SL POWER OPTIMIZES TREPP
SL Power products are designed to optimize five key performance criteria, resulting in well-balanced and versatile power conversion solutions that seamlessly integrate into the end equipment.
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TREPP is not only an acronym representing the five performance dimensions of power conversion, but a standard that SL Power’s engineers strictly adhere to. Optimizing TREPP is a primary consideration throughout the entire product development cycle and a driving force that guides engineering decisions.
• Thermal Management
• EMI/EMC Performance
• Power Efficiency
• Power Density
SL Power products are designed to optimize these key performance criteria, resulting in well-balanced and versatile power conversion solutions that seamlessly integrate into the end application. Typically, a power supply will be designed to excel in one or two of these criteria.
Imagine five magnets with the same polarity facing into a circle. The mission of a power supply designer is to get those magnets as close to each other as possible, but the magnets repel each other. With a power supply, designing for one criteria within TREPP has an impact on the other criteria. Finding the optimal balance is a grueling task that is ignored by many power supply manufacturers.
At SL Power, we take the time to optimize the design across all five performance dimensions to enable seamless integration, which results in shorter development time and cost reduction for our customers.
SL Power regularly conducts benchmark testing to compare the performance of their power supplies with competing models and can demonstrate with a spider chart visual how SL Power units are superior across the entire performance spectrum.
At SL Power, we strive to be recognized as the preferred partner for power conversion solutions to those customers who value dedication to quality design and optimal performance.
Thermal Management is one of the most important consideration for power supply performance, impacting almost all the other performance criteria. High operating temperature impacts component life and better thermal management results in longer lasting power supplies.
Electronic circuits often perform better at lower temperatures and dissipate less energy as wasted heat. This directly impacts power supply efficiency and the reliability of the entire system. Systems that run cooler will have a lower probability of failing within a given time.
Heat can be dissipated from electronic components in three ways: radiation, conduction and convection. SL Power use a variety of techniques to ensure that each of these is managed to optimize the performance of the power supply.
SL Power focus on yielding the highest convection ratings in the industry by using advanced topologies, higher switching frequencies and innovative thermal management techniques.
In power conversion, reliability is the probability that a power supply operating under specified conditions, works as expected for a given period of time. The definition includes probability because it is impossible to predict the behavior of a component with absolute certainty. The criteria for ‘expected performance’ must be defined as well as the operating conditions such as input, output, temperature, and load. Reliability is tied to, but distinct from, failure rate and mean-time-between-failure (MTBF). Service life is another aspect of reliability, which relates to the amount of time that a power supply needs to operate in its intended application. A more reliable power supply is easier to integrate into the end application, improves the end product’s reliability and enables OEM’s to meet their customers’ service life expectations.
Switching power supplies generate electromagnetic interference (EMI), which can lead to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) issues. The two prominent types of EMI in power supplies are conducted EMI and radiated EMI. Increasing power density, faster switching and higher currents amplify the effects of EMI. For example, faster switching improves the efficiency of a power supply but the faster rise and fall times for the voltage and current waveforms produce significant energy at high frequencies and are the root cause of many EMI problems in switched-mode power supplies.
In the USA, the control of EMI is outlined in Part 15 of the Federal Communications Commission’s rules and regulations. Internationally, a standard widely used in the European Community is the International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR) standard, known as CISPR 22. The USA and European standards have been harmonized, so the certification cycle is simpler for multinational product lines.
At SL Power, EMI performance is designed into the power supply right from the start: at specification level, just like reliability and safety, influencing topology and component selection. Many power supply manufacturers only consider EMI after the main power supply design is finished. SL Power’s goal is to meet EMI regulations while not interfering with other nearby applications. The power supply should also tolerate a certain amount of EMI from the outside.
SL Power’s TREPP design process embeds EMI considerations throughout the entire design cycle so mitigation of the noise generated by switching power supplies is one of the core roles of our power supply designers. Effectively managing EMI and prioritizing EMC during the design process ensures that our power supplies can be easily integrated into any system and function efficiently and effectively with other system components.
Power supply efficiency is the amount of actual power delivered to the host system’s components divided by the electrical power drawn from the mains supply socket. It is the ratio of total output power to input power, expressed in percent. This is normally specified at full load and nominal input voltage.
For example, if a power supply with 50% efficiency is required to provide a 50W power to a load, it will draw 100W input. The other 50% gets wasted as heat and other losses. If you use a 90% efficient power supply, it will draw 56W to supply the same load, meaning that it has fewer losses and uses less power from the grid to provide the same output power.
Power supplies do not maintain a constant efficiency: it varies with factors such as the load and environmental conditions. Power supplies typically achieve their maximum efficiency when operated at 50% of their load, which is where most manufacturers data sheets specify a unit’s efficiency.
Higher efficiency means that less power is wasted in the conversion process. Considering that wasted power manifests itself as radiated heat, high power efficiency translates to longer operating life of the power supply.
SL Power focuses on high efficiency power supplies, not just to help end customers save on electricity costs, but also because that means our units are more reliable, less noisy and require less cooling. Higher efficiency starts with the design of the circuit and is also a key part of our component selection process. We achieve higher efficiency by using higher quality components with better performance to produce better outputs with fewer ripples, less noise and heat, and better voltage regulation. Our attention to detail includes the switching devices, heavy duty capacitors and chokes in addition to higher quality manufacturing processes such as soldering work.
The amount of power per unit volume, expressed as watts-per-cubic-inch (W/in3), power density is an important consideration where space is constrained and the maximum amount of power is desired. There are a number of reasons why power density is important in some applications. When your system has a limited total size, any space taken up by a power supply is space that could be allocated to higher value-add functionality for your application. As you upgrade field-deployed systems, the increased functionality invariably demands more power but no more space is available for the power subsystem (sometimes a field upgrade means less space is available for the power system) so power density becomes a critical enabler for system maintenance and long-term customer satisfaction.
As more systems and functions become portable, the size and weight of the power supply can govern whether your end product can be moved around. For example, medical equipment is shrinking and becoming suitable for the hospital bedside or even more distributed locations such as clinics and even in-home use. Beyond the medical safety implications of this trend, power supplies have to deliver more power in less space to allow for the distributed nature of modern healthcare provision.
In some cases, simple aesthetics determines how small a power supply can be. In stage lighting for example, the increasing adoption of LED fixtures means that lights can now be smaller and less intrusive to the performance, so the last thing a live performance lighting director wants is to have to deal with a large power supply housing.