chemistry
    • Higher capacity or voltage capability through parallel or series connection
    • Delivers twice the power of lead acid batteries, even at higher discharge rates while maintaining constant power
    • Smart battery system (BMS) controls the parameters of the battery to provide optimum safety and battery life
    • Compact design and only 40% of the weight of comparable lead acid batteries
    • Faster charging and lower self-discharge
    • Up to 10 times longer cycle life than lead acid batteries
    • Rugged impact resistant ABS case and cover
    Power Sonic PSL-SC Series of Batteries
  3. Protecting Patients from Potential Electrical Failure

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    Sager Power Systems, a specialized group of Sager Electronics, offers a dedicated sales force of power systems sales engineers concentrated on power, thermal management and battery solutions with the unique position of providing traditional distribution services and value-added Contact Sager Power Systemsdesign. Sager is focused on bringing our customers the newest products, technical design information and design expertise to support our customers’ application requirements.

    As part of our education series, TRACO Power’s Florian Haas delves into the safety concerns that must be considered when a patient is connected to an electrically powered medical device, and how to best protect that patient by avoiding electrical failure.

    People and power don’t mix well, and this is particularly true when people are medical patients. Aside from the more usual environment of a medical facility, patients are also increasingly using medical devices at home. Medical equipment is therefore heavily regulated by standards-based requirements and subsequent product testing to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare professionals alike.

    Medical equipment with Power Supply & DC/DC Converter
    The most pressing safety concern related to medical devices comes into play when the patient is physically connected to an electrically powered device, such as the conductive pads of an electrocardiograph. These are defined as applied parts (AP). The route to ensuring patient safety lies in the implementation of IEC 60601, “Medical electrical equipment,” the standard central to the safety of electronic and electrical medical equipment power supplies.

    Understanding Key Definitions

    To safeguard patients connected to an AP medical device, IEC 60601 dictates that all medical devices must contain at least one means of protection (MOP), which could include insulation, earthing systems, air gaps, minimum creepage distances, or other protective electrical impedances.

    Since the release of the third edition, the standard makes a clear distinction between equipment that is designed to be used by operators and equipment that may come into contact with patients. Different levels of protection are required, defined as Means of Operator Protection (MOOP) and Means of Patient Protection (MOPP), respectively. MOPP regulations are the stricter of the two because of the additional risk that a patient might be unconscious when an electrical fault occurs. In addition, more than one MOP may sometimes be required in case one fails.

    Traco Power
    There are three classifications for AP devices: cardiac floating (CF) for conductive devices that could come into direct contact with the patient’s heart; body floating (BF) for conductive devices that may have prolonged contact with the patient’s body; and lastly body (B) for devices that are not normally conductive and can immediately be released from the body. Types CF and BF require a minimum of 2 x MOPPs.

    Protecting Devices Against EMI

    IEC 60601 has evolved over the past 40 years to keep up with advancements in technology. With wireless communication technology becoming more abundant in hospitals and homes, there is a need for these sensitive circuits to be impervious to electromagnetic interference (EMI). The fourth edition of the standard has, therefore, now increased the acceptance levels for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

    TRACO Power TPP450 Series

    Risk Reduction and QMS

    Two significant new introductions to the standard have been the requirements for the manufacturers of medical devices to undertake risk assessments, which must be undertaken in compliance with ISO 14971, “Medical devices – Application of risk management to medical devices,” to define best practice throughout the entire life cycle of an AP medical device.

    Component manufacturers must also implement an ISO 13485 compliant quality management system (QMS) to demonstrate their ability to consistently meet both customer and regulatory requirements.

    Practical Tips for Meeting the Standards

    For AP medical devices to meet IEC 60601, the first step would usually be to select a medically approved AC/DC supply. Many designers will specify a power supply with 2 x MOPPs to simplify the qualification process and risk assessment, even if the highest level of protection is not actually required for the device’s application.

    The most pressing safety concern related to medical devices comes into play when the patient is physically connected to an electrically powered device, such as the conductive pads of an electrocardiograph. These are defined as applied parts (AP). The route to ensuring patient safety lies in the implementation of IEC 60601, “Medical electrical equipment,” the standard central to the safety of electronic and electrical medical equipment power supplies.

    Traco Segment Medical

    However, it can become challenging to source a medical-grade stand-alone AC/DC power supply with a BF-compliant 2 x MOPP rating, particularly when the DC voltages needed for the AP instrument are different to the main system DC voltage. In this case, a 2 x MOPP IEC 60601 DC/DC converter combined with an ITE 62368 rated AC/DC power supply can easily be used to obtain compliance instead of trying to source a custom AC/DC power supply for the task.

    Specialized DC/DC converters are available that meet the standard 2 x MOPP requirements. With up to 5000 V AC of isolation, double insulation and 8 mm of creepage distance through its galvanically isolating transformer, a DC/DC converter can provide protection in the event of a mains failure (see Figure 1). By providing this, the DC/DC converter avoids mains voltage levels appearing at any patient AP points.

    An important part of the protection lies in a low coupling capacitance between the primary and secondary transformer windings to ensure that there is negligible transfer of current across the isolation barrier. Traco Power, for example, offers both AC/DC and DC/DC solutions for medical applications, all of which fulfill the 2 x MOPP requirement. Compliant with the EMC requirements of IEC 60601-1 (4th edition), they are suitable for all patient-connected, AP medical devices (BF compliant). The AC/DC products range from small 5W PCB-mounting modules, to a range of mid-power open frame designs, and enclosed power supplies offering power levels of up to 850 W. The company’s medically approved DC/DC converters offer 5000 VAC rms of input-output isolation, rated for a 250 VAC rms working voltage. This, along with leakage currents below 2 μA, make them ideal choices for use in conjunction with non-approved AC/DC PSUs in safety-critical medical applications.

    Conclusion

    The healthcare market is growing rapidly and the applicable standards that govern medical products will no doubt continue to evolve to keep safety standards high. Understanding the differences between Means of Operator Protection (MOOP) and Means of Patient Protection (MOPP) is key to properly safeguarding patients. Protecting against EMI but also applying ISO 14971 can ensure that devices are safe when the patient is physically connected to an electrically powered device. Partnering with reliable and experienced power supply manufacturers such as TRACO can greatly simplify the process.This article was written by Florian Haas, Director of Marketing for TRACO Power Group, San Jose, CA.

    As an authorized distributor of TRACO Power, Sager Power Systems is well positioned to support your medical design requirements. TRACO Power offers a wide selection of medical products, including their TPP Series of AC/DC power supplies and the THM series of DC/DC converters, all of which have medical approval, meet 2xMOPP and are BF Complaint. A Sager Power Systems Sales Engineer is ready to help you design-in one of these solutions:

    Series Features & Benefits
    THM3
    • Ultra wide 4:1 input voltage 3 W DC/DC converter in a compact DIP-24 plastic case
    • I/O isolation 5000 VACrms rated for 250 VACrms working voltage
    • Certification according to IEC/EN/ES 60601-1 3rd edition for 2xMOPP
    • Risk management process according to ISO 14971 including risk management file
    • Acceptance criteria for electronic assemblies according to IPC-A-610 Level 3
    • Low leakage current < 2µA
    • Extended operating temperature range -40°C to 90°C.
    • EMC compliance to IEC 60601-1-2 4th edition and EN55032 class A
    • Operating up to 5000m altitude
    • 5 year product warranty
    THM 3 Traco Power
     TPP450
    • High power density 3″ x 5″ open frame medical power supply
    • 450 Watt with forced air cooling, up to 320 Watt convection cooled without derating up to 50°C
    • Medical certification to IEC/EN/ES 60601-1 3rd edition for 2 x MOPP
    • EMC compliance to IEC/EN 60601-1-2 4th edition
    • Risk management process according to ISO 14971 incl. risk management file
    • Acceptance criteria for electronic assemblies acc. to IPC-A-610 class 3
    • Isolation (4000 VAC) and leakage current (<100 µA) rated for BF applications
    • Standard features: 5 V standby output 12 V fan output, Remote On/Off, Power, Good Signal, variable fan speed
    • Operating up to 5000 m altitude
    • 5-year product warranty
     TRACO Power TPP450 Series
    TIM3.5
    • Compact DIP-16-package
    • Wide 2:1 input voltage
    • I/O isolation 5000 VACrms rated for 250 VACrms working voltage
    • Certification according to IEC/EN/ES 60601-1 3rd edition for 2xMOPP and operation to 5000 m altitude
    • Low leakage current < 2 µA for BF-applications
    • High efficiency up to 83%
    • Extended operating temperature range –40°C to 90°C.
    • MC compliance to IEC 60601-1-2 4th edition and EN55032 class A
    • 5-year product warranty
     TIM 3.5 Traco Power

    Visit the TPP Series of AC/DC Power Supplies page for more information on this product offering.

    Visit the THM Series of DC/DC Power Supplies page for more information on this product offering.

    Visit the TRACO Power page on power.sager.com for more information on their offering or contact a Sager Power Systems representative, the authorized Distributor for TRACO Power, at (866) 588-1750, power.sager.com or through the below form:

  4. Evaluating a Convection Cooled Power Supply’s Performance

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    Sager Power Systems, a specialized group of Sager Electronics, offers a dedicated sales force of power systems sales engineers concentrated on power, thermal management and battery solutions with the unique position of providing traditional distribution services and value-added design. Sager is focused on bringing our customers the newest products, technical design information and design support to support our customers’ application requirements.

    The Power Guy at TDK-Lambda recently blogged on a subject worthy of mention: how to evaluate a convection cooled power supply’s performance. What makes this such an important topic of discussion is the variety of testing methods across the industry differ significantly.

    Before jumping right into the topic at hand, the Power Guy recapped convection cooling as it is widely assumed a convection cooled power supply does not need any airflow to operate. One definition of convection is “The transfer of heat by the circulation or movement of the heated parts of a liquid or gas”. In our case – the circulation or movement of hot air.

    An open frame power supply is typically mounted on a flat surface upon standoffs. Figure 1 shows how the air behaves. As the hot air rises, cooler air is drawn in from the sides. Although the airspeed is quite low, just 0.3m/s, it is sufficient to reduce internal temperatures..

    Convection Cooled Power Supply
    Evaluating a Convection Cooled Power Supply

    Before making the choice of vendor and power supply it is advisable to download not only the datasheet, but also the manufacturer’s evaluation report, reliability data, application information and safety files for the “Conditions of Acceptability”. If it is not available from the website request it. This “homework” is paramount to ensuring you are not going to have program delays due to non-performing power supplies or worse, excessive field failures.
    The report listing the thermal measurements is a key section and may raise some suspicions.

    Most power supplies are capable of operating over a wide range input. From a thermal aspect 115Vac is tougher than 230Vac, due to the higher currents (I2 x R=losses) in the input filtering and rectification circuitry. If the report only states results measured at 230V, this may be an issue.

    Convection cooled power supplies often have a higher forced air cooling rating stated on the datasheet. In this case the report should confirm if the test results were recorded with convection cooling. If that statement has not been made it should be noted for your own follow up testing. Check that the output loading is at 100%.

    The mounting orientation affects the thermal performance of the power supply. This too should be identified in the report.

    Where was the ambient temperature measured? Some reports show the temperature recorded above the power supply. This falsely overstates the true ambient temperature. Ambient should be recorded on both sides of the power supply, or underneath for a vertically mounted or DIN rail mounted supply.

    At what ambient temperature were the measurements recorded at and how long was the power supply running before the tests took place?

    A convection cooled power supply will take between two and three hours for the temperatures to stabilize. The larger, hotter components like the isolation transformer and power semiconductor heatsinks have a greater thermal mass than a small capacitor. If the report states that the power supply was run for one hour at 25oC and for one hour at 50oC then there should be at approximately a 20 oC delta between the two sets of results. Power semiconductors do operate more efficiently at higher case temperatures, and the natural convection airflow will be higher, so there will be some discrepancies. This is why extrapolating results can give errors due to non-linearity.

    Having received your sample power supplies, you can start testing. If a thermal chamber is not readily available, it is advisable to bench test with the unit covered with a large enclosure. This avoids external airflow from air-conditioning systems affecting the results. Even in a thermal chamber, there may be an internal fan to circulate air. TDK-Lambda recommends placing the power supply in a sealed enclosure to shield that air from interfering with the results. Remember to test at all the input voltages your system will be operating from.
    Ideally the temperature of each electrolytic capacitor should be measured using thermocouples attached to the exposed metal case at the top of the component. This data can be used to determine each capacitor’s life. TDK-Lambda can assist, supplying a sample with thermocouples already attached*.

    In the end system it is very important to ensure that there is adequate space for the air to be drawn in from the sides and allowed to exit above the power supply. A distance of 50mm is considered safe, less than this will cause interference with the natural convection airflow. Power supply thermal testing has to be repeated again in the end system to verify the naturally circulating airflow has not been restricted.

    The cooler a power supply operates, the longer it will last. Care taken during the early stages of product development can avoid last minute launch delays.
    And that is where Sager can help. As an authorized distributor of TDK-Lambda convection cooled power supplies, Sager Power Systems is well positioned to support your design requirements. TDK-Lambda offers a wide selection of products to address these specific convection cooling needs including:

     
    CUS-M

    30W – 600W Switching Power Supply

    • 30W, 60W, 100W, 150W, 200W, 250W, 350W and 600W models
    • 5V to 48VDC output range
    • Suitable for Industrial & Medical applications
    • BF ready medical isolation (2 x MOPP)
    • Suitable for Class I and II installations
    • For high ambient temperatures up to 85°C (model dependent)
    • High efficiencies up to 94%
    • Operating Altitude up to 5000m
    • 3, 5 or 7 year warranty (model dependent)
    • IEC60335-1 compliant models available

     

     

    CUS600M-19 TDK-Lambda Switching Power Supplies 600.4W 19V 31.6A Med
    GXE600

     600W Switching Power Supply

    • Convection Cooled
    • Up to 95% Efficient
    • RS-485 Read-Write Communication (Modbus RTU protocol)
    • Constant Voltage & Constant Current Modes
    • Medical and Industrial Certifications
    • Monitoring & Programming Functions
    • Digital or Analog Programming
    • Seven Year Warranty
     GXE600-24 TDK-Lambda Switching Power Supplies 600W 115-230AC input 24V out 25A Med
     DRB480-48

    48V 480W DIN Rail Power Supply

    • 15W to 480W High Efficiency DIN Rail Mount Power Supplies
    • Excellent efficiency – up to 93%
    • ErP compliant
    • Very low no load power consumption
    • Market leading case widths
    • Output voltages 5, 12-15, 24, 48VDC
    • Single phase input
    • 15W, 30W, 50W, 100W 120W, 240W & 480W models
    • Class 1 Div 2 for Hazardous Locations (15-100W)
    • Class 2 Models to UL1310 (see selector guides)
    • 3 year warranty
    • Suitable for TS-35/7.5 and TS-35/15 DIN Rails
     TDK-Lambda DRB Series 48V 480W DIN Rail Power Supply in in stock at Sager

    for more information on their offering, contact a Sager Power Systems representative, the authorized Distributor for TDK-Lambda, at (866) 588-1750 or complete the form below:

  5. The Challenges of Designing and Sourcing Power Supplies and Batteries

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    Every electronic application requires some form of power source, but designing and sourcing power supplies and batteries can be challenging. Customers often face potentially complex solutions, long design cycles, extended lead times, and a lack of expert design guidance. Because power and power-related products are some of the most complex in terms of design and procurement, a number of key factors must be considered when designing power.  

    Power Supplies

    Engineers and purchasing professionals must weigh many factors including an understanding of the end application, including any portability requirement. Some of the questions to ask; What is the size, output power, efficiency, and reliability needed? How will heat be managed and what means of thermal management is required? For instance, should the power supply be fan-cooled, convection, or conduction cooled?  Are there safety concerns and at what level (e.g., Class 2 vs. Class II)? Is interference an issue and does the device require EMI/RFI filtering? How long will the device run and what are the peak power loads that are required? Does the application require an uninterruptible power source or a battery backup? 

    A technical power supply distributor such as Sager Electronics through its specialized group Sager Power Systems is often the key in helping a customer address these types of design challenges. Sales engineers can assist customers in determining the correct power and battery backup solution. Recommendations may include several design options from off-the-shelf AC-DC power supplies and DC-Converters to modified standard products that range from simple modifications to highly complex design. 

    Battery Backup

    The power grids across the United States face major challenges due to infrastructure age, intense weather, and the increase in demand for electricity. Electrical outages, brownouts, and surges are a reality, and these factors need to be strongly considered when designing electronic systems.  This is especially so for equipment manufacturers in the industrial and medical sectors where down time can lead to major financial loss or potentially life-threatening situations. The growth of home health care devices like respirators, CPAP machines, power wheelchairs, and home dialysis equipment are essential to quality of life and independence, and these systems all require battery backup. To address the demand for portable and backup power requirements, Sager added RRC Power Solutions, a lithium-Ion smart battery pack manufacturer, and Power Sonic, a leader in sealed lead acid and lithium-Ion technology, to its line card.

    Procurement

    Power sources tend to have a higher value and are often larger and weigh more than most components, impacting shipping methods and costs. Batteries also present some additional buying challenges specifically around shelf-life,  recycling considerations, and shipping and handling regulations. Lead times should be monitored as extensions on power supplies and batteries can present a challenge. Price, availability and handling make proper planning crucial in the procurement of power supplies and batteries.   

    “The Sager Power Systems program is very unique to the marketplace. With a focus on power and synergistic technologies such as batteries and thermal management solutions, and the ability to provide best-in-class configurable and custom value-add services , no other distributor offers its customers this level of expertise in power and thermal,” explained Rich Arieta, Sager’s director of business development for Sager Power Systems. “Additionally, we can further support our customers’ requirements with a comprehensive array of supply chain services.”

    In today’s quick and complex market, access to knowledgeable technical advice, breadth of quality product, and reliable service is paramount to successful design. 

     

  6. Understanding the Complexities, Efficiency and safety Requirements of Power Supplies

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    The role of purchasing within an OEM or CEM is continuously expanding, and today’s purchasing professionals can heavily influence their company’s component selection. As influencers, their understanding of the parts they’re sourcing is critical to ensuring they make the right purchase at the right price and the right time. An educated buyer evaluates components, recognizes product quality requirements, and understands risk. This information is then used to make informed purchasing decisions. 

     

    In the area of power supplies, these decisions may be made all the more challenging by the sheer nature of the product.  Design options are endless and may be more complex than other electronic components. Power supplies often have higher average selling prices (ASP) with long lead times, limited liability warranties, and stringent efficiency and safety requirements. Another consideration is the prevalence of power supplies amongst counterfeiters, and how easily a part may be sourced through unauthorized channels. With all of these challenges, what can a Purchasing professional do to source the best solution while protecting their company?

     

    Understanding the complexities, efficiency and safety requirements of power supplies has a far-reaching, positive impact.  The best and easiest way to gain that understanding is to work with an authorized distributor that specializes in power conversion products.  This is even more critical as future power supplies will push the boundaries of technology, getting the most power into the smallest package while staying ahead of the latest safety and EMI/EMC requirements.  

     

    An authorized distributor focused on power knows that by lowering the amount of wasted energy within the power supply, it runs coole- and aids in the thermal design of the overall system.  Less heat generated by the power supply allows the component size to be reduced or more power to be generated within the same package size.  For instance, not so long ago a 3”x5” power supply was designed to handle 40W of power.  Today, that same 3”x5” power supply can handle 250W with no airflow or up to 500W with air blowing across it. Standardizations in footprints (2”x3”, 2”x4”, 3”x5”, etc.), has allowed for more opportunities within the same footprint, but the number of options may be limitless. Having a resource to help guide purchasing through the buying process can save a lot of time, aggravation and money in the long-term.

     

    Additionally, keeping up with changing standards is a constant challenge.  The international safety standards for power supplies, as well as end systems, are constantly being updated. EMI and EMC requirements are also changing based on new technology and how devices interact with each other.    The increase in electronic devices in our homes and businesses require more stringent requirements.  Electrostatic discharge (ESD) requirements have gone to higher levels to accommodate increased home use.  The susceptibility levels resulting from the presence of multiple electronic devices have also been raised to account for the proliferation of mobile phones, Wi-Fi networks, smarter appliances, and the internet of things (IoT) that are all connected wirelessly. The increase in medical devices for home healthcare brought about the need for additional safety standards as well. Authorized distribution works closely with power supply manufacturers to stay on top of these changes.

     

    Sourcing smaller, more efficient, warrantied, and safe products, from an authorized power specialist like Sager Power Systems, a specialized group within Sager Electronics, will ultimately result in cost savings and an enhanced return on investment for a purchasing professional and their companies.

     

  7. Knowledge is Power

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    When faced with a myriad of changing regulations, extended lead-times and tight delivery schedules, specialist expertise can provide powerful solutions, says Sager Electronics’ Paul Kopp

    Q – What are the greatest challenges faced by the power sector?Paul Kopp

    A) The ever-changing landscape of regulations is the biggest challenge, especially in medical, industrial and EMC-related applications, where regulations are frequently updated. Each country will have its own schedule for adopting industry certifications, so purchasers must be diligent in staying abreast of requirements. Manufacturers must also adapt materials and processes on an ongoing basis to ensure products meet the newest standards. Distribution plays a crucial role in tracking regulations and impacted parts across the supply chain. Sager works with both suppliers and customers to communicate changes, assist with new designs and stock the newest components, all while minimizing potential cost increases and delivery disruption.

    Q – Have there been any major shifts in purchasing habits in the power sector?

    A) For several years, we’ve seen a shift towards just in time deliveries from customers purchasing power conversion products. Power supplies have higher average selling prices and are physically larger than most components on a customer’s BOM, so purchasers can save money and production floorspace in this way. Increasingly, customers ask us to manage to their forecasts to make sure they have product available when required. We also work with purchasing and engineering to bridge any gaps between finding the best technical solution and sourcing components with the best price and lead-time. Customers are supported by a sales engineer and a field sales representative, while a dedicated inside sales representative manages price and delivery expectations.

    Q – Have power supplies and associated products been affected by extending lead-times?

    A) Lead-times of certain electronic components are beginning to extend, with pushouts of base products like capacitors, resistors, mosfets and FPGAs being felt across the supply chain. Power supplies rely on capacitive technology and are at an increased risk, but Sager has planned for any potential impact with significant investment in both high running items and customer specific parts. We’re confident we are well positioned to reduce the impact.

    Q – How will readers benefit from Sager’s acquisition strategy?

    A) The acquisition of PowerGate and Norvell, in 2014 and 2015 respectively, were designed to differentiate Sager Electronics through specialized knowledge, products and capabilities. Regional power supply distributor, PowerGate, was recognized for its technical sales team, marketing expertise and strong line card. Norvell furthered Sager’s value add capabilities, including full test, integration and design. In 2017, Sager acquired Power Sources Unlimited, which added to our technical expertise and enhanced relationships with shared power supply manufacturers. Today this technical team addresses front end inquiries from new customers, determining the right product solution.

    Q – How does Sager prepare for the launch of a new power supply?

    A)  Sager is given advanced notification of new product introduction and works closely with suppliers to profile and inventory products towards specific markets. We load descriptions, images and datasheets to support marketing efforts, which are communicated to customers through our News2Know email program. Our power sales engineering team also undergo training based on suppliers’ six to twelve-month product road map to provide customers with up-to-date product information.

    Q – How does Sager’s inventory level compare now to three years ago?Authorized Distributor Structured to support both engineering and purchasing

    A) We’ve increased our onhand inventory by over 30 per cent in the past three years. In the coming months, Sager will open a new 64,000 square foot power solutions center and distribution facility in Carrollton, Texas. Our new location is 70 per cent larger than our current center in that territory, allowing us to triple our existing distribution footprint.

    Q – What advice would you give purchasers sourcing power supplies and associated products?

    A) Power products are some of the most complex in terms of design and procurement, so work with an authorized distributor structured to support both engineering and purchasing; capitalize on the services, technical knowledge and breadth of product afforded by this relationship. Sager’s solutions such as vendor managed and bonded inventory, kitting and labelling, or power and thermal value-add capabilities, combined with a robust portfolio and dedicated technical specialists, help customers find the best fit for their requirement.

  8. Sourcing for Harsh Environments

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    Sourcing for harsh environments needn’t be tough

    To ensure electronic components can withstand their end-use environment, purchasers must navigate a host of international standards and certifications. Specialist advice can be invaluable, says Sager Electronics

    Although the interpretation of harsh and hazardous conditions can vary, factors such as water, humidity, dust, chemicals, electrical surges, vibrations, electromagnetic interference and temperatures can all cause an electronic component to perform unexpectedly or possibly even to fail.

    Clearly, failure is not an option in life-critical designs, so a thorough understanding of the environment where the application will be used and how it will be used is vital. Oil and gas exploration, nuclear power plants, hazardous waste, pharmaceuticals, outdoor environments, industrial facilities and even grain storage are often defined as harsh or hazardous environment industries, but extreme conditions can also be found across a range of more common applications and markets.

    Reliable products

    Once the criteria for environment and use have been determined, purchasing staff must ensure that the electronic components sourced meet the latest industry certifications and standards for that particular design.

    When sourcing life-critical electronic components, key considerations could include: flame proofing, explosion proofing, pressurisation, oil immersion, hermetic sealing, encapsulation, mechanical integrity and intrinsic safety. The first step to ensuring components will operate reliably is to work directly with the manufacturer or through an authorised distributor. Purchasing components from an unqualified source can leave customers exposed to a myriad of potential problems.

    Furthermore, by working with an authorised distributor, purchasers have access to the latest technologies and information on standards and certifications. Distributors can, for example, help customers understand relevant standards such as the IP rating used to describe sealing effectiveness for electrical enclosures.

    In this rating, the first number relates to protection from solid objects or materials, while the second number relates to protection from liquids. Not used as frequently, the third number denotes protection against mechanical impacts, while an X specifies that there is only one class of protection in that field.

    Beyond IP ratings, customers must also take into account a number of other standards such as ATEX, IEC and NEMA certifications. Depending on the type and severity of the expected conditions, purchasers may need to ensure components meet one or more standards issued by different authorising bodies, as well as ensuring that they adhere to any standards required in other countries or regions into which they intend to supply

    Reliable supply chain

    Several suppliers design products specifically for harsh and hazardous environments. Honeywell, EBM-Papst, Mean Well, BEI / Sensata, Phoenix Contact, Laird and Traco Power are just a few of the suppliers operating in this market.

    Bearing in mind the diverse options available, an authorised distributor that works closely with its suppliers will be best positioned to understand the product pipeline from supplier to customer and to react to economic and material influences. As lead times extend and prices increase, distributors that plan their inventory buys and position their backlog with care, particularly in relation to electronic components designed for life-critical environments, can minimise customer impact.

  9. Keep Cool in the Face of Choice

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    Most electronic devices require cooling, but with a variety of solutions on the market, choosing the right technology can be daunting. Sager Electronics walks buyers through the assorted options

    Increasing power densities, product miniaturization and stringent industry standards are all driving development in the thermal management space. Devices require more power, efficiency and performance in increasingly small footprints. Controlling temperatures in these tiny environments helps optimize performance and improve device longevity.

    Most electronic components have a heat threshold; consequently, an array of thermal management products exist to regulate unwanted heat. The variety, complexity, and scope of these options can be overwhelming, but they all strive for a common goal — to dissipate heat. When specified appropriately, they help components perform at optimal levels and avoid burnout from taxing heat.

    With many components increasingly vulnerable to heat, thermal management should be considered a strategic design-in purchase, but with such a wide assortment of cooling options available, selecting the right solution can seem challenging.

    Cooling Technologies

    Cooling Technologies

    Fans and blowers may look the same, but are differentiated by their function within an electronic system or enclosure. Fans are more often used to draw hot air out of an enclosure, while blowers are typically used to blow air onto a component or pull cooler air into an enclosure.

    Heatsinks are another familiar solution. Simply stated, heatsinks absorb and disperse heat away from high temperature components. These parts are typically cast, stamped, extruded or machined, with both passive and active heat sink types available.

    Heat pipes and vapor chambers work differently. Here a two-phase cooling solution quickly transfers heat from one point to another. They typically work in the form of a sealed vessel, with water as the working fluid. Heat is applied in one area, the liquid turns to vapor and moves to an area of lower pressure where it cools and returns to liquid form, whereupon it moves back to the heat source.

    Another technology to consider here is the liquid cold plate. This heat spreader or heatsink consists of tubes filled with cooling fluids such as water or refrigerant. Cold plates are also referred to as cold sinks and microchannel heatsinks. Constructed with cross drilled holes or embedded heat pipes to transfer cooling liquid through a cold plate under the device, the heat from components is absorbed into the liquid and is then taken out of the plate and into the larger system.

    A thermoelectric module, or Peltier cooler, is a semiconductor-based electronic component that functions as a small heat pump. By applying a low voltage DC power source to a TE module, heat will be moved through the module from one side to the other.

    In addition to those technologies listed above, there are several kinds of thermal interface materials that can aid thermal management. Gap filler, grease or putty, adhesive and epoxy, as well as phase change, insulating or non-insulating, pads and films and thermal tape materials go between a heatsink and the device to be cooled. By increasing or securing contact between the two surfaces, thermal transfer is intensified.

    Purchasing Variables

    Purchasing Variables

    When sourcing any of these thermal solutions, there are several factors that procurement professionals should consider. Availability, product shelf life, warehousing, storage and packaging can all introduce variables, as can any modified or custom products.

    Although many thermal management solutions utilize standard products, modifications or custom solutions are common. Unfortunately, either one can impact availability. Ensuring a proper inventory strategy with a supply chain partner is therefore critical to reducing potential lead times. Another crucial factor is manufacturer location, since lead-times can be substantially increased when products are manufactured outside of North America.

    Storage concerns Despite the trend toward mini and compact fans and blowers, certain applications require large and extra-large frame solutions. Storage may be a concern if you require larger fans or blowers.

    Additionally, certain thermal interface materials may require a temperature and moisture stable environment, so understanding warehousing capabilities is essential. Many thermal interface materials have a shelf life of one to two years. In the case of thermal tapes, this can be impacted by the adhesives used to apply these materials. Products such as gap fillers tend to come in rolls and sheet form, while thermal pastes and putty are typically dispensed products stored in cartridges or syringes. These rolled, sheet and dispensed products can also be subject to shelf life issues.

    Packaging Issues

    Packaging Issues

    Fans, blowers and thermal extrusions range in size and weight dramatically, which means packaging can vary. Understanding how a product is packaged helps determine shipping methods. Proper packaging efforts by suppliers can ensure the integrity of the product during shipping however, packaging and minimum order quantity can also impact the purchase of products like fans and blowers.

    Understanding carton sizes and quantities within those packages is a critical factor in maintaining the integrity of products during shipping. Identifying the proper standard packaging quantities can help in selecting appropriate shipping methods.

    The weight of a product, for example, can impact the landed cost of heavier air moving solutions. With most manufacturers of these solutions operating outside North America, utilizing airfreight can shorten lead times by four to five weeks, but can also increase the landed cost of the product. Not only is product weight a consideration when importing, but it should also be considered when determining shipping within North America. These products are best shipped ground freight when shipping larger volumes to ensure product integrity.

    Adding Value

    Manufacturers or qualified supply chain partners can add value to a thermal management solution by undertaking secondary operations. Adding connectors, shortening or replacing wires on fans and blowers, die-cutting specific thermal interface materials, or cutting thermal extrusions to proper lengths, are just a few of the value-added services that can be offered by partners.

    With customization a common theme in thermal management, many products are single sourced, however, products like compact fans and blowers, board level heat sinks and certain thermal interface products can be multi-sourced.

    With lead times historically long on most thermal products, proper planning can pay off. By considering the guidelines listed above and aligning with authorized distributors that specialize in thermal management, it is possible to significantly improve time to market while avoiding these potential obstacles in the procurement process.

  10. Hot Tips for Cool Sourcing

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    With increased functionality and further miniaturization on the horizon, the need for innovative thermal management continues apace. Sager Electronics’ Aldo Guarino highlights the issues getting buyers hot and bothered in this area

    Procuring electronic products, materials and systems that combat unwanted excess heat has experienced an upsurge in recent years. The need for increased functionality in a single device, as well as the miniaturization of each unit, has accelerated the need for innovative thermal management technologies.

    Consequently, there are several distinct types of thermal management products available. Broadly speaking, these can be categorized as air-moving products, such as fans and blowers, or natural convection products, such as heat sinks and thermal extrusions. Other cooling technologies include liquid cooling and fluid phase change products, such as liquid cold plates, heat pipes, vapor chambers and heat exchangers.

    Thermal interface materials make up another category of cooling products. This can encompass phase change materials, thermal gap fillers, graphite sheets, electrically insulating thermal pads, thermally conductive grease and thermally conductive PCB hardware. Thermal electric modules make up the final category, including solid-state Peltier heat pumps and assemblies.

    When sourcing any of these thermal solutions, there are a number of issues procurement professionals should consider. Availability, product shelf life and modified or custom products can all introduce variables into the purchasing process.

    Lead time

    Although many thermal management solutions utilize standard products, modifications, or even outright custom solutions, are common. Unfortunately, either one can impact product availability. Ensuring a proper inventory strategy with supply chain partners is therefore critical to reducing potential lead times. Another crucial factor is manufacturer location, since lead-times can be substantially increased when products are manufactured outside of North America.

    Warehousing

    Despite the trend toward mini and compact fans and blowers, certain applications require large and extra-large frame solutions that can range anywhere from 200mm to upwards of 1,250mm. Storage space may therefore be a concern if your cooling application needs larger fans or blowers. Additionally, certain thermal interface materials may require a temperature and moisture stable environment, so identifying your manufacturers’ and supply chain partners’ warehousing capabilities is essential.

    Be aware that thermal interface materials such as thermal tapes, gap fillers, greases, pastes and putty, tend to have a shelf life, typically of around one to two years. In the case of thermal tapes, shelf life can be impacted by the adhesives used to apply these materials. Products such as gap fillers tend to come in rolls and sheet form, while thermal pastes and putty are typically dispensed products stored in cartridges or syringes. These rolled, sheet and dispensed products can also be subject to some shelf life issues.

    Packaging

    Fans, blowers and thermal extrusions can range in size and weight dramatically, which means packaging can vary widely. Understanding how a product is packaged helps determine how the product should be shipped. Proper packaging and repackaging efforts by suppliers can help ensure the integrity of the product during shipping.

    Standard packaging quantity and minimum order quantity can also impact the purchase of products like fans and blowers. Understanding the carton sizes and quantities within those packages is a critical factor in maintaining the integrity of these products during shipping. Identifying the proper SPQs can help in selecting appropriate shipping methods as well.

    The weight of a product can have a substantial impact on the landed cost of heavier air-moving solutions such as fans and blowers. With most manufacturers of these solutions operating outside North America, typically in Asia and Europe, utilizing airfreight can shorten lead times by four to five weeks, but can also increase the landed cost of the product.

    Not only is product weight a consideration when importing, but it should also be considered when determining shipping within North America. These products are best shipped ground freight when shipping larger volumes to ensure the product integrity.

    Adding Value

    In many instances, manufacturers or qualified supply chain partners can add value to a thermal management solution by undertaking secondary operations. Adding connectors, shortening or replacing wires on fans and blowers, die-cutting specific thermal interface materials, or cutting thermal extrusions to proper lengths, are just a few of the value added services that can be offered by partners.

    With customization a common theme in thermal management, many products are single sourced, however, products like compact fans and blowers, board level heat sinks and certain thermal interface products can be multi-sourced. With lead times historically long on most thermal products, proper planning with manufacturers and supply chain partners can pay off.

    By considering the guidelines listed above, and by planning with authorized distributors that specialize in thermal management, it is possible to avert potential obstacles in the procurement process. Sager Electronics and its Sager Power Systems group offer solutions from a variety of suppliers such as ebmpapst, Sanyo Denki, Sunon, NMB, Aavid Thermalloy, Wakefield and Laird Technologies. This ensures the company can provide a diverse range of air moving products and cooling solutions.

    In addition to its off-the-shelf inventory, Sager’s power supply and thermal management sales engineers can also provide design assistance. Field and sales representatives can help buyers navigate the challenges presented when sourcing thermal management solutions. The company can also work with customers through its manufacturers and valueadd Power Solutions Center in Carrollton, Texas to address any application requirements that an off-theshelf thermal solution can’t solve. With the need for thermal management solutions expected to increase as technology advances, buyers may well be looking for just such support.