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ELE Times March 2021 Edition Flipbook PDF

In the March 2021 Issue, ELE Times has portrayed the article on Indigenous Battery Production as the cover story. This i




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A bold expansionist budget ‘21-22:

Budget does what Economy requires it to do India’s Real GDP is projected to record a growth of 11.0 per cent in 2021-22 and nominal GDP by 15.4 per cent shown in Pre-Budget Economic Survey of the Government. The InterThe Finance Minister presented a well-balanced budget with an equal emphasis on growth and social objectives with primary focus on fiscal push and infrastructure - sends out much-needed message, Government means business. The economy is likely to witness a V-shaped growth and rebound by 11 percent in FY2022.

lakh crore for capex spending would help support core competencies to position Indian manufacturing hubs within the global supply chain.

The rebound will be on the back of a steady decline in the number of infections, a rapid vaccination drive, and effective government support in the form of stimulus and reforms.

Incentivising start-ups and MSMEs, restricting imports through hike in custom duties will foster high scale local manufacturing. The strong focus on digital covering setting up of fintech hub, enhancing digital payments and use of AI ML etc in governance provide a great platform for digital India.

The Government enhances the confidence of the foreign investors finding the budget provisions on Infrastructure investment, Business environment and ecosystem, move up the global value chain, deficit management, demand generation and employment, financial sector stabilisation and innovation and up skilling. The finance ministry has allocated INR 2,631.32 crore for various schemes to boost electronic manufacturing in the country, including PLI scheme, MSIPS, EMC scheme and electronic development fund. Enhanced outlay of INR 1.97 lakh crore in PLI scheme and INR 5.54

Measures such as rationalising old custom duties, extending exemptions to the electronic and mobile industry could help increase domestic value addition and reduce production costs. The government also allocated INR 500 billion for the next five years to the national research foundation to strengthen the research ecosystem.

The Budget introduced higher import duty rates on over a dozen handset and automobile components like printed circuit board assembly, camera module and connectors. These hikes enable the push for local production of electronics and auto components. Increase in basic Customs duty on electronics and select auto components will encourage local manufacturing. Foreign investors should track the key provisions on major spending hikes promised for healthcare, infra-

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structure, and capital expenditure; Changes announced in the definition threshold for small companies to ease compliance as well as modifications for One Person Companies that can now be set up by NRIs. FDI limit raised to 74% and other amendments proposed for the insurance sector and a revised customs duty structure will be rolled out in October 2021. Tax holiday for start-ups has been extended by one more year, to March 31, 2022. The theme of this year’s budget is economic revival and boost to government’s pending rather than fiscal control. Neither this government nor the country can afford laxity in reviving the economic growth engine. If all these proposals materialize well, it would amount to reforms of the kind that were seen during 1991 and at the time of Vajpayee government. Through the budget the Government has tried to give a big push to set the Indian economy on a high growth path for the rest of this decade.

Devendra Kumar Editor [email protected]


PLI scheme for high-efficiency solar PV will be leading investments of more than Rs 14,000 crore

Ampere Electric setting up manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu; to invest Rs 700 crore over 10 years

PLI scheme for telecom equipment will be leading local production worth Rs 2.4 lakh crore The Union Cabinet is approving the production-linked incentive scheme for the telecom sector with an outlay of ₹12,195 crore over five years. The scheme, which aims to make India a global hub for manufacturing telecom equipment, is expected to lead to an incremental production of about ₹2.4 lakh crore, with exports of about ₹2 lakh crore over five years and bring in investments of more than ₹3,000 crore. The implementation of PLI scheme in telecom manufacturing will start from April 1, 2021. Many international players are keen to come to India. The scheme is likely to generate 40,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities and generate tax revenue of ₹17,000 crore from telecom equipment manufacturing, including core transmission equipment, 4G/5G Next Generation Radio Access Network and wireless equipment, access and Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), IoT access devices, other wireless equipment and enterprise equipment such as switches and routers.

The Production-Linked Incentive scheme for high-efficiency solar photovoltaic modules will be leading investments of more than Rs 14,000 crore to create a manufacturing capacity of 10,000 MW. It is expected that in the coming 5 years, demand worth 17,500 crore will be created. This demand will go a long way in giving impetus to the domestic manufacturing setup in the country. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on Februrary 1 announced that a framework will be put in place to give electricity consumers alternatives to choose from among more than one Distribution Company.

Ampere Electric is announcing phased investment potential of Rs 700 crore over 10 years to set up an e-mobility manufacturing plant in Ranipet, Tamil Nadu. A MoU to this effect was signed by the Company, with the Government of Tamil Nadu. At over 1.4 million square feet, the proposed Ranipet manufacturing plant, when ready and as per the company, will be one of the largest e-mobility manufacturing plants in the country. Ampere Electric’s Ranipet plant will have the potential to start manufacturing 100,000 units in its first year of operation and has the potential to scale to 1 million units per annum. This facility will be operational in 2021 itself.

LED lighting product makers approaching govt over custom duty hike on parts Prices of LED lighting products, including bulbs, may be going up by 5-10 per cent as the government is going to raise customs duty on the imported components used for their manufacturing, and the domestic makers are approaching the government to address the issue urgently. The government’s decision to increase tariff on inputs and parts used for manufacturing of LED lighting products will result in a price increase for locally manufactured lighting

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products in the short term. It is because almost all electronic components are imported from abroad due to lack of a local component ecosystem in India. ELCOMA said that after a hike in the customs duty from 5 to 10 per cent on the import of the components, including driver and MCPCBs used while manufacturing LED lights, prices of the locally manufactured goods will go up.


Go Electric campaign is being launched in India by Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways along with R. K. Singh, the Union Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, launched the “Go Electric” Campaign to spread awareness on the benefits of e-mobility and EV Charging Infrastructure as well as electric cooking in India. The Go Electric Campaign is an initiative aimed at reducing the import dependence of our country in the coming years and has also been projected as an important step towards a cleaner and greener future. The campaign is aimed at creating awareness at PAN-India level and is expected to boost the confidence of Electric Vehicle manufacturers.

Apple plans manufacturing iPad in India, seeks incentives Apple Inc is angling to participate in a new scheme to boost India’s exports of computer products. India launched a $6.7 billion plan to boost smartphone exports last year. Apple, which has steadily raised production of iPhones in India to lessen its dependence on Chinese manufacturing, took part in that scheme via its contract manufacturers. Apple, along with others, is lobbying for a bigger budgetary outlay of 200 billion rupees before that plan is finalised, as India doesn’t yet have the scale or the supply chain for making IT products and competes with duty-free imports of tech products.

Amazon is setting up its first device manufacturing line in India The idea is that the device manufacturing program will be able to produce hundreds of thousands of Fire TV Stick devices every year, catering to the demands of customers in India. It will continuously evaluate scaling capacity to additional marketplaces depending on the domestic demand.

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Amazon is now announcing its plans to start manufacturing Amazon Devices in India. The company will commence its manufacturing efforts with contract manufacturer Cloud Network Technology, a subsidiary of Foxconn in Chennai and start production later this year. 9:47 AM

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“We welcome Amazon’s decision to set up a manufacturing line in Chennai, as it will enhance domestic production capacities, and create jobs as well. This will further our mission of creating an Atmanirbhar Bharat which is digitally empowered,” says Shri. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology.


5G core network should be Indian; permission for trials soon: Ravi Shankar Prasad

India’s First-Ever Lithium Refinery Promises of Strengthening Country’s Electric Vehicle, Battery Push India’s discovery of local lithium deposits has stirred considerable interest this year. For its lithium battery needs, India was relying on imports from China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam over the years. Last year, India’s state-owned Khanij Bidesh India Limited entered into an agreement with an Argentine company to jointly prospect lithium reserves in the South American country. Further, Australia, the world’s largest producer of lithium and in possession of the world’s secondlargest minable lithium reserves, is looking at expanding its trade in lithium resources with India. But with the global demand for lithium rising year after year – thanks largely to its role in the increasingly valued lithium-ion battery – the need for India to dig its own earth to find lithium deposits is assuming greater importance. Because of lithium’s thermonuclear application, the government has always been invested in unearthing lithium deposits. Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), under the Department of Atomic Energy, has been the agency driving this work. But exploration efforts have intensified of late in the light of lithium’s rising demand.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said 5G core network should be Indian and the country should move faster on the next-generation technology with indigenously made telecom gears. “We lagged in 2G, 3G and 4G but in 5G India should move at a speed faster than the world with made in India 5G. We have made a test bed and we are soon going to permit it. Core network should be Indian,” The Department of Telecom had earlier set a target to start 5G trials in 2019 and roll out the next-generation service in 2020. However, due to claims by the defence ministry and space department on part of the spectrum that was identified for 5G services led to the delay. According to industry estimates, there are more than 100 commercial 5G networks rolled out across the world. According to industry estimates, there are more than 100 commercial 5G networks rolled out across the world.

Indian IT sector could be doubling up in 4-5 years Indian IT players are wellpositioned to capture at least 20 per cent share of the trillion-dollar incremental spend on technology over the next 4-5 years, potentially doubling the size of the industry, HCL Technologies CEO C Vijayakumar said. Infosys Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Salil Parekh and Wipro CEO Thierry Delaporte expressed similar views saying the pandemic has accelerated digital adoption, and there is a need to continue up skilling people on latest technologies for driving the industry’s growth. “If you look at all the projections, there is at least a trillion dollars of incremental spend in the next 4-5 years. I think, as an industry, we should get at least a 20 per cent share, which means that USD 200 billion growth over the next five years could potentially double the industry,” Vijayakumar said. He added that for scalability of the industry, it’s very important to look at platform-based services as it will provide standardisation, the ability to scale and onboard multiple customers on a similar platform.

Drone technology centre starting at IIT-Roorkee for research on drones Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee has been inaugurating a state-of-art centre for drone research on the campus. The initiative has secured a seed funding of ₹100.38 lakhs from alumni of the 1994 batch on the occasion of their Silver Jubilee Reunion. This centre is envisaged to evolve as a unique facility at the national level where frontier research would be conducted on several aspects of drone technology, including

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drone development, drone applications, and antidrone technology. Dr V K Saraswat, the Chief Guest and Member, NITI Aayog, said “The drone segment has witnessed a surge in demand by leaps and bounds and is currently being harnessed by 50-60 academic institutions for developing a variety of applications.

The Smart Grid

A world of Emerging

Technologies The Smart Grid is an Electrical Grid with Automation, Communication and IT systems that can monitor power flows from points of generation to points of consumption (even down to appliances level) and control the power flow or curtail the load to match generation in real-time or near real-time.

PALLAVI GUPTA | Sub Editor | ELE Times

Smart sensors and meters. These are very basic components of a smart grid enable to track energy consumption on the consumer’s side. Sensors in smart appliances continuously create and report status data to enable monitoring and control. Smart meters accumulate energy use data and show the full picture of energy consumption in the house, including loads and estimated cost. The smart grid market is expected to grow from USD 23.8 billion in 2018 to USD 61.3 billion by 2023, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20.9% during the forecast period. The major factors that are expected to be driving the smart grid market are modernization of aging grid infrastructure and increasing awareness about carbon footprint management.

Innovative Smart Grid Technologies The operation of the smart grid relies on a broad range of technology and infrastructure solutions. Smart grid based on IoT and data technologies is prevailing and includes several important components:

Automated distribution. Advanced distribution systems use real-time data to dynamically respond to the changes in loads, detect blackouts and correct power distribution to enable both safety and economic savings. This is the part where smart grid using IoT introduces automation and self-management. Charging stations and smart storage. In the concept of smart grid, energy storage and charging stations play an important role. Not only do these technologies allow households to safely go off-grid in cases of outages or accidents. They also reflect the growing demand for independent residential renewable systems. The storage market is expected to reach $50 billion by 2020. Power system automation. It enables rapid diagnosis of and precise solutions to specific grid disruptions or outages. These

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Power Management technologies rely on and contribute to each of the other four key areas. Three technology categories for advanced control methods are distributed intelligent agents (control systems), analytical tools (software algorithms and high-speed computers), and operational applications (SCADA, substation automation, demand response, etc.). Using the Internet of Things in Smart Grid. As you can see, the role of IoT in smart gird is crucial. The Internet of Things is in large part the enabler of smart gird as its technological and infrastructural components are mostly IoT-based: • Connected devices, appliances, hubs: The data on energy consumption comes from sensor-enabled IoT devices, appliances and the hubs which control a smart house or any other connected space. This data is then used to analyse electricity usage, calculate the cost, remotely control appliances, make decisions on load distribution, recognize devices, detect malfunctions and risks of an outage, etc. • Real-time data analytics and visualization: Sensor data is the core of the smart grid operation. Processing, sorting, cleaning, analysis and visualization of real-time IoT data provide visibility in the supply chain from the moment the energy is produced to the point it’s consumed by an end-user. Work with data enables automation, control, management, problem detection and prediction in a smart grid. • Advanced algorithms: Application of machine learning to better understand and use big data is already common in the Internet of Things, and smart grid is not an exception. We know for a fact that machine learning is good at working with massive datum sets, identifying trends, making predictions. Therefore, the use of advanced algorithms to analyse IoT data created in the smart grid supply chain is another way to make it more efficient.

India developing Smart Grid Technologies India has declared targeted capacity addition of 175 GW by 2022 from Renewable Energy Sources, in particular Solar, Wind and Bio energy (100 GW Solar, 60 GW Wind and 15 GW Bio Energy). This is partly due to growing concerns about energy security and also because of voluntary commitment to reduce its CO2 intensity by 20–25% by 2020. These targets are for utility-scale grid-connected plants as well as off-grid decentralized plants for rural applications. There is a need to re-engineer the energy infrastructure to absorb such a high level of renewable generation without causing any grid instability as explained below: • Research Challenge: The present energy infrastructure is engineered for large-scale centralized conventional generation, transmission and distribution. The present share of renewable sources such as solar and wind power is less than 2% in India. A future energy infrastructure capable of large scale renewable integration presents the following challenges:

• Managing Intermittency: Solar and wind are inherently intermittent sources. Large variations cause serious operational difficulties, as experienced in several countries. Large-scale wind and solar power, on the other hand, require quick ramp-up generators and storage devices to off-set the variability in generation. • Energy Storage: At present, pumped hydro is the only cost-effective technology for grid-level energy storage. Future capacity addition is, however, limited given the ecological concerns with building reservoirs for water storage and the strict geological/geographical requirements for pumped hydro. There is a critical need to develop another cost-effective energy storage options for both grid-connected and off-grid power systems. • Demand Response: Renewable power generation does not coincide with the load curve. Therefore, there is a need for ‘management’ of the load curve, in particular shifting the peak load. This requires both, strategies for load management and control such as ‘demand response’ and innovative tariffs such as ‘time-of-use’ or ‘real-time pricing’. • Micro–Grids: Decentralized power generation is an important option to pursue. In India, utility-scale generation would take several years to provide quality electricity to consumers, particularly to remote villages. The rapidly declining price of Solar PV makes it possible to envisage decentralized (especially rural) micro grids with energy storage in India.

Smart grids are the future The technology was essential in bringing energy to every home since the early 20th century. With the progress of technology has enabled nations to harness different forms of energy. However, sustainability of the world’s dependence on energy has only come into focus in more recent years. Today, we are seeing the advancement of power grids towards its modern setup, in the form of smart grids. Considerable research in development, and investment on infrastructure, are being made to enable energy efficiency and optimisation on a massive scale. All of this contributes to bringing energy producers and the many energy distributors in the market into the modern age. The smart grid is resilient, efficient and green which is good for the consumer, the utility company and the environment. The wireless technology will replace thousands of miles of cable that would have been needed to advance the smart grid to where it is today. The full scope of benefits that smart grids have to offer is yet to be realized. Through their augmented infrastructure, smart grids are geared for energy efficiency and the ability to gain insight on real-time databased on consumption and usage.

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This is a roundup about the top 10 trends that would prove to be as the breakthrough in the automotive industry over the next 12 months. However, keeping in mind the mayhem that suffered by the industry all over the world in 2020 due to the pandemic, everyone is hoping for some mojo to happen about this year and the following trends that looks promising for this industry to get back onto the track.

What does 2021 have in store for the automotive industry? Even after the constant slowdowns for two consecutive years in the automotive industry in 2018 and 2019 due to various reasons including shrinking economic activities, slowdown in BRIC economies and stiffening lending norms that flooded the global demand and obviously then the knockout punch inflicted by the lockdown amid COVID-19 in the first half of 2020, the automotive industry is coming back to its life at a faster rate than expected. In fact, Frost & Sullivan’s mobility team has already revised its 2020 light vehicle sales forecasts from previously forecasted figures of 73.6 million to 77 million, although this still represents a fairly steep 15.1% year-on-year decline. More promisingly, we anticipate a brisk 8% year-on-year rise in sales in 2021, with the industry on track to overhaul 2019 levels by the end of 2023.

Explore a new world of Mobility Top 10 Global Automotive Trends, 2021

MAYANK VASHISHT | Technology Journalist | ELE Times

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Automotive In terms of how major markets are recuperating from the aftermath of the pandemic, China’s automotive market has been the fastest off the blocks, followed by the US which perked up from around Q3 2020. Residual effects of the pandemic all the same, Europe and India have also shown signs of a steady comeback, however at a slow rate

Top 10 Trends for 2021 There has been a reassuring start of 2021, here are the 10 top trends that will revitalize the automotive industry in the months ahead: OS, Operating System, on 4 wheels

will offer prices that are potentially competitive. We could see automakers leaning towards innovative marketing strategies, including using social media influencers, to gather in more test drives or, as seen in China, accept bookings on third party e-commerce platforms. The biggest story in powering the automotive ecosystem to sell and engage with customers digitally will lie in technology enablers. IOT’d Cars Connecting cars with Internet of things (IOT) would be the perfect marriage for its user. It’ll allow the user to indulge with its car. From the convenience of a car, feature-on-demand will improve comfort, multimedia, performance and safety. Together, they will totally transform the user experience and push the boundaries of personalization, while opening up innovative business models and recurring revenue streams for automakers. Subscription-based Vehicle Usership Models

There’s really no choice for automakers, but to reinvent themselves as a digital automotive company in 2020 as more technology-driven competitors muscle into the action and digital touch points and cater its users with electric and connected car services, and autonomous vehicles are not that much far behind. So car companies that can’t get their cars digitally equipped will become more obsolete than the earlier Indian currency notes. Car companies will make some hard calls to bring software development in-house and some will even start building their own operating systems or partner with Silicon Valley companies to develop next generation vehicle operating systems. Automotive Digital Retail

There could be a bright future for new vehicle ownership models like leasing and vehicle subscription. Highly workable contract durations, vehicle commitments that could be shorter than a T20 match, and easy vehicle swapping will represent the upside for consumers but high subscription fees would be a bump in the road.

One of the show stopper acts of 2021 will be the automotive digital retail. While online retail has already made significant penetration into the more organized automotive markets of North America and Western Europe, what the pandemic has done and will continue doing is push it into the front wheel drive. The consumer has become smatter in the pandemic while buying almost everything online with ease, comfort and as per its convenience, even big-ticket items like cars.

For vehicle subscription to be successful, automakers will need to bring in a business model that covers not only the premium needs of the market, but also successfully caters affordable, price-sensitive variants that can be easily accessed by the mass market. Moreover there will be a need to consider to include young used cars at an affordable price point.

The added attraction, of course, is that online marketplaces, unburdened by the cost associated with physical showrooms,

With their purchase of compact small cars, first time car buyers will swell revenues in markets like China and India. This will

Old will be Gold. Indeed There will be a promising growth in the sale for old used cars in 2021. Growth will tag along with the rising appeal of online used car retail, which is anticipated to be jogging along at a compound annual growth rate of 9% between 2019 and 2025. Demand for used electric and hybrid vehicles is expected to be escalated. The Pandemic Will Make Things Personal

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Automotive be reflective of more general, global trends where consumers fearful about infection risks will give a wide berth to shared and public transport in favour of personal mobility modes. Elsewhere, like in Germany, government subsidies and incentives offered as part of COVID-19 recovery packages will provide a fillip to electric and hybrid vehicle sales. Health, Wellness and Wellbeing (HWW) Health, wellness and wellbeing will be the spotlight features in cars in 2021. Not to be left behind, automakers will look into cutting-edge connectivity technologies to keep vehicle occupants in the pink of health. From features that detect the user’s liquor intoxication, purify in-vehicle air, and analyse real-time pollution at street level, seats with massage functionalities every part of car will be reengineered with a view to keeping vehicle occupants safe and healthy. Not surprising then that we expect the number of connected vehicles with such features to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 25% between 2019 and 2025. Car companies will develop built in, bought in and beamed in HWW features Following the 3 R’s Automotive companies will look beyond Carbon-neutral factories to more fully embrace circular economy concepts and ideas of reduce, reuse and recycle (3R’s). Revolving as much by their commitment to developing sustainable vehicles as by environmentally-friendly regulations all over the world, the automotive industry will subscribe to the concept of ‘Design and Dismantle’ principles at progressively initial stages of the vehicle development process with the goal of reducing subsequent waste.

Electric Vehicles The magnitude of Electric vehicles (EVs) in terms of their number on the roads will be massive powered by a combination of increasingly stringent emission regulations and shifting consumer preferences. Eger to grab a portion of the huge addressable market for EVs, automakers will set their sight on achieving economies of scale by building modular, scalable dedicated EV platform architectures. The Royal Rumble The battle between fuel electric vehicles (FCEVs) vs battery electric vehicles will become fiercer. This year FCEVs will have the upper hand: they have 3-5 times the range of BEVs, recharge faster, and are truly clean in that water makes up their tailpipe emissions. Automakers are ploughing more money into FCEV development. With a tough terrain behind them, the automotive industry will be looking to 2021 to jump back on the saddle and sail its way through the highway of growth.

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OTA Connectivity

Why does the IoT industry need OTA administration systems? Ten years from now, it will be hard for us to remember a world where everything wasn’t connected to the internet in a way or another. Even today, we don’t really care to know which technology will be used; things will be simply either connected or will be a problem (and our kids, customers or business partners will chase us until we get everything connected back). A Gartner study called “IoT Endpoint Use Cases Drive Demand for Semiconductor Total Solutions” published in September 2020 is predicting a bright future for the 32-bit MCU market, but only for MCU vendors who will successfully bundle their MCUs with software and services such as: • Over-the-Air (OTA) software update • Security services • Security software It is now widely accepted by the industry that new Internet- or Intranet-connected devices, appliances and machines should not only rely on more secure hardware and software but also on Over-the-Air (OTA) servicing capabilities in order to get rid of

manual maintenance. Believe it or not, if the statement sounds obvious, the industry as a whole seems very far from turning it into reality. Many good reasons do explain this gap. First, the industry is lacking unifying standards in IoT security, good practices and services to deploy and how to implement them. Second, the technologies required to implement securely such services are very complex, span from the world of embedded hardware, firmware and software to the world of IT and are very often left to the OEM to consolidate reference designs with reference or open-source software and turn these into an industrial solution. Third, the infrastructure needed to deploy such services in a secure manner is expensive and such costs are simply deterrent for most OEMs. To date, only a few mass-market industries can afford both the infrastructure and some services, like for example: • The smartphone industry: major smartphone manufacturers (Apple, Sam-

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GUILLAUME CRINON | Global IoT Strategy Manager | Avnet

The smartphone industry: major smartphone manufacturers (Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc) and OS providers (Apple, Android) have OTA infrastructure and services in place to make sure that they can maintain billions of devices upgraded and secure

OTA Connectivity sung, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc) and OS providers (Apple, Android) have OTA infrastructure and services in place to make sure that they can maintain billions of devices upgraded and secure • The PC industry: major PC manufacturers (HP, Lenovo, Acer, Apple to name a few) and OS providers (Microsoft, Apple, Android, Linux) have OTA infrastructure and services in place to make sure that they can maintain billions of machines upgraded and secure • Utilities (electricity, water, gas) deploying smart metering and infrastructure monitoring • Public transportation and freight (air, rail, road) • Telecom and Internet service operators • The automotive industry to a lesser extend For the rest, many pieces of the puzzle are missing: it may be that the hardware is built on easily hackable chipsets and/or that the software implements weak security and/or is not OTA upgradable and/or that the device administration services are very limited and weaved into the data management platform. Topping this with a mandatory compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or equivalent schemes in non-EU territories and a desire to host their infrastructure as much locally as possible leaves OEMs with the feeling that their IoT technical implementation will be more difficult than climbing Mount Everest. Could this be one of the reasons why the market is 5 years behind the most conservative IoT predictions from the 2010 decade? Most probably! Secure systems don’t have the luxury of video or connectivity standards, both of which are able to evolve in time with im-

provements, innovations and breakthroughs while maintaining ascending compatibility and slow obsolescence. Especially in the eyes of end users, security can only exist state-of-the-art. There is a good reason why a security standard like SSL/TLS has had six new releases since 1994: weaknesses and flaws discovered and exploited by hackers need an immediate fix—and the market won’t take “we’ll do it later” for an answer. This calls for a very important property of secure devices: they need to embed mechanisms supporting upgrades, not only of their application software or firmware but also their operating system, their kernel, and their security subsystem whether an embedded secure core or a distinct secure element. Moreover, these upgrades should only be possible via a very secure channel from a very secure administration platform with administration rights and credentials keeping track of every device in the field. Implementing real security in an IoT solution may require up to 7 layers and as many partners that an OEM will need to orchestrate and maintain to hold everything together in the long run. Having a system that not only builds in security at every layer, but also ensures that an IoT solution is future-proofed through lifecycle maintenance means that this IoT solution can be competitive today and stay competitive in the future as the market continues to grow. There is therefore a niche for players capable to put together pureplay device administration platforms and software kits on which OEMs can build their own applications. These players will need to resist the temptation of capturing customer data, locking customers to their systems, to specific chipsets or to data platforms. In the meantime, they will need to contribute to IoT security standards and comply with them in order to help drive the industry to a safe and open IoT which is the only viable IoT at all.

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The article explains how modern, carefully formulated conformal coatings are helping automotive electronics manufacturers to deliver high-reliability, long-life products for a particularly demanding customer base. While the value of the electronic systems in a modern vehicle typically exceeds 20% of the total vehicle cost, many estimate that this value will exceed 35% within the next 5 year period. With the increased adoption of electronic vehicles and the development of the Internet of Things, which has brought us driverless cars like those being tested by Google in California, and BMW on the roads of Bavaria, the future of this industry is starkly different to that of the 1970s when electronic fuel injection systems were first introduced to mainstream production. The proliferation of automotive electronics has been enabled by the development of powerful networked controllers and lowcost sensors, as well as the development of low-cost, high reliability electronic systems that have seen engine management, infotainment, passenger comfort and safety applications becoming standard equipment in most modern automobiles. It is not uncommon for modern new vehicles to be supplied with 5 and even 7 year warranties and this is challenging component suppliers to develop new designs that

deliver long term reliability at an acceptable cost. Automotive electronic systems are subject to temperature extremes, high humidity and condensation, and are increasingly exposed to corrosive gases. And with the growth of electric vehicles, where much higher voltages are the norm, increased dielectric protection is required to enable designs to be sufficiently dense to meet size and weight constraints.

PHIL KINNER | Head, Conformal Coatings Division | Electrolube

Circuit protection using conformal coatings

to electronic circuit boards or assemblies to provide the required environmental protection without excessive cost or weight penalties. For the automotive industry, conformal coating applications are either ‘in-cabin’ (electronics systems located within the passenger compartment) or ‘under-hood’ (electronics in close proximity to the engine). Such distinct categories make it convenient to discuss the main requirements of each; however, with increased sophistication and the move towards multi-function assemblies, these traditional environments continue to merge, while the drive to higher power electronics in electric cars blurs the lines still further.

Conformal coatings are thin, protective polymeric coatings that are often applied

Electronic sensors and systems situated in the passenger cabin essentially

The increased sophistication of these electronic systems often means they are more sensitive to contamination and adverse external environmental conditions. Moreover, as automotive electronic systems rely increasingly on their interconnection, failure in one assembly can compromise the operation of another. Unlike aerospace applications where two or three layers of redundancy may be built into these systems, automotive designs typically must work first time, every time, throughout the life of the product.

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Adhesive Technology occupy the same space as the vehicle occupants. In the winter, that can mean extreme cold and the tendency towards a condensing atmosphere, while in the summer, the tendency is towards a warm and humid atmosphere. Both condensation and high humidity challenge the reliability of electronics as they promote corrosion. In addition, electronics may be exposed to atmospheric pollutants such as cleaning solutions, liquid splashes and so on, and any one of these factors may pose a potential reliability risk, especially in association with humidity and condensation. Corrosion is a complicated electro-chemical process, with a variety of potential mechanisms and causes, and any detailed description is beyond the scope of this article. However, in the vast majority of cases, there are three conditions that must be met in order for corrosion to take place: • Intrinsically electrochemically dissimilar metals (e.g. gold/silver and nickel/tin) are present or an anode and cathode are created by application of applied bias. • The presence of an ionic species (usually salts, halides, hydroxides, etc). • Mono-layers of condensed water are present that dissolve the ionic species, resulting in an electrolyte solution.

salt-water slush spray from treated road surfaces. Clearly, ‘under-hood’ and other non-cabin electronic assemblies suffer much tougher environmental conditions and thus require the greater levels of protection provided by a new type of conformal coating.

Protective coatings: the next generation Coatings for electronic assemblies destined for under-hood and other non-cabin applications are required to be extremely resistant to wet conditions, have excellent chemical resistance, be highly flexible to survive thermal excursions and thermal shock, and be able to survive the much higher operating temperatures. To counter these challenges, Electrolube has developed a new range of highly durable, solvent-free, modified polyurethane conformal coatings, which can be applied more thickly than regular conformal coatings and which cure within 10 minutes at 80°C, re-using existing thermal curing ovens often used in solvent-based processes.

Moisture resistance ‘Sharp-edge coverage’ – the ability of a coating to completely and reliably cover device leads, solder joints and other metal surfaces to prevent susceptibility to corrosion – is a long-standing, well known issue that has recently been highlighted within the IPC5-22ARR J-STD-001/Conformal Coating Material & Application Industry Assessment. To demonstrate the importance of edge coverage and protection from liquid water in the form of condensation, the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is currently working on the development of a controlled condensation test. NPL researchers have shown that at 40°C and 93%RH, a temperature differential of just 1.5°C can lead to the formation of moisture that is sufficient to

In order to prevent the possibility of corrosion, it is necessary to remove one of the pre-requisite conditions. The choice of metals is limited to those used in the solder and solder finish chemistries, which are dissimilar, and there will always be areas of potential difference due to the nature of an electronic assembly. Cleaning can help remove ionic species, but cannot prevent the re-deposition of ionic species from the operating environment. Conformal coatings help prevent the formation of electrolytic solutions by acting as moisture barriers. The coating needs to be a good barrier against moisture and must have good adhesion to the substrate to prevent delamination. Once the coating is delaminated, moisture can eventually collect in this ‘pocket’ and form an electrolytic solution with any pre-existing ionic contamination. This is why cleaning prior to conformal coating is recommended to provide a powerful synergistic elimination of two of the three pre-requisite conditions for corrosion. Given the relatively benign operating environments experienced by ‘in cabin’ electronics, acrylic conformal coatings have historically dominated this segment, offering good all round properties, especially against high humidity and spills and splashes. Under-hood electronics, by dint of their location, face greater environmental challenges than ‘in cabin’ electronics. This environment is much less controlled, with higher maximum operating temperatures and far more opportunities for contamination by fuels, oils, cleaning fluids, corrosive gases, metal particulates and

reduce the surface insulation resistance (SIR) of a copper coupon

21 | March, 2021

Adhesive Technology from TΩ to 1MΩ (the limit of detection). Referring to figure 2, the data (courtesy of NPL) clearly show a significant drop in the SIR value of an uncoated assembly; limited protection by both the nano-coating and the single-coated acrylic; improved protection from the double-coated acrylic; both the new urethane materials providing improved protection with UR3, in particular, showing outstanding protective capabilities against condensing water. This can be explained in part by thickness and coverage, although the particular chemistry of the formulation also plays a significant role, as explained by the significant difference in performance between UR4 and UR3, even though the applied thicknesses (c. 150µm) are similar, as shown in the cross-section in figure 3 below.

ditions (simulating winter driving conditions), the test coupons shown in figure 4, previously exposed to the 1000 thermal shock cycles were subjected to a 196-hour salt-mist test (5% NaCl solution). The coupons were continuously powered at 50V for the duration of the test and the insulation resistance was measured at periodic intervals throughout the test. As shown in figure 5 below, both materials performed well, providing excellent protection against a salt-mist environment, although UR3 delivered a higher overall degree of insulation resistance, in line with the results from NPL’s condensation test.


Thermal shock resistance Automobile electronics are usually required to work between -40°C and 125°C, with rapid transitions between the temperature extremes. The Electrolube SIR test coupon shown in figure 4 was designed with a number of components laid out in a difficult configuration to better simulate a production assembly. Coupons were selectively coated with polyurethanes UR3 and UR4 at a target thickness of 250µm and subjected to 1000 air-to-air thermal shock cycles, at the temperature extremes previously indicated, with a rate of temperature change in excess of 40°C/min. These coupons were visually inspected at 20X magnification for evidence of cracking, delamination and solder joint or component

In order to meet the demands of the automotive industry for greater electronics reliability under increasingly adverse conditions, Electrolube has developed a range of solvent-free, higher performance protective coatings that can be applied at greater thicknesses to overcome common application defects while improving sharp-edge coverage. damage. After 1000 cycles, UR3 showed some signs of surface cracking and discoloration, but did not expose any metal surfaces

and did not propagate to the surface of the board, whereas UR4 showed almost no change in appearance.

Salt-mist resistance

These materials have demonstrated significant performance improvements on model PCB test assemblies, in terms of resistance to thermal shock, condensing and salt-mist environments, over that of traditional conformal coatings, ultra-thin coatings or even UV curable materials.

In order to assess the protection provided under salt-mist con-

22 | March, 2021

How to train a robot using AI and supercomputers

University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center

KEYNOTES “You can perturb these objects, move them into new positions, use different lights, color and texture, and then render them into a training image that could be used in dataset, “There was some work that could generate synthetic objects from these CAD model datasets,” he said. “But no one could yet handle color.” “Our model first learns the basic structure of an object at low resolutions and gradually builds up towards high-level details,”

Computer scientists developed a deep learning method to create realistic objects for virtual environments that can be used to train robots. The researchers used TACC’s Maverick2 supercomputer to train the generative adversarial network. The network is the first that can produce colored point clouds with fine details at multiple resolutions

necessary to execute high-level tasks,” he said.

Before he joined the University of Texas at Arlington as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and founded the Robotic Vision Laboratory there, William Beksi interned at iRobot, the world’s largest producer of consumer robots (mainly through its Roomba robotic vacuum). To navigate built environments, robots must be able to sense and make decisions about how to interact with their locale. Researchers at the company were interested in using machine and deep learning to train their robots to learn about objects, but doing so requires a large dataset of images. While there are millions of photos and videos of rooms, none were shot from the vantage point of a robotic vacuum. Efforts to train using images with human-centric perspectives failed. Beksi’s research focuses on robotics, computer vision, and cyber-physical systems. “In particular, I’m interested in developing algorithms that enable machines to learn from their interactions with the physical world and autonomously acquire skills

Years later, now with a research group including six PhD computer science students, Beksi recalled the Roomba training problem and begin exploring solutions. A manual approach, used by some, involves using an expensive 360 degree camera to capture environments (including rented Airbnb houses) and custom software to stitch the images back into a whole. But Beksi believed the manual capture method would be too slow to succeed. Instead, he looked to a form of deep learning known as generative adversarial networks, or GANs, where two neural networks contest with each other in a game until the ‘generator’ of new data can fool a ‘discriminator.’ Once trained, such a network would enable the creation of an infinite number of possible rooms or outdoor environments, with different kinds of chairs or tables or vehicles with slightly different forms, but still -- to a person and a robot -- identifiable objects with recognizable dimensions and characteristics. “You can perturb these objects, move them into new positions, use different lights, color and texture, and then render them into a training image that could be used in dataset,” he explained. “This approach would potentially provide limitless data to train a robot on.” “Manually designing these objects would take a huge amount of resources and hours of human labor while, if trained properly, the generative networks can make them in seconds,” said Mohammad

24 | March, 2021

Ar tif icial Intelligence Samiul Arshad, a graduate student in Beksi’s group involved in the research.

Generating Objects for Synthetic Scenes After some initial attempts, Beksi realized his dream of creating photorealistic full scenes was presently out of reach. “We took a step back and looked at current research to determine how to start at a smaller scale -- generating simple objects in environments.” Beksi and Arshad presented PCGAN, the first conditional generative adversarial network to generate dense colored point clouds in an unsupervised mode, at the International Conference on 3D Vision (3DV) in Nov. 2020. Their paper, “A Progressive Conditional Generative Adversarial Network for Generating Dense and Colored 3D Point Clouds,” shows their network is capable of learning from a training set (derived from ShapeNetCore, a CAD model database) and mimicking a 3D data distribution to produce colored point clouds with fine details at multiple resolutions. “There was some work that could generate synthetic objects from these CAD model datasets,” he said. “But no one could yet handle color.” In order to test their method on a diversity of shapes, Beksi’s team chose chairs, tables, sofas, airplanes, and motorcycles for their experiment. The tool allows the researchers to access the near-infinite number of possible versions of the set of objects the deep learning system generates. “Our model first learns the basic structure of an object at low resolutions and gradually builds up towards high-level details,” he explained. “The relationship between the object parts and their colors -- for examples, the legs of the chair/table are the same color while seat/top are contrasting -- is also learned by the network. We’re starting small, working with objects, and building to a hierarchy to do full synthetic scene generation that would be extremely useful for robotics.” They generated 5,000 random samples for each class and performed an evaluation using a number of different methods. They evaluated both point cloud geometry and color using a variety of

common metrics in the field. Their results showed that PCGAN is capable of synthesizing high-quality point clouds for a disparate array of object classes.

Sim2Real Another issue that Beksi is working on is known colloquially as ‘sim2real.’ “You have real training data, and synthetic training data, and there can be subtle differences in how an AI system or robot learns from them,” he said. “’Sim2real’ looks at how to quantify those differences and make simulations more realistic by capturing the physics of that scene -- friction, collisions, gravity -and by using ray or photon tracing.” The next step for Beksi’s team is to deploy the software on a robot, and see how it works in relationship to the sim-to-real domain gap. The training of the PCGAN model was made possible by TACC’s Maverick 2 deep learning resource, which Beksi and his students were able to access through the University of Texas Cyber infrastructure Research (UTRC) program, which provides computing resources to researchers at any of the UT System’s 14 institutions. “If you want to increase resolution to include more points and more detail, that increase comes with an increase in computational cost,” he noted. “We don’t have those hardware resources in my lab, so it was essential to make use of TACC to do that.” In addition to computation needs, Beksi required extensive storage for the research. “These datasets are huge, especially the 3D point clouds,” he said. “We generate hundreds of megabytes of data per second; each point cloud is around 1 million points. You need an enormous amount of storage for that.” While Beksi says the field is still a long way from having really good robust robots that can be autonomous for long periods of time, doing so would benefit multiple domains, including health care, manufacturing, and agriculture. “The publication is just one small step toward the ultimate goal of generating synthetic scenes of indoor environments for advancing robotic perception capabilities,” he said.

25 | March, 2021


Skills Every Developer Needs in 2021

JACOB BENINGO | Beningo Embedded Group

The end of the year is always a favorite time of mine. Yes, I enjoy the Christmas lights, egg nog and the general holiday cheer, but I also enjoy the opportunity to strategize about the upcoming year

The end of the year is always a favorite time of mine. Yes, I enjoy the Christmas lights, egg nog and the general holiday cheer, but I also enjoy the opportunity to strategize about the upcoming year. The end of the year is a great time to look at what went right and wrong this year and make some plans for improvement in the next. As I stop and look at how the embedded systems industry is changing, there are give skills that I think every developer is going to need in 2021 and beyond.

Skill #1 – Integrated, Automated Testing The first skill that every developer needs is the ability to write automated tests. Traditionally embedded developers have not been the greatest at leveraging test driven development or continuous integration (CI). This has placed embedded software developers at a disadvantage and forced us to spend more time either running through manual tests or worse, spot checking our software. The result is launching products with our fingers crossed and silent prayers that things don’t come back to bite us. Automated testing tools, harnesses and CI/CD platforms have advanced to the point that developers need to leverage them. The value and the results can be tremendous. For example, I recently had to rework a code module where I tore up probably 70% of the code internal to the API’s. I recall afterwards the dread of having to manually run through tests to make sure

that everything worked because it would undoubtedly take at least a day to validate. However, for this module I had carefully developed and maintained tests including during my tear up. My automated tests were able to validate everything was good in less than 1 second! (And it found a minor oversight I made too).

Skill #2 – Machine Learning There has been a lot of hype around machine learning and artificial intelligence especially for embedded software solutions. This year I’ve often felt that it is a technology solution looking for a problem to solve. However, the facts are that before any of realize it, machine learning will become a core component in nearly every embedded system. The techniques are just too powerful, and the rate of development is quickly moving so that inferences can be ran on the smallest and lowest energy devices. Machine learning may not be a technique that can be applied today to the products that the reader is developing, but that doesn’t mean that a blind eye should be turned to them. Getting a strong foundation in ML and then maintaining it will be far more effective for when it is needed than to wait and try to jump into the deep end and leverage on a project while still learning about the technology.

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Enabling Developer Skill #3 – Security

Skill #5 – Debugging

There are so many devices today that are being developed for use with the IoT that it is impossible for developers to not be concerned with security. The skillsets required to secure an embedded product are certainly specialized and I would even argue hard to find and access at times. The potential negative impact on a company for not having a secure product though can be devastating. No one wants to be front page news due to a security breach and learning security skills can help a developer become more valuable to their employer.

Debugging is a skill that really isn’t new to developers. In fact, developers should be doing everything that they can to avoid adding bugs to their software so they can avoid it! That said, when I speak with developers through-out the industry, it isn’t uncommon for developers to spend an average of 40% of their time on debugging activities. One of the greatest productivities boosts any developer or team can undertake is to simply try to decrease the time they spend debugging from 40% to 30%. This equates to adding an extra work month per developer over a year! (It works out to 5 weeks, but I would take the extra week as vacation for a job well done).

Security skills are certainly something that will always need to evolve. Arm has their Platform Security Architecture (PSA) which outlines security best practices. There are also several silicon providers who have taken it upon themselves to build out security software development kits (SDK) to ease the security burden on developers and companies. Understanding these capabilities and developing the skills needed will be critical.

Anyone looking to boost productivity or decrease budgets and time to market should start with activities that will help prevent bugs in the first place and then focus on the techniques that can be used to decrease the time required to find bugs. This can involve a wide range of technologies from tracing, integrated CI/CD pipelines, static analysis and code metric monitoring and so on.

Skill #4 – RTOS Application Design


One skill that is particularly close to my own heart is the skillset required to design and implement RTOS based applications. Every year I run several RTOS workshops and give talks at conferences around RTOS applications and have been finding that developers struggle to design and implement applications using them. Given the complexity of today’s applications, an RTOS has become a core component in many systems. Understanding the design patterns, best practices and techniques will be critical to successfully launching a product in a timely manner.

The skills required by embedded developers is constantly changing and evolving. We once just had to understand the C programming language and how to control bits in a control register. Today’s embedded software engineers need skills that branch into every cutting edge of computer science. This can certainly seem intimidating but it’s one of the features that I think keeps our jobs interesting and forces us to be constantly learning. Today we examined a few skillsets that I often see lacking in businesses and developers that I think will be critical to develop next year in order to be successful.

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ROBBIE PAUL Director IoT Business Solution Digi-Key Electronics

The internet of things (IoT) is almost ubiquitous now, it’s everywhere. And agriculture is truly one of the areas where it can have the biggest impact. Smart farming in the agriculture industry is an emerging concept that has the opportunity to revolutionize farming for the digital era. The driving force of smart farming is IoT which connects the agriculture process from start to finish to be more data-driven, data-enabled and efficient, while also optimizing the human labor involved. Solving the challenges of modern agriculture will set farmers, agtech designers and others involved in the technology up for explosive growth this year and beyond. I’m excited about the future of smart agriculture, and the benefits it will have on the entire

farming community. Our new three-part video series on smart agriculture focuses on this farming approach. Farmers can integrate smart agriculture into their practices in many different ways, including through the use of drones and turning farmers into licensed pilots, and through new ways of farming through ocean farming, precision mapping systems and artificial intelligence. All of the unique solutions highlighted in the video series share how the next generation of farming will be defined. And as they do, Digi-Key is ready to equip farmers with everything they need, including sensors, cellular technology and more.

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Geographic Equity

complex moving system that technology needs to fit into, not the other way around.

One of our key concerns is feeding the world’s population – that’s 9 billion people and counting that we need to feed with a fixed amount of arable land. In order for us to succeed, we’ve gotten to a point where we need to scale our operations for efficiency. Longer range technologies are needed for these big farms – cellular is the obvious choice, and the two communications options in agtech are LoRa (long range) technology and a lower version of cellular technology called CAT-M and Narrow Band IoT. Most IoT features in a smart agriculture setup like moisture sensors don’t need to transmit voice and sound, they just send a bit of data here and there over long-range technology. These communications options are just coming to the mass-market forefront.

The Digi-Key Position

While Digi-Key is not backing a specific supplier, we’re actively supporting the market and the innovators in this realm. We’re working to support the creation of products and services that help feed the world. And we believe the innovators in the regions where this work is happening know the requirements best of their specific regions. We need the local innovators to specify their own requirements and get everyone collaborating to support global innovation. It’s really about understanding the future farm, not just the traditional farm. If we can focus on what the farms of tomorrow could look like, each community around the globe could have their own sustainable farm, no matter their location, climate, or other barriers.

The Future Farmstead Vision

So, what does the farmstead of the future look like? It’s the industry least penetrated by digital technology and agriculture is a

We believe the future farm uses resources as efficiently as possible. Precision farming allows the industry to reduce the number of herbicides and pesticides in the environment and minimize water contamination. So many ecosystems benefit from precision farming. Other benefits and innovations include the visualization of data, autonomous systems, and overall farm infrastructure. Our supplier partners provide the hardware, but what we’re seeing is there are other entities like systems integrators and solution providers that bring together the hardware, software and services pieces specific to the farmer. One of our goals with agriculture is to work with everyone from systems integrators to the end customer, and the farmers and growers who work tirelessly to feed the world. The intersection of new technologies and modern farmers creates the need for new innovations. To farm better, we must farm different.

A new wave of Innovation

Ten percent of farmers in North America are already using soil sensors in as many as 5 million acres of land with promising results. Precision farming is expected to reach a 32% market share by 2025 due to the rising need for agriculture technologies. New innovations in both equipment and education will fuel this growth. Farming technologies that increase efficiency and crop yield are just one example of how technology is redefining what it means to grow and harvest food in today’s connected world. New approaches to agriculture and farming technologies are required to address the ever-changing nature of our modern world. Innovators combined with willing professionals across the industry will chart a new path forward to grow, harvest, and feed the people of this planet. The future of farming begins when we farm differently and make new technology accessible to all.

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30 | March, 2021

Power Electronics

Why and how to use



The need to step down high bus voltages to lower voltages to power ICs and other loads is growing across a variety of systems including automotive, industrial automation, telecommunications, computing, white goods, and consumer electronics. The challenge for designers is to execute this down-conversion with maximum efficiency, minimal thermal loading, at low cost, and with the smallest possible solution size. Conventional asynchronous buck converters offer a potentially low-cost solution, but also have lower conversion efficiencies that don’t meet the needs of many electronic systems. Designers can turn to synchronous DC/DC converters and synchronous DC/ DC controllers to develop compact solutions that deliver high efficiencies. This article briefly describes the performance requirements of electronic systems for high-efficiency DC/DC conversion and reviews the difference between asynchronous and synchronous DC/DC converters. It then introduces several synchronous DC/DC converter design options from Diodes, Inc., STMicroelectronics, and ON Semiconductor along with evaluation boards and design guidance that can jump-start development of high-efficiency solutions.

Why synchronous DC/DC converters are needed The growing requirements for higher efficiency in all types of electronic systems combined with increasing system complexities is resulting in a corresponding evolution of power system architectures and power conversion topologies. With a growing number of independent voltage domains to support increasing functionality, distributed power architectures (DPAs) are being used in more and more electronic systems. Instead of having several isolated supplies to drive the various loads, a DPA has one isolated AC/DC power supply that produces a relatively high distribution voltage, and multiple, smaller buck converters that down convert the distribution voltage to a lower one as required by each individual load (Figure 1). The use of multiple buck converters offers the advantages of smaller size, higher efficiency, and better performance. The process of selecting between asynchronous and synchronous

Figure 1: Distributed power architecture showing the main isolated AC/ DC power supply (front end) and the multiple non-isolated DC/DC converters powering low voltage loads. buck converters is based on the tradeoffs between cost and efficiency. If a lowest solution cost is required and lower efficiency and higher thermal loading can be accepted, an asynchronous buck solution may be preferred. On the other hand, if efficiency is the priority and a cooler running solution is preferred, a higher cost synchronous buck converter is generally the superior choice.

Synchronous vs. asynchronous buck converters

Figure 2: Typical asynchronous buck converter application showing the output rectifier (D1), the output filter (L1 and Cout), and the feedback network (Cff, R1 and R2). A typical asynchronous buck converter application is shown in Figure 2. The LM2595 from ON Semiconductor is a monolithic

31 | March, 2021

Power Electronics integrated circuit that includes the main power switch and the control circuitry. It is internally compensated to minimize the number of external components and simplify the power supply design. It delivers a typical conversion efficiency of 81% and dissipates 19% of the power as heat, while a synchronous buck solution will have a typical conversion efficiency of about 90%, dissipating only 10% of the power as heat. That means that the thermal losses in an asynchronous buck converter are nearly twice as large as the thermal losses in a synchronous buck converter. Therefore, the use of a synchronous buck converter greatly simplifies thermal management challenges by reducing the amount of heat generated. In a synchronous buck converter, such as the ST1PS01 from STMicroelectronics, the output rectifier is replaced by synchronous MOSFET rectification (Figure 3). The lower “on” resistance of the synchronous MOSFET compared with the output rectifier in an asynchronous buck converter reduces losses and results in significantly higher conversion efficiencies. The synchronous MOSFET is internal to the IC, eliminating the need for an external rectifier diode. There is a cost for the higher efficiency and lower thermal loading made possible with a synchronous buck converter. With a single power switching MOSFET and a diode for rectification, asynchronous buck converter controllers are much simpler (and smaller) since they do not have to deal with the possibility of Figure 3: Synchronous buck application circuit show- cross-conducing the elimination of the external output rectifier tion or “shootdiode. Output filtering and feedback components are through”, and still required. there is no synchronous FET to control. A synchronous buck topology requires a more complicated driver and anti-cross conduction circuitry to control both switches (Figure 4). Ensuring that both MOSFETs don’t turn on at the same time and create a direct short requires more complexity and results in larger and more expensive ICs.

Figure 4: Synchronous buck converter IC block diagram showing the two integrated MOSFETs (next to the pin marked ‘SW’) and the added Driver/ anti-cross conduction circuitry.

Although pulse width modulation controlled synchronous buck converters are more efficient under moderate or full load conditions, asynchronous buck converters often deliver higher conversion efficiencies under light load conditions. That, however, is becoming less and less the case as the latest synchronous buck converter implementations include multiple operating modes that enable designers to optimize low load efficiencies.

Synchronous buck for 5 volt and 12 volt power distribution For designers using 5 and 12 volt power distribution in consumer products and white goods, Diodes, Inc. offers the AP62600, a 6 ampere (A) synchronous buck converter with a wide input range of 4.5 to 18 volts. The device integrates a 36 milliohm (mΩ) high-side power MOSFET and a 14 mΩ low-side power MOSFET to provide high-efficiency step-down DC/DC conversion. The AP62600 needs minimal external components as a result of its constant on-time (COT) control. It also delivers a fast transient response, easy loop stabilization, and low output voltage ripple. The AP62600 design is optimized for electromagnetic interference (EMI) reduction. The device has a proprietary gate driver scheme to resist switching node ringing without sacrificing MOSFET turnon and turn-off times, which reduces high-frequency radiated EMI noise caused by MOSFET switching. The device is available in a V-QFN2030-12 (Type A) package. There is a power-good indicator which alerts users to any fault conditions that may arise. A programmable soft-startup mode controls inrush current at power-up, enabling designers to implement power sequencing when using multiple AP62600s to supply large integrated devices, such as field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), application specific ICs (ASICs), digital signal processors (DSPs), and microprocessor units (MPUs). The AP62600 gives designers a choice of three operation modes to meet the specific needs of individual Figure 5: The AP62600 gives designers a choice of three applications operation modes to meet the needs of individual appli- (Figure 5). cations: PFM, USM, and PWM. High efficiency can be realized across all loads with pulsed frequency modulation (PFM) operation. Other modes available include pulse width modulation (PWM) to get the best ripple performance, and an ultrasonic mode (USM) which avoids audible noise at light loads. To help designers start using the AP62600, Diodes, Inc. offers the AP62600SJ-EVM evaluation board (Figure 6). The AP62600SJ-EVM has a simple layout and allows access to the appropriate signals through test points.

Synchronous buck for 24 volt buses The L6983CQTR from STMicroelectronics features a 3.5 to 38 volt

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Power Electronics input range and delivers up to 3 A of output current. Designers can use the L6983 in a wide range of applications, including 24 volt industrial power systems, 24 volt battery-powered equipment, decentralized intelligent nodes, sensors, and always-on and low-noise applications. The L6983 is based on a peak current mode architecture with internal compensation and is packaged in a 3 mm x 3mm QFN16, thereby minimizing design complexity and size. The L6983 is available both in low consumption mode (LCM) and low noise mode (LNM) versions. LCM maximizes the efficiency at light loads with controlled output voltage ripple, making the device suitable for battery-powered applications. LNM makes the switching frequency constant and minimizes the output voltage ripple for light load operations, meeting the specification for noise sensitive applications. The L6983 allows the switching frequency to be selected in the 200 kilohertz (kHz) to 2.3 megahertz (MHz) range with optional spread spectrum for improved EMC. Figure 6: The AP62600SJ-EVM evaluation board provides a simple and convenient evaluation environment for the AP62600

STMicroelectronics offers the STEVAL-ISA209V1 evaluation board to enable designers to explore the capabilities of the L6983 synchronous monolithic step-down regulator and jump-start their designs.

Synchronous buck controller for computing and telecom designs The NCP1034DR2G from ON Semiconductor is a high voltage PWM controller designed for high performance synchronous buck DC/ DC applications with input voltages up to 100 volts. This device is designed for use in 48 volt non-isolated power conversion in embedded telecommunications, networking and computing applications. The NCP1034 drives a pair of external N−channel MOSFETs as shown in Figure 7. The NCP1036 features a programmable switching frequency from 25 kHz to 500 kHz and a synchronization pin that allows the switching frequency to be externally controlled. Providing both these frequency controls enables designers to select the optimal value for each specific application and to synchronize the operation of multiple NCP1034 controllers. The device also includes user programmable undervoltage lockout and hiccup current limit protection. For low voltage designs, an internally trimmed 1.25 volt reference voltage can be used for more precise output voltage regulation. Four undervoltage lock-out circuits are included to protect both the device and the system. Three are dedicated to specific functions; two protect the external high-side and low-side drivers, and one protects the IC from starting prematurely before VCC is under a set threshold. The fourth undervoltage lock-out circuit can be programmed by the designer using an external resistor divider: as long as VCC is below the user set threshold value, the controller remains off.

Figure 7: Typical application circuit for the NCP1036 synchronous buck controller IC showing the high-side and low-side MOSFETS (Q1 and Q2, respectively). To help designers get started using the NCP1034, ON Semiconductor offers the NCP1034BCK5VGEVB evaluation board (Figure 8). This eval board was designed with several options to support a variety of system needs. There is a linear regulator powering the IC, and the designer can choose whether it does so using either a Zener diode or a high voltage transistor by selecting the appropriate resistor. Designers also have a choice of second type (voltage-mode) compensation or third type (current-mode) compensation, selectable ceramic or electrolytic output capacitors, and various input capacitance values. There are two header pins: one for easy Figure 8: The NCP1034BCK5VGEVB eval board connection to an includes multiple options to help designers external synchroquickly start new designs nization pulse source to allow the board to connect directly to the other NCP1034 demo board; the other to connect to the SS/SD pin that can be used to shut down the controller by connecting it to ground.

Conclusion The need to step down high bus voltages to lower voltages to power ICs and other loads is increasingly required across a variety of systems including automotive, industrial automation, telecommunications, computing, white goods, and consumer electronics. As shown, designers can turn to synchronous buck power converters to implement this down-conversion with maximum efficiency, minimal thermal loading, at low cost, and with the smallest possible solution size.

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Cover Stor y

Cover Stor y enough to manufacture batteries and corresponding technology. Indian Market today has started analysing and understands the need


towards a great energy route with for indigenous production so as to maintain its demand and stability across the sectors. We are continuously looking at a time, when a shift and an alternative to the lithium ion batteries is really important. The dependence on China has reduced a lot with the pandemic and indigenous production of batteries is the new need of the hour. As far as the Lithium Ion Batteries are concerned, Indian Companies are trying hard to manufacture the latter with much efficiency and low cost. Grinntech, an investor-backed start-up specialising in Lithium-Ion batteries for EVs and energy storage systems, announced the inauguration of its larger manufacturing plant in Chennai.

indigenously developed battery technology MANNU MATHEW | Sub Editor | ELE Times

Power and Energy Resources remain a very crucial factor for stable Economies. Increasing Pollution and Climate Change is majorly caused because of the rapid and increased usage of fuels like Petrol and Diesel

India, today is one of the biggest importer and parasite of Batteries. What India today needs is an ecosystem stable and efficient enough to manufacture batteries and corresponding technology

Power and Energy Resources remain a very crucial factor for stable Economies. Increasing Pollution and Climate Change is majorly caused because of the rapid and increased usage of fuels like Petrol and Diesel. Major projections and forecast throughout the globe have always warned of serious and adverse reciprocations if the world continues to use these fuels. Batteries in Automotive Industry is the need of the hour and people around the globe are

The concept of Waste to Wonders have been successfully accomplished and it is something which the Industry experts would think twice before even investing in it

eagerly waiting for it. But the important factor which remains is the acceptance and understanding of the people in shifting their priorities from Fuels to Batteries. Other Factors like the government and the organisations should play equal role in this implementation process too. The lack of an extensive charging infrastructure network, concerns over battery range, cost of batteries and the environmental impact of disposing lithium ion, lithium

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ferro phosphate or lead acid batteries have proven to be real bottlenecks. Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India has asked the EV industry to shift towards indigenous battery technologies. With electric vehicles (EVs) fast becoming the new reality, the need to emerge as pioneers in developing leading battery and power-train technologies is the priority. Self-Reliance and Indigenous Production is really crucial as it will help reduce the cost of investment and manufacturing. India, today is one of the biggest importer and parasite of Batteries. What India today needs is an ecosystem stable and efficient

In terms of export facility, Suzuki Motor, Toshiba and Denso has come up with an approach to convert their manufacturing facility cell in Gujarat for lithium ion export hub. Mumbai-based electric vehicle and energy storage company Gegadyne has raised $5 Mn in strategic investment from electrical appliances giant V-Guard. The proposed

A Made in India EV Initiative Delhi-based iPower Battery’s energy solutions are popular among EV startups The company’s energy solutions are popular among EV startups as they are swappable and modular, and come with advanced tracking, geo-fencing, remote monitoring, battery immobilisation, active and passive cooling and control, etc. The company provides tailor-made Lithium Batteries for specific needs and are manufactured with best in class NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) and LFP (Lithium Iron

Phosphate) cells with the battery depicting features like the intelligent swapping with heat dissipation. The company also believes in empowering mobility space in India with efficient batteries, chargers and different allied products with primary vision to become a consistent energy provider for ecosystems of the EVs catering to almost all segments of automotive.

Graphene for the New Alternative Lithium ion battery and aluminium fuel cells (AFC) majorly differ in their storage factor. In terms of efficiency, the aluminium fuel cells are more useful as there is no need to charge for long hours and also offers good range of above 1000kms contradictory to lithium ion batteries which offer around 250kms range.

battery is expected to charge from 0 to 100% in around 15 minutes. These are just initial approaches, we have many more alternatives and evolution to witness. This article has tried to highlight some of the biggest changes in the Indian market and, how encouraging would be the new era of inborn production and initiatives.

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A Bengaluru based nanotechnology company specialising in Graphene called Log 9 Materials have developed their own brand of aluminium fuel cells (AFCs) that offer five times the range than an average lithium battery can offer, costs 30 per cent cheaper, is easier to use and doesn’t require the hassle of constantly recharging it. This battery developed is literally something trying to reshape the energy efficiency in automotive and corresponding sectors and also aims at providing a range of over 2000kms. Graphene and Simple Aluminium Water are the main constituents, which are easily accessible and

Cover Stor y

cheaper too.

Ever wondered what a crop residue could do? The concept of Waste to Wonders have been successfully accomplished and it is something which the Industry experts would think twice before even investing in it. The technology of generating energy resources from waste is not new in the world, but it is equally relevant that implementing these technologies for the automotive sector would definitely produce fruitful results. A Bengaluru based Company called Nexus Power has achieved this dream of creating energy from crop residues. This is purely a start to the sustainable impact in the EV space aiming at a very holistic approach. The process of generation involves procurement of unburnt crop remains and transforming them to rechargeable energy storage cells with a unique extraction and filtrations process. These type of energy storage cells also help in IoT and AI-based sensor enabled battery pack. Economically, this can prove to be very cost-efficient as the raw materials then would be available at very low-cost thereby reducing the price of the end product. Procurement of crop waste helps farmers earn an additional income of Rs 25,000 for every 100 batteries.

What can Sodium-ion batteries do? Is it a valid alternative?

Sodium (Na)-ion batteries (NIBs) have great potential to represent the next generation low cost and environmentally friendly energy storage solution. Scientists from the University of Warwick combined their knowledge and expertise to assess the current status of the Na-ion technology from materials to cell development, offering a realistic comparison of the key performance indicators.

Despite the advancements in lithium-ion batteries in the last decade, the batteries still lack the range that would make them a viable alternative to internal combustion engines. QuantumScape, one of the leading developers of solid-state lithium metal batteries has addressed the main issues holding back the broader adoption of solid-state batteries. It addresses the issues of charge time, cycle life, safety, and operating temperature that are of critical importance for EVs’ growth. The company’s latest offering is designed to increase the

LIBs play a primary role in the transition to a low carbon economy. However, as the market rapidly expands, the environmental and social challenges associated with the mass production of LIBs is triggering large attention toward the search for alternative energy storage solutions based on materials that can be sourced in a sustainable and responsible way. In this scenario, NIBs represent an alternative low cost, sustainable and more environmentally friendly energy storage technology. Na- based batteries offer a combination of attractive properties. They are low cost, use sustainable precursors and have secure raw material supplies. Performance metrics are of utmost im-

portance for the SIB technology to ensure a competitive cost and find a place in the market. In this work, the most promising electrode materials and electrolyte systems have been reviewed and performance metrics from the academic literature have been used to extrapolate full sodium ion cells performance indicators. Extremely encouraging results have been achieved for the Na-ion technology in a very short time when compared to the Li-ion technology. Technological improvement will be achieved by cell component fabrication/ assembly optimization, as occurred in the last thirty years for the LIB technology.

The New Solid State Lithium Battery

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range by 80% compared to ordinary lithium-ion batteries. Solid-state separators can work at high rates of power, which enables a 15-minute charge to 80% capacity, which is a considerable improvement over the conventional lithium-ion batteries. This Technology eliminates the carbon or silicon anode, and the design increases the energy density because it uses no excess lithium on the anode and also eliminates the side reaction between the liquid electrolyte and the carbon in conventional lithium-ion cells’ anode.

Zinc-Based Batteries: No to import of raw Materials The Indian Market was at a time continuously dependent of Lead Acid Batteries

Cover Stor y which proved to be cheaper and also low on efficiency, then the market selectively moved to Lithium-ion batteries, which was efficient but still required Lithium and Cobalt to be imported from different Countries. ZincGel, a battery chemistry invented by IIT Kanpur-incubated startup Offgrid Energy Labs, aims to make a difference. ZincGel batteries are zinc-based and utilize materials readily available in India. Most importantly, they are non-toxic, in contrast to lithium ion and lead acid. The current battery landscape has technologies such as lithium ion, which is quite efficient but expensive, and lead acid, which is available at low cost but highly inefficient. Both options are ecologically unsustainable, thereby reducing the widespread usage of these batteries in renewable energy, utility and mobility applications. ZincGel batteries do not need clean and dry rooms. This can lower capital expenditure by up to 35 percent and also, lead acid manufacturers can make ZincGel batteries easily with existing equipment.

Aluminium is not just a raw material now, rather a crucial source of energy Even though, aluminium was considered to be an ideal part of the automotive industry, it was only used in the manufacturing process as a raw material. Today, the role of the aluminium stands precisely in the energy making sector too in the electric vehicle segment. The automotive giant Mahindra’s electric venture Mahindra Electric is considering a new form of energy source metal-air batteries on its three wheeler segment. These batteries are significantly expected to match the performance of traditional fuel and would require only 5 minutes to refill too. This initiative

require light infrastructure, are weather proof and most important affordable. A recent meeting between the Indian Ambassador to Israel, Sanjeev Kumar Singla reviewed the progress on the MoU signed by IOCL (Indian Oil Corporation Ltd) and Phinergy (an Israeli start-up company specializing in hybrid lithium-ion and aluminium-air/ zinc-air battery systems). Phinergy’s aluminium-air technology is said to enable easy storage, transport and discharging of clean energy around the world. Its aluminium-air systems produce energy by combining aluminium, oxygen, and water.

Towards a Sustainable Future Production The Road ahead for India is less dependent in terms of purchasing raw material and resources. Indigenous production post Covid-19 has to be taken seriously considering the countries growth model. Countries around the globe are looking at India as a golden bird for investment aand manufacturing. French utility major EDF Energy is exploring business opportunities in the Indian market for electric vehicle, hydrogen fuel and battery storage technologies, in line with its plans for post-Covid-19 economy. EDF is to build six reactors, each with a capacity of 1,650 MW each at the proposed plant near Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. This solution must consider all steps, from production through to use and recycling. By implementing these technologies, companies take an important step towards the sustainable factory and battery production of the future for the goal of self-reliance and no dependence.

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Introduction Wireless communications such as cellular and public safety Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks continue to expand at a rapid pace. As networks become more densely packed into the available spectrum, network planning and optimization continues to increase in importance. Many operators have their own teams to install new base stations and others rely on prime contractors (often called turf vendors) who specialize in this field and are responsible for different geographic regions. In both cases, it is essential that documentation is available to confirm that the new base stations have been installed in compliance with the requirements defined by the planning departments. A key part of most new base station installations is the RF cable feeds and antenna systems. Depending on the terrain and local environment, base stations may have transmitters on the ground with long RF cable feeds going to antennas that are many meters up a tower or the base station may be a rooftop site with only short RF jumper cables between the base station and antennas. Many new cellular base stations utilize fiber optics from the base of the tower to the remote radio head (RRH) on top of the tower followed by short RF cables from the RRH to the antennas themselves. The teams installing these systems will arrive on site with a specification for key performance metrics for the RF cable feeds and antennas. The key metrics are commonly called “Line Sweep” and “Antenna Alignment”. Installation teams have to produce documentation called “Closeout Reports” that includes measurement results for the RF cables and antennas and any fiber optics if utilized. However the fiber optics report may be generated separately from the RF cable and antenna report. The creation of the reports has typically been a time consuming task performed in an office or hotel room at the end of the day. These reports have to be submitted to the network operator for review before the site can go live and the contract team are paid.

Multiwave Sensors Inc. in partnership with Anritsu Company have developed a new application that runs on Android smartphones and tablets to provide a highly automated report generator. Results data and traces are read into the smartphone and can be sent directly to the network operator for approval while the technician is still at the site. Any errors in the measurements can be quickly identified by the operator and the technician can repeat the measurement(s) in question and resend the report for approval before leaving the site, thus reducing the number of truck rolls and naturally reducing the overall expense of the site installation or maintenance. The application interfaces to a wide range of Anritsu Site MasterTM Line Sweep testers and also the Multiwave Sensors

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Testing Commuication Inc. antenna alignment tools. A single consolidated report for both sets of measurements is created, shortening the time to create the report, speeding up the site approval, and contractor payment.

RF Cable and Antenna Line Sweep Basics

excessive loss usually caused by water absorption or loose/bad connectors • Cable DTF with a 50 ohm load on the far end which is only used for troubleshooting to locate faults within the coaxial transmission line and the various connectors/components • Cable DTF with a “Short” on the far end is used for cable length measurement • Antenna and Cable System Return Loss is typically a Pass/Fail test with limit specified by operator • Antenna and Cable system DTF is often considered the “birth certificate” of the site, and is used for reference purposes when troubleshooting faults at a later date If the antenna systems must also be swept for passive intermodulation products (PIM) even more measurements may be generated for each tower. The sheer number of measurements generated during a tower build or modification results in the need to carefully manage the reporting of a large amount of trace data.

When new antenna systems are installed, they need to be “swept,” a process that uses RF test instruments to verify performance of the RF cable and antenna system and to locate any potential faults within the signal path. The majority of the faults in a line feed and antenna system at a typical cell site are caused by damaged or pinched cables, corroded connectors, antennas, lightning strikes, water penetration into cables, and even bullet holes or other damage caused by vandalism. Degraded cable systems and badly positioned antennas affect overall system coverage and eventually result in dropped calls. Another benefit of sweeping these components before installation is that the measurement will reveal whether the component in question is the correct component. For example, antennas are tuned to operate at specific frequency bands, yet from the outside they may appear identical in shape and size, but the wrong antenna installed will obviously perform poorly. This also applies to filters, tower mounted amplifiers (TMA), duplexers/ diplexers, lightning arrestors, and other components. The Anritsu Site Master series instruments are field portable, handheld cable/antenna analyzers (CAA) utilizing vector error correction and are ideal for field measurements of insertion loss, return loss, and distance-to-fault (DTF). They are designed to validate system performance at time of installation and provide a trouble shooting tool for resolving failures at a later date. Sweeping the cables and antennas and preparing the line sweep reports is an essential part of the overall installation process. Towers typically have at least 6 and up to 30 or more antenna systems. Each one of these systems needs to be checked for RF faults separately as individual components and while attached in various combinations. The method for doing this is normally specified by a method of procedure (MOP). This MOP often requires 6 or 7 different sweeps per cable which is 36 to more than 180 line sweep measurements per tower. Measurements typically required for each antenna system mounted during construction commonly include: • Antenna Return Loss will easily identify an incorrect or defective antenna. It is typically measured before installing on the tower as well as after installation

For PIM measurements, additional trace types may also be required for each antenna system mounted during construction: • Antenna PIM Level • Cable PIM Level • Cable Distance-to-PIM (DTP) • Antenna and Cable System DTP Antenna Alignment Basics Simply put, if the antenna is pointing in the wrong direction the network will suffer degradation. The three parameters of antenna alignment are azimuth, tilt, and roll of the antenna: • Azimuth is a geographic direction defined from 0 to 360 degrees with respect to true north • Tilt is an angular measurement of the antenna in the up and down direction, sometimes referred as up tilt or down tilt • Roll is an angular measurement of the antenna in the side-toside direction and sometimes referred to as plumb As networks progressed from 2G and on to 5G, where we are currently, the requirement for a more accurate azimuth has also progressed. Tilt and roll have always been able to be measured accurately with a digital level, but obtaining an accurate azimuth measurement is more difficult. That’s why carriers have mandated the use of GPS antenna alignment tools instead of the magnetic compasses. A magnetic compass azimuth can be off by tens of degrees in a tower or rooftop environment. A GPS antenna alignment tool can measure azimuth to an accuracy of less than 1° and digital level technology is also built into the tool so all three parameters are measured at the same time. GPS Antenna Alignment Tool Basics The tool is an integrated system containing a global positioning system (GPS), two GPS antennas, a tilt/roll sensor, and associated electronics for communication and processing. As a result of these systems, the tool outputs: • From the GPS: Azimuth, latitude, longitude, and elevation • From the tilt/roll sensor: Tilt and roll

• Cable Insertion Loss can identify incorrect cable(s) and/or

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Testing Commuication • From the processing: GPS integrity Additional information such as above ground level (AGL) can be obtained using a laser rangefinder or tape drop. Performing Antenna Alignment

The process of wireless site design, build out, and installation of equipment has many different procedures and operations. All aspects of the build out have standards and procedures that are detailed in the MOP document. The MOP is used by employees, contractors, sub-contractors, and turf vendors to carry out the step-by-step guidelines to build the carrier’s network. One of these aspects is antenna installation. Apart from the mechanical stability, electrical, and transmission requirements (line sweep and PIM), the antenna needs to be physically aimed to the correct orientation (azimuth, tilt, and roll) as defined in the MOP. This is referred to as antenna alignment. The tower crew lifts the antenna to the correct location on the tower and installs it on the mast. The tower technician attaches the universal mounting bracket to the antenna and then attaches the smart aligner tool to the bracket as shown in the image below. The back channel of the bracket and tool are both referenced to the backplane of the antenna. The backplane of the antenna defines the azimuth of the antenna. Closeout Report Creation Once the tool and bracket are in place, the technician powers on the tool. A smartphone installed with the Smart Aligner App (Android) and connects, wirelessly, to the alignment tool that provides a GUI for display and saving of the results. Once connected the field technician will be viewing the azimuth, tilt, and roll of the antenna in real-time. The technician can now adjust the antenna to the azimuth, tilt, and roll as specified by the MOP or the associated RF sheet for that specific antenna. Once the antenna is in the correct orientation, it is tightened, and the alignment data is verified and saved by using the Smart Aligner app. The tech-

nician can now choose to take up to 10 pictures using the Smart Aligner app. A report can then be generated that describes the antenna with respect to its orientation, location, images, and other user information. The line sweep and PIM measurements that have been saved into the Site Master memory can be consolidated into a single report with the antenna alignment results. The Anritsu product files data files (.dat, .vna, .pim) are transferred to the Smart Aligner app, saved to the site directory, and then the user can choose which files to include and creates a report. All files above (alignment, .dat, .vna, .pim) can be selected, previewed, and consolidated into a single PDF report and emailed directly from a mobile phone. This combines the Anritsu and Multiwave Sensors reports into one PDF that can be emailed directly from the field. Consolidation of these reports is possible as a result of a partnership between Anritsu and Multiwave Sensors Inc. This report is then suitable for the final close out report of the site and can be easily emailed from the site to the head office. Below is an example of such a report using the Smart Aligner application.

Summary For fi eld technicians who need to create close out reports quickly and reliably after installing new antenna systems in the fi eld, the new Smart Aligner smartphone application, developed by Multiwave Sensors Inc., in partnership with Anritsu Company, offers a fast and reliable solution from the market leaders in antenna alignment and line sweep instruments.

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MAYANK VASHISHT | Technology Journalist | ELE Times

In a New Light Transform your home with Smart Lighting other networked devices - such as your phone or tablet - to communicate with your bulbs.

Lighting for smart buildings

IOT based Smart Street Lighting

This is a smart generation surrounded with smart gadgets which helps with intelligent solutions and ease to the users. These smart solution has transformed our lives with leaps and bounds and this has happened because of the major advancement in IOT (internet of things) and AI (artificial intelligence). We may not acknowledge this, but IOT and AI is everywhere. More or less, it has the next omnipresent thing next to god. The physical objects has now become into an ecosystem of information shared between devices that are wearable, portable and even implantable, making our live technology and data enriched. Virtually in every industry the machines has also gone to the next level. Now it’s more like they have their own brains, in terms of one just has to let the machine know what to be done and how and it will be at the user’s beck and call. This has enabled the industry in reaching their desired production goals smoothly. Smart lighting generally uses mesh networking, where each smart bulb wirelessly connects to its closest neighbour. That network is controlled by a hub that plugs into your router, enabling your

Smart street lighting, where Lights can turn on and off according and adjusting to the surrounding lighting conditions. Not only that, but the intensity of the light increases as soon as anyone passes through from a particular lamp and vice- versa. In case of some emergency or any accident the lamps increase lights to the maximum level therefore the safety of the people would be enhanced. Any type of breakdown in the street lights would be immediately reported to the cloud or to the service center and it can be resolved remotely. The rage for remote assistance to the breakdown in the lighting system can be sent up to a distance of 50 km. To understand the working of this magical lighting system, we would have to dive a little deeper into its functionality. There is

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Smar t Lighting a power sources connected to a LED chip and a control unit. The control center will be monitoring and controlling all the street lights and sends data to its cloud and maintains the street lighting system. Smart street lighting is an intelligent street lighting control system which uses AI (Artificial intelligence) to deliver automated services. Street lighting is a community service and consumes a major portion of energy resources. With the rise in demand for power and significant gap in demand and supply issues such as power outages and unoptimized usage like bright street lights in low footfall areas lead to substantial wastage. The components of smart street lighting are Light Dependent Resistors (LDR) input, IR (Infrared) sensor, LED and UART (Universal asynchronous Receiver/ Transmitter). In the smart street lighting

that won’t create a deep hole in your pocket you can go for color bulbs as well, as they come with color options. Which means that you can select any color from the rainbow according to your mood, however these bulbs cost a bit more than the regular color bulbs. This allows you to have a lot of fun with your lights. Many models have light preferences that can replicate sunrise or sunset, and lets you to change light from an energizing blue to a calm warm orange. Beyond that, you can program your lights (often with the help of IFTTT, Alexa or Google Assistant) to change colors when your alarms go off or you get a new email. You can also make them slowly fade to darkness as you fall asleep or slowly illuminate at sunrise. With countless shades of vivid, brightly-colored light available with just a voice command or a few taps on your phone, lights like those certainly can make for a more modern and striking-looking living space. These kinds of lights have practical uses, too. For instance, coupled with the right automations, they can mimic the way natural light changes throughout the day, or signal you when you have a new email from an important contact. Not only these lights can set as per your preferences but they also assist you to have a visualised alarms. Most of the major brands have their own channel on the free, online automation service IFTTT, hook them up with your Amazon Echo device via the Alexa channel, and you’ll be able to tell them to blink the lights or change their color whenever one of your timers goes off. Pretty every smart light will give the option to programme a recurring light change at a specific time of the day, so scheduling your bedroom lights to come on automatically in the morning is

system the street lights will automatically turned on and off. The traditional HID lamps that consumes a massive amount of energy are now being replaced with LED diodes, as they are supremely energy efficient and have a higher magnitude of effectiveness, when coupled with LDR which enables the intensity variation of light. Lighting for smart homes Imagine getting rid of the mental and physical exhaustion to set up the lighting for a party hosted in your home. Well, no stop right there, you don’t need to imagine that because it is now possible in the real world and with as much effort as you need to put for doing a snap. Not for just a party, but for your every mood there is a lighting solution out there. Switching out a light bulb requires so little time and effort, but can make a huge difference in how you interact with your home. Potentially, switching to smart bulbs is the easiest way and first step towards upgrading your home into a smart home. You can trade off the existing CFL or LED bulbs in your lamps and lighting fixtures with a Philips Hue, Lifx Mini, Eufy Lumos LED or many other models. These smart bulbs will surrender their control to you and your fingers with your phone or through Alexa or Google Assistant. Moreover, you can programme them to turn on at any time and dim them at will, even if you don’t have a dimmer switch. Majorly, smart bulbs comes in two categories of colours; white only and color. However, if you are willing to walk an extra mile

a decent start. You will also be able to change the color shades telling you how much time you have left to snooze. For instance, if you like to wake up at 5.30 in the morning, you set a bedside lamp to start at a slow, 90- minute fade 4 a.m. The light is red to start but is gradually adjusts to yellow after 30 minutes, and then after an hour to green, which literally means “go, and get your lousy self out of the bed.” There will be no need of squinting at the clock.

Lighting up a Conversation Smart lighting has opened a new realm of possibilities that has been untapped entirely, earlier. Lighting can have conversations with people now. Take the tallest building Burj khalifa into account. Be it the independence day of India or the 150th birth an-

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Smar t Lighting niversary of the father the world’s largest democracy; India, Burj Khalifa conveyed their warmest wishes and thoughts to the whole world by displaying it onto the whole building. Facade lighting technology helps to achieve the mesmerizing results that the whole world witnessed on Burj Khalifa. This lighting technology has set new trends in the industry and of course new records in the world. The primary part of the facade lighting technology is the LED bulbs. For the one that are being used in Burj, it contains RGBW (red, green, blue, white) strips, which gives more options for color and light mixing capabilities. The efficiency in these strips are higher due to the heat disperses from the LED pins out to the PCB copper. The higher the copper area, the higher would the efficiency. Each segment contains each color of the LED which would be connected to its own respective colors; green to green, blue to blue and red to red. These segments are then further connected to the RGBW strips in a parallel form. Therefore, by connecting each strip with their segment the strips can be longer and it can be connect-

screen forming a composite image of the photos or videos that are being played on the laptop and creates magic. Facade Lighting is now being used for hotels, monuments and in some cases for residential buildings as well. It has become a new way to grab and hold the attention of people passing by. The Beating Retreat ceremony is one big of an event where the Indian musical tune undulate away the masses attending the event. Not only have the performances, the picturesque and breath taking beauty of the lightings on the heritage of Rashtrapati Bhawan attracts every possible eyeballs. Not only the Rashtrapati Bhawan

gets decorated in lightning, but India Gate also drapes itself under the scintillating lightings. This LED fittings has around 1 lakh burning hour whereas earlier light fixtures were around 10,000 burning hour. New lighting system has computerized control having unified power and data cable for easy installation and maintenance with automation in selection of colour combination scheme using opti-bin technology, selection of timing, facility of dimming, switching on and off facility, individual and combined control of light fittings etc. through Ethernet based controller. This system is energy efficient as well as cost effective and there is value addition by putting this system on these buildings.

Lighting the Future All spaces are not created as equal and lighting is one of the key component in any or every space possibly, and hence easy access to the light control. Coupling Educational institutions with the technology of smart lighting can help the students to perform more efficiently, as smart lighting techniques would kick the boredom out of the classrooms. Students will not have to look on the same dull and monotonous ceiling of the classroom all day. They can have riveting visual experiences while studying. There can be an ocean or an even galaxy in the classroom, or any other thing as well as per the preferences of the students or faculty. ed to a long length, usually at the top or bottom both the drivers and controllers will be placed. Installing it altogether, and you are good to go. The linear LED lighting software are used to set a custom lighting. With over 1.2 million LED lights on the facade, Burj Khalifa has set a new trend in the industry with this technique of smart lighting. In totality, the small strips of LED makes the building into a large

Not only this, the smart lights will give a greater access to the light controls and its intensity as well. Classrooms and other educational facilities need to be well-lit whenever students and faculty are present. Traditional fixtures can be expensive to operate over a long period of time, and in many cases, they are left on when they don’t need to be. They also offer little in the way of flexibility, giving the same amount of illumination no matter what the circumstances.

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Smar t Lighting As lighting needs to be bright to help students focus during classes or softer administrators look for solutions that offer efficiency as well as adaptability, they are turning to smart lighting for schools. These systems not only offer more control over which lights are used and when, but they also deliver a greater degree of customization. Whether for after-hours library study sessions, smart lighting allows users to find the perfect setting. Rather than operating fixtures individually with switches throughout the building, smartphone apps and other connected devices give users the opportunity to control the entire property from a single place. Much of the energy wasted by large properties results from lights left on when no one needs them. With motion sensors, however, lights can switch themselves off automatically when no one is detected in the room. Many classrooms have large windows that let in a lot of natural daylight. Smart illumination systems can detect this light and adjust the artificial illumination accordingly, ensuring that no unnecessary energy is consumed. Studies have consistently found that better lighting is critical for educational facilities. Changing, existing fluorescent and incandescent systems with LEDs can enable schools to reap the benefits for learners.

Smart lighting, better patient wellbeing Smart lighting solutions has touched numerous aspects of lives, nearly leaving no stone unturned. However, not where it is perhaps needed the most. Healthcare services have improved with major degrees over the years with better patient care standards, but little has been done to explore the use of smart lights for healthcare. Patients at shred hospital wards and nursing homes are often woken in the middle of deep sleep by staff. Also, hospital lighting does not match the human body’s natural circadian rhythm. These factors cause them to experience a poor quality of rest. Smart lights helps to resolve these issues by proving patients with the best lighting at each time of the day, to improve health, mood and ability to sleep. Hospitals and nursing homes can adjust the timings of the lights so that it can mimic the patient’s circadian rhythms. These

lights can synchronize with the hospital’s schedule and knows when the hospital staff is coming to a patent’s bed. Moreover, these lights can track the patient’s sleep cycle and wakes the patient gently with vibrant light just before hospital staff arrives. Researches has shown that patients can recover up to 40% faster with better lighting. There has been a new advancement in the smart lighting technology for hospitals and nursing homes. This advancement is being used to clean and sterilize the patient’s bed and the hospital completely from a variety of pathogens that resides in a hospital. These lights can help in disinfecting the hospital environment and can provide a higher degree of safety to the patients and its staff as well.

Lighting the Way for Smart Businesses Companies bears huge costs involving electricity use and for its maintenance. There are things every business wants less of, and which can be resolved by various energy efficient solutions. Businesses across various countries has already shifted to build an intelligent environment by investing LED lights and sensor enabled networks. With this step, businesses are able to slash their lighting energy costs by 50% or more. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, when coupled with sensors and software, LEDs become a gateway to the industrial internet of things, which comprise massive potential to gather, analyse and take actions on data-driven insights on commercial facilities and building. With more than 7 billion fixtures in the U.S. alone, lighting is everywhere. And when it’s smart, it can reveal even the unseen. Companies all around the world, are already reverberating with new digital infrastructure to transform their offices, buildings and facilities into intelligent environments, and all their journeys began with LED. Inclination towards LED is a crucial and smart first step for one very big reason. LED lighting and controls generate an instantaneous cost savings through a lowering in energy consumption. Those savings can be used to invest in sensor-enabled networks and a digital platform so that fixtures and sensors that collect data can use IoT applications to make facilities and buildings intelligent.

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KEY PROPOSALS Smart lighting generally uses mesh networking, where each smart bulb wirelessly connects to its closest neighbour Imagine getting rid of the mental and physical exhaustion to set up the lighting for a party hosted in your home Smart lighting has opened a new realm of possibilities that has been untapped entirely, earlier. Lighting can have conversations with people now. Facade lighting technology helps to achieve the mesmerizing results that the whole world witnessed on Burj Khalifa Smart lighting solutions has touched numerous aspects of lives, nearly leaving no stone unturned.



1st STM32 Module for the 1st Wireless MCU How can teams create a Bluetooth LE, Zigbee, or Thread application when low volumes may not justify the investment? The answer partly resides with the STM32WB55MMG, the first STM32 module. It includes an antenna, crystals, and everything else necessary to use the embedded RF present on its STM32WB55 microcontroller. It thus represents a new solution for engineers that struggle with costs or design considerations. Hence, by simplifying access to certification, the STM32WB55MMG dramatically reduces the time to market. Similarly, its hardware flexibility ensures that smaller teams aren’t overwhelmed by inherent complexities. A current paradox is that while Bluetooth LE, Zigbee, or Thread applications are widespread, releasing them to market can get excruciatingly complex. BLE is so accessible that it serves as a teaching support for first-year engineering students. Indeed, the technology is far more accessible than it was ten or 15 years ago. Yet, companies may still face regulatory or design hurdles that quickly add up, especially for low-volume products. What does one say to a manager complaining that the time, human, and monetary investments are too high for a product that won’t exceed 50,000 units? The STM32WB55MG provides new answers.

STM32WB55MMG: Shifting the Cost-Benefit Analysis Solving the Certification Conundrum

The STM32WB55 remains the only dual-core Cortex-M0+ and Cortex-M4 microcontroller with an embedded wireless transceiver. The component supports Bluetooth LE 5.2, Zigbee PRO/ZCL 3.0, Thread, and proprietary protocols. Moreover, thanks to the P-NUCLEO-WB55 development board and our software solutions, designing a custom board is relatively straightforward. Yet, certifying such a design can get challenging, especially for smaller teams. Some members of the ST Partner Program can help, but the task can still be daunting, especially if a company only makes low-volume products. Spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in testings and filings can get discouraging. The monolithic architecture of the STM32WBMMG is a unique solution to this problem because ST took care of its certification. By design, the system we validated stays untouched inside the module’s packaging. Hence, the certification process will only focus on minor points of implementation since the regulatory bodies already approved the major hardware implementation. Moreover, we secured a lot more than the traditional FCC (USA) and CE (European Union) certifications. The STM32WB55MMG also received validations from TELEC and MIC (Japan), CCC (China), IC and ISED (Canada), KC (South Korea), and BSMI (Taiwan). Hence, exporting a design worldwide became a lot simpler, which further increases the return on investment.

45 | March, 2021

Technology Overcoming Design Complexity Engineers may also face serious design challenges. A couple of years ago, an ST Partner explained how a Bluetooth LE product often demanded external expertise. Tuning the antenna and optimizing the RF is complex, and small teams may have to outsource the process. By using the STM32WB55MMG, engineers no longer have to worry about it. ST did all the work so they would not have to. Additionally, it is possible to use the new device in 2-layer and 4-layer PCBs, thus offering greater flexibility. Indeed, for configurations that don’t require all of the module’s features, using a 2-layer PCB helps reduce costs. On the other hand, designers looking to create more powerful applications will appreciate that we are using a full STM32WB55, which means enjoying the same peripherals, security features, and access to tools like STM32CubeMX to jumpstart projects.


STM32WB55MMG: Focusing on Features Rather Than Implementation Inspiring Reference Design Now that the STM32WB55MMG offers engineers a new cost-benefit paradigm, their next challenge will be to demonstrate a tangible path to market. Teams must also explain how the component will fit into the finalConnectivity product. Hence, ST ExpressRoute is announcing the upModel using Azure coming release of the STM32WB55MMG-DK, which should arrive Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute: this quarter. The Discovery Kit will serve as a reference design, ExpressRoute lets you extend your on-premises networks meaning that engineers can get inspiration schematics. It into the Microsoft cloud over afrom privateits connection facilitatwill also show managers the module compromise the ed by a that connectivity provider.doesn’t With ExpressRoute, you can establishinconnections to Microsoft cloud services, such as overall footprint. Indeed, some instances, integrating so many Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365. components inside Microsoft a package can take significantly more space Connectivity can be the fromSTM32WB55MMG any-to-any (IP VPN) network, a than a custom approach. However, uses an point-to-point Ethernet network, or a virtual cross-connection through a connectivity provider at a co-location

LGA86L package measuring only 7.3 mm x 11 mm, thus ensuring designs remain compact. As a result, having such a reference design further reduces the time to market already shortened by using the module itself.

Visionary Applications The STM32WB55MMG-DK board is also a reflection of our desire to increase the accessibility of all the microcontroller’s features. Indeed, engineers know that it can be hard to go from a list of specifications on a data sheet to taking advantage of the technologies available. Hence, the Discovery Kit will have a myriad of sensors, an LCD, external memory, and more. It will thus be a onestop-shop to experiment with security features like Secure Boot and Secure Firmware Install. Developers will also be able to test facility. ExpressRoute connections do not the QuadSPI interface to utilize external Flash better quickly. And over the public Internet. This allows the display will go help evaluate the integrated LCD driver. ExpressRoute connections to offer more

reliability, speeds, lower latencies, The development board faster is highly symbolic because it serves as and higher security than typical conneca technological tions demo for Bluetooth IoT application, rather than over the Internet. a simple window into the STM32WB55MMG. Too often, teams Azure ExpressRoute comes with folunderestimate what canLayer accomplish because coming up with lowingthey benefits: 3 connectivity between your on-premises network a proof-of-concept is too difficult. Thanks to and the upcoming STMthe Microsoft Cloud a connec- to go far beyond 32WB55MMG-DK, they have allthrough the resources tivity provider. Connectivity can be from basic feature-sets. For instance, ST will also update its FP-AUDany-to-any (IPVPN) network, a point-toBVLINKWB1 Function Pack to offer a pre-compiled binary for the point Ethernet connection, or through a virtual via an Ethernet new Discovery Kit. Thecross-connection application streams music and voice over exchange. BLE to simulate a smart speaker. Engineers can, therefore, better Connectivity to Microsoft services across all regions in products without envision the creationcloud of modern and compelling the geopolitical region, global connectivity to Microsoft serfearing the inherent challenges that come with vices across all regions with the ExpressRoute premium add-an RF implementation. on, dynamic routing between your network and Microsoft via BGP, built-in redundancy in every peering location for higher reliability, connection uptime SLA and QoS support for Skype for Business being some other benefits.

April , 2019 4630| |March, 2021


As science fiction becomes science fact, focusing on ethics will make sure AI benefits all of humanity – not entrench the advantages of a privileged few Fake news spreads six times faster than factual news. The algorithms built into social media software, in an effort to hold our attention, feed us information that triggers the basest instincts of our complex psychologies. These are some of the starkest realities exposed in the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma.” Holding our attention is what the robot (if you will) was programmed to do. And it’s doing its job really, really well. “As long as social media companies profit from outrage, confusion, addiction, and depression,” says Tristan Harris, founder of The Center for Humane Technology, “our well-being and democracy will continue to be at risk.” Of course, infinite-scroll news feeds are only a tiny piece of the artificial intelligence puzzle. AI and machine learning influence the way we shop, bank, commute – even the decisions we make about who earns an interview vs. whose resume goes into the trash bin. Although the robots may or may not be coming to take our jobs,

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JAMEY AUSTIN | Atlassian

they’re already playing an ever-more participatory role in our lives. The upshot? Whether software (and how we build it) helps or harms us is important for everyone to understand – not just developers. That’s where ethical AI comes in.

What is ethical AI? There are a few different lenses for looking at the ethical considerations of AI. There are the complex philosophical issues and futurism predictions like the “singularity.” There are also science-fiction-like ideas of what would happen if an AI system became “conscious” and able to teach itself whatever it wanted – not just what it’s been programmed to learn. And then there’s the moral behavior of humans as they design and create intelligent machines. It’s this latter consideration that’s been coming up recently, and there are some very smart people who’ve

Sci-Fi founded organizations with missions to make us more aware of the situation. One is Ethical AI, whose website includes this data point:

3. Fairness: Throughout their lifecycle, AI systems should be inclusive and accessible, and should not involve or result in unfair discrimination against individuals, communities, or groups.

Gartner predicts that 85 percent of all AI projects in the next two years will have erroneous outcomes.

4. Privacy protection and security: Throughout their lifecycle, AI systems should respect and uphold privacy rights and data protection, and ensure the security of data.

That number should make all of us sit up straighter and pay attention. The kicker is that sometimes the error isn’t the result of buggy code, but the result of unconscious bias. Take this heart attack detector app developed in 2019, for example. It wrongly registered the same symptoms as a panic attack in women and not, as it would’ve for men, as a heart attack. The AI was unintentionally harmful because it amplified biases that already existed – in this case, the notion that women are overly emotional. Now consider the fact that facial recognition AI makes more accurate identifications when presented with a white face versus a person of color. The same goes for self-driving cars. They tend to be better at detecting (and therefore avoid hitting) pedestrians with pale skin. Such systems are already being used in policing, and yes: already producing erroneous outcomes. This is why it’s imperative to design AI with ethical principles in place. And the responsibility is on us to be ethical leaders at the grassroots level, rather than relying solely on government or tech giants. They, of course, need to do their part, too. But, in the case of tech companies, the harsh truth is many lack the financial incentive to affect real change.

The principles of ethical artificial intelligence and its importance for developers Today, governments and other regulators are at least five years behind the curve in terms of understanding what AI is capable of and how to govern it, according to Dr. Catriona Wallace, founder and CEO of Ethical AI Advisory, and founder and director of Flamingo AI. The Ethical AI Advisory states: “Adopting an ethical approach to the development and use of AI works to ensure organisations, leaders, and developers are aware of the potential dangers of AI, and, by integrating ethical principles into the design, development, and deployment of AI, seek to avoid any potential harm.” Dr. Wallace explains that there are different things that humans value, but that it ultimately comes down to the basics: do no harm, and prioritize health and safety. The Ethical AI website includes eight noteworthy principles and guidelines for ethical AI: 1. Human, social, and environmental well-being: Throughout their lifecycle, AI systems should benefit individuals, society, and the environment. 2. Human-centered values: Throughout their lifecycle, AI systems should respect human rights, diversity, and the autonomy of individuals.

5. Reliability and safety: Throughout their lifecycle, AI systems should reliably operate in accordance with their intended purpose. 6. Transparency and explainability: There should be transparency and responsible disclosure to ensure people know when they are being significantly impacted by an AI system and can find out when an AI system is engaging with them. 7. Contestability: When an AI system significantly impacts a person, community, group, or environment, there should be a timely process to allow people to challenge the use or output of the AI system. 8. Accountability: Those responsible for the different phases of the AI system lifecycle should be identifiable and accountable for the outcomes of the AI systems, and human oversight of AI systems should be enabled. Questions of ethics also extend to personal data and how it’s used in AI algorithms when we interact with apps. Should we be made aware we’re interacting with AI? Should we be allowed to opt out?


Artificial intelligence is when machines carry out tasks in a smart way, where “smart” is defined by the engineers who built it. Hamid illustrates a hypothetical scenario that, without attention to bias, could arise in a system like Jira. “Maybe you always assign high-severity issues to the most senior engineers AI is all around us, and it has fundamentally changed our lives in many positive ways. But it has the potential to be a major threat to the world, too

Computers only do what they’re programmed to do. Because AI is trained on existing behaviors, they can magnify gender and race biases

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“The first product my company brought to market was sold in financial services,” Dr. Wallace recalls. “One of our customers didn’t want their customers to know that they were interacting with a robot. They wanted them to think it was a human. We told them that was unethical. My strong belief is that customers need to know if they’re dealing with a robot, and if the data the robot gathers will be going into a data set that will be used to train the algorithm even further. They should have both of these things listed on their website.” Computers only do what they’re programmed to do. Because AI is trained on existing behaviors, they can magnify gender and race biases. “The example of Amazon AI assessing resumes was an AI that used historical data with biases,” notes Dr. Wallace. The program had been trained on a data set that massively over-represented men’s resumes, which led it to conclude that men were preferable. Women’s resumes were automatically downgraded. In other words, even Amazon – one of the top tech companies in the world – struggles to get it right. AI can get better and better at feeding you what you seem to like, but it doesn’t know why you like it. It’s pure quantitative analysis to the Nth degree, and value judgments don’t factor in at run-time. The only chance to add values to the equation

Sci-Fi is when selecting the data set used for training. If the engineers are careful to ensure the data set is free of bias, there’s a fighting chance the resulting AI will behave fairly and equitably. If not, existing biases will only become more entrenched.

AI vs. Machine Learning Artificial intelligence is when machines carry out tasks in a smart way, where “smart” is defined by the engineers who built it. When my phone recognizes that I get up every day at 6:30 a.m. and begins to show me reminders to set my alarm at that time, that’s not necessarily machine learning. A human engineer could easily build a rule into my phone’s operating system that says “Remind the user to set their wake-up alarm; find the time they most commonly set their alarm for, and suggest that time.” Machine learning is a subset of AI. It involves giving machines access to example data and examples of desirable outcomes, then letting them decide for themselves what’s smart and what’s not. An example of machine learning would be if my phone’s OS was designed to analyze all usage patterns (not just the alarm) and notify me when I deviate from them. It would be as if the machine were thinking “Hmm. Jamey always sets his alarm on Sunday evenings, but it’s almost his usual bedtime and he hasn’t done that yet. I’d better remind him.” How explicit are the instructions given to the machine? The less explicit, the more likely you’re looking at machine learning.

What do AI engineers think about “bad robots?” Let’s address the elephant in the room: Atlassian is a tech company, and we use AI in our software. At a basic level, our software is designed to help people work more efficiently and effectively. Machine learning can enhance that. Let’s say you’re about to share a Confluence page with a colleague. Our algorithm tracks who you interact with in Confluence most often, and will suggest people based on that data set as soon as you type the first letter of a name. This machine-learning engine, called “Smarts,” delivers millions of notifications, suggestions, and reminders like this every day. Simple though these examples may be, they give our Search & Smarts team something to measure and observe as they build more advanced functionality. Shihab Hamid and Timothy Clipsham, both senior technologists involved with “Smarts”, say they’re aware of the possibilities of bias in the data and the implications of their work overall. Thus, they’re always on the lookout for unintended consequences. Hamid illustrates a hypothetical scenario that, without attention to bias, could arise in a system like Jira. “Maybe you always assign high-severity issues to the most senior engineers. And across the data set, those senior engineers are overwhelmingly male. That will introduce a certain bias.” Then, when the system encounters a more gender-balanced set of senior engineers, it may initially lag behind in suggesting critical work be assigned to the women in that group.

decisions and equitable lending. So what keeps techies like Hamid and Clipsham up at night? “The way I see it, AI is all about predicting what’s going to happen to the future,” says Clipsham. “And machine learning is one technique that can help you predict what’s going to happen.” He emphasized, however, that the stakes would go up if we were to, say, auto-generate in-product avatars for users, because the data needed to accomplish that reaches into the dicey territory of gender and ethnicity.

How can we accept the good and filter out the bad? According to Dr. Wallace, artificial intelligence should deliver three primary benefits: 1. Make things faster, bigger, and cheaper. 2. Be more accurate than a human brain when it comes to analytics and decision making. 3. Be more reliable than humans, both in terms of error rates and uptime. (Bots don’t need to take sick days, after all.) But, as we’ve seen in the examples above and many others, AI can also break things faster and in bigger ways by orders of magnitude with literally life-and-death implications. It can’t factor values or other qualitative considerations into the decisions it makes. And although it’s often better on accuracy, AI can be far worse on discrimination. Clearly, there’s some work to do – and without delay. If the first step toward change is awareness, then it’s our collective responsibility to be as educated on this topic as we can. We use computers, we use social media. We must understand how they are, in many senses, using us, too. AI is all around us, and it has fundamentally changed our lives in many positive ways. But it has the potential to be a major threat to the world, too. AI mimics human intelligence, and, in the most advanced forms, can learn on its own with minimal programming. Many engineers attest to the fact that, with many programs, there’s a “sit back and see what the machine does” element to it all. There’s also growing recognition that we need better representation of women and people of color on AI and robotics teams. Professional groups like Black In Computing and the Algorithmic Justice League are raising awareness of the impact this overwhelmingly white- and male-dominated field can have (and is having) on communities of color. Meanwhile, organizations like Black Girls Code and Code2040 are working to bring more engineers from underrepresented groups into the hiring pipeline. The machines, and very intelligent ones at that, are here and here to stay. But we can do our due diligence, remain vigilant, and make peace with the robots. Bookmark these resources and check them out the next time you need a break from your Facebook feed.

For the moment, Atlassian’s use of AI is far removed from hiring

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The faster you harvest in

Robotic Process Automation

the faster you create a competitive edge for your business


MANNU MATHEW | Sub Editor | ELE Times

Company relationship management today has resulted in a lot of cost-cutting and resource saving processes and methodologies, The efficient usage of Robotic Process Automation today has helped a lot of business sector and has helped in relieving a lot of human work and repetitive task. With almost managing the menial time of the employee, RPA has helped in utilising the workforce of the company to the core in a very substantial and sustainable way. Frequently, employees are stuck with repetitive tasks which are time consuming and often prone to errors. Infamous examples are monitoring and maintaining master data, data transfers from or to Microsoft Office applications, or the collection of data from systems for reporting or similar purposes. As back office employee out of the cloud, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can be a much-needed alternative. The Year 2021 is expected to bring so many laurels and technology accolades in the Banking Sector. With RPA gaining much importance in the financial sec-

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Robotics tors, Apprehensions and confusions about the new technology also come inside the coupe of hope and digitisation. Let’s have an end to this turmoil and find some of the answers to some fallacy:

Will the usage of Robotic Process Automation reinstate human work? Well one thing to be cleared at first is that Robotic Process Automation is not a humanoid rather a fruitful embedded technology in the market. The terms often is always linked with self-analysing technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as these technologies also took birth from the cubicle of automation. RPA cannot perform logical or critical thinking on its own like other cognitive mechanisms rather is just a tool that assists with basic tasks, such as copying and pasting data into forms. It would never be a human replacement but an opportunity to focus on more valuable work.

Is Robotic Process Automation a threat to organisations? Organisations enforcing Robotic Process Automation have expressed problems over the security and risk factors. There are also problems related to misuse of government data and the bots which could be used for malicious purposes. In reality, bots are unlikely to go rogue if they are tightly controlled. Organisations can incorporate security into RPA from the initial stage of the software development lifecycle with DevSecOps which is a culture shift in the software industry that aims to bake security into the rapid-release cycles that are typical of modern application development and deployment. Doing so from the start helps agencies

avoid the expense of fixing security issues that may come up later on. Leading RPA vendors follow DevSecOps best practices and have strong measures in place to ensure that bots act as they should without compromising security.

Is implementing Robotic Process Automation expensive? Any technology in the world would require a certain single time investment for its installation and so is with Robotic Process Automation. Compared to the advanced AI tool like business process outsourcing and manual processing, RPA is very much cheaper. Legacy systems and existing applications can be automated with RPA, which doesn’t require a complete IT overhaul. For most organizations, the long-term cost benefits outweigh the initial investment in RPA. Agencies can reduce training costs, free up IT resources and ease software migration.

Are RPA tools cent percent efficient? The most common poetic statement to this could be “Nothing is perfect”. Yes Indeed, RPA can make mistakes if a very critical task is put in place. Because the tool lacks analytical ability, the critical task will also be automated. Supervision and Correction should be consistently done on the work generated by robots. . It’s important for agencies to have fail-safes in place along with RPA. Certain tools with process mining capabilities can be used to provide regular monitoring catering to the outcomes of some tasks by which the mistakes could be catered very sooner. This frees up resources, since whoever is supervising the bots doesn’t have to constantly look over each output manually.

Will RPA technology be obsolete? People today are very much looking forward in implementing artificial intelligence and parallel technologies across all possible organisations. There are also confusions on the necessity to adopt robotic process automation, when you can straight away shift to AI. People have themselves reached at the conclusion that investing in AI/Ml would be a smarter and proactive approach. But the unsung reality is that shifting directly from manual workloads is very much difficult than utilising RPA resources. RPA is the confirmed getaway and an impetus to AI for state, local and federal agencies. The huge amount of data should be cleaned, standardized and made free of errors before agencies could come to a conclusion. RPA is a key factor that organisations should possess before investing in AI and ML.

Structure for Formulation RPA can precisely help in reducing human errors by automating tasks that humans generally tend to flub. All the areas of data entry, counting coins and tracking of fraudulent transactions can be done by this tool. Robotic Process Automation cannot collectively reduce all the issues and lapses in banking but a good and fruitful result can be obtained. As banks continue to transition to digital models in 2021, there are more opportunities to automate rote tasks than in the past, which is good news for the people in organization who are more interested in building relationships

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than data entry. It’s time to free up your staff for higher-impact work and relationship building. Customer service is still best done by real people who can connect across channels. Technology in Financial Services is transforming the world of banking and indeed Robotic Process Automation is the most significant trend of the industry today and in the near future. The use of debit and credit cards, ATMs, and Desktop automation can be cited as examples to prove that automated technologies are being used to streamline processes and improve customer experience. The technologies mentioned above are significant but have limitations in their functions. On the other hand, Robotic Process Automation can do much more in comparison, starting from controlling data, triggering responses, processing transactions to communicating with other systems. The ongoing pandemic has accelerated investment in technology across industries, as much of the world’s workforce was pushed to go fully remote overnight. But the regulatory compliance and digital security needs of financial institutions did not change as fast (nor should they). The good news is that the world’s focus on a remote workforce has come with a renewed focus on digital security, and indeed that is much of what interest in blockchain adoption is all about. As these priorities align, 2021 will present opportunities for banks to find ways to apply innovative technology to old problems, improving digital banking services and the bottom line.

Robotics Let us explore a few ways in which technology is being used in the financial servicing industry: Processing of claims

Older methodologies of loan processing and insurance claims always takes longer duration and is always a systematic manual process done partially through technology resources, by which it

and its possibilities, the usage of these technologies will be better and beneficial Good Yield Factor

is always prone to human error. These processes has always resulted in increased workloads and more stress. A typical example is of an organisation which used to go through so many banks and did smart researches just to make sure that the payments were correctly made against the respective claims. This complete process used to take almost four days and today the sector of banking is so achieved and advanced that it merely takes few hours for this entire process. Robotic Process Automation has phenomenally and efficiently catalysed these workflow and has made the whole process free of errors and without discrepancy.

Technology today is expected and capable to achieve what humans would strive hard to prosper. Continuous interaction and

Customer Service

Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation has proved to be of immense importance in terms of attaining customer sat-

working with numerous systems for data and successive information reduces a lot of pain points and saves a lot of resources, thereby resulting in more effective work and organisation’s overall productivity. Embedding RPA ends up in maximum work and minimum resources. It offers a user friendly and easy interface to customers and also ensures companies a good return on investment of 30-200% in the initial stages itself. Federal Agencies throughout the globe have accepted the need for a RPA tool for their development pipeline according to this year’s State of Federal RPA Report. Financial Solutions would be the largest beneficiaries of RPA and is expected to be commonly used in acquisitions, human resources, administrative services and customer service applications. isfaction and proving good responses through efficient Chabot for customer interaction. These technologies are available round the clock according to the need and desire of the customer. Since the Automation Technology is significantly a resource free of errors, the customer needs thereby can be met quicker and precisely. Financial Service Data Management

Different Automation Process in the banking sector has improved accounting with reduced human errors and less time in the data entry and integration process. Mutual Integrations among the portals can now happen without the human resource. It is also predicted that with further advancements in Machine Learning

In India, RPA should be considered as one of the marching aid to complete digitisation. The Governments and the respective state authorities have saved a lot of resource and workloads with RPA. For Instance, the New York Power Authority, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership have all automated their manual workflows to refocus on delivering better public services. Consuming RPA may seem problematic because of the rising fallacy in the market about this technology. The Government should equally educate the resource bearers and creators the need for this wonderful technology designed to save time, money, energy and moreover brain.

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The Basics of Hand Soldering In the process of hand soldering, solder is melted by the application of heat. There are various methods of achieving reflow. For hand soldering the default is a soldering iron. In this guide, a basic overview of the soldering process will be explained No matter how simple hand soldering seems, soldering is a complicated process in which there are numbers of factors that need to be evaluated. To begin with there are two different types of components to choose from: Through hole components and SMT (Surface Mount Technology) components. Since through hole technology provides more protection against environmental stress, it has found more application in the military and aerospace industry. SMT components introduce higher density and superior efficiency in the assembly process. Scope of application decides which one is best suited. Commonly most modern assemblies use a mixture of both. When it comes hand soldering, selection of appropriate tools, equipment and materials are critical. Here is the thorough explanation of some basic tools and materials required in soldering.

1. Soldering Station: The soldering station should be

protected from ESD (Electrostatic Discharge). When two objects of different potentials are brought in contact with each other, Electrostatic Discharge may occur. This discharge can cause functional damage to the electronic component and assembly. The issue to consider is this may be an instant or a latent failure. No one would like a failure once it reaches the customer or in its working environment. As per the industry standards, it may be necessary to install ESD safe soldering equipment for the safety of the electronic products. In general, it includes anti-static wrist straps and ESD-safe mat. These are grounded using an industry approved documented process. Sometimes an ionisor is used for neutralising charge wherever grounding is not always possible.

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Fundamentals 2. Soldering Iron and Iron Tips: In 2008 the UK adopted RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) directives. Using compliant standards, soldering irons with temperature control may now be necessary for lead-free soldering. Soldering tips are dependent on their application and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate different components and techniques. For example, Chisel tip is often suitable for soldering through hole components. Hoof or hollow tips are beneficial in Drag-soldering. Fine or pointed tips are suitable for soldering small components.

3. Soldering Wire or Paste: It goes without saying that

without an exemption lead-free soldering wire and pastes should be used. Soldering paste is available in different grades (Types 1 to Type 8), which basically differ by particle size. Soldering wire also has various thickness to adopt diverse applications. The size of soldering wire is typically down to the size of the component or land area. Knowing the size to use really comes down to experience.

4. Flux: Flux essentially falls into three different categories;

Rosin fluxes, Resin fluxes and organic (water-soluble) fluxes. The activity level of Low, Medium or high this covers its cleaning ability or corrosiveness. Commonly they are broken down into 2 types. Cleanable and no-clean fluxes. Which to use is necessary is normally the process engineer’s decision. Fluxes can cause issues to the assembly in its working environment. This is an important but sometimes overlooked procedure.

5. Tools and equipment: Tools, equipment and con-

sumables are the last consideration. Are you allowed to use a brass braid for tip cleaning or are you only allowed to use a damp sponge with deionised water. For cleaning of the board a mild solvent is recommended the most common is isopropyl alcohol. For inspection it could be as simple as a magnified eyeglass. A stereo microscope or becoming very popular a camera based inspection system. We always recommend professional training before you begin to solder. Most companies utilise a trade test designed to test an individual’s proficiency before employment. Equally most companies offer training in house before allowing you to solder a customer’s product.

There are some things to consider before soldering We should never handle a PCB (printed circuit board) on the solder able surfaces to contaminate the surfaces to be soldered. Always use clean gloves or clean hands handling the PCB. On inspection of the PCB ensure no damage to pads, tracks or the laminate surface. You may wish to wipe the PCB using a solvent such as isopropyl alcohol, then apply some flux to aid removing any oxidation during soldering. Set the temperature of soldering iron to the lowest amount possible to achieve solder reflow to the parts to be soldered. Although most common Lead-Free solder reflows

around 230ºC. You will need a higher temperature to allow for heating of the areas to be soldered, commonly between 320ºC and 370ºC. After the solder tip is set at an adequate temperature, make sure the tip is cleaned using a sponge or brass braid. Tips need to be free of oxidation and corrosion. These cause a barrier that stops the required temperature needed of the tip of the soldering iron. As an addition, new tips always need to be coated, heated, and then covered with solder before its very first use; otherwise known as ‘tinning’. This thin layer coats the tip and provides a much better transfer of heat from the tip to the solder joint itself. Sometimes referred to as a solder bridge this greatly improves the transfer of heat allowing soldering much faster. If we leave the tip on the board or component too long we will start to see overheating issues. We could damage the board surface, lift pads or tracks, even delaminate or burn the laminate itself. It’s now time to insert your component into PCB. Some PTH (plated through hole) components need to be formed before we can install them. Make sure you have enough lead prude using through the board to solder but not too long to cause issues elsewhere. Now place the tip of the soldering iron to the junction area of the component lead and pad to be soldered. Feed solder from the opposite side of the iron to allow the flux to activate, clean and allow the solder to flow correctly. This can be achieved in around 3 seconds ideally. Insufficient heat and poor contact could lead to poorly created joints, Such as insufficient solder or dry joints. Continue heating before applying some solder to the solder joint itself. The solder should melt and flow smoothly onto the lead and land filling the area to be soldered. Then remove the soldering iron while keeping the joint still, giving it time to cool and solidify. This point by point soldering technique is slow for some SMT (surface mount terminations) QFP (quad flat pack) or SOIC (small outline integrated circuits). Drag soldering an acceptable soldering process in this instance. The process is to apply flux to all the leads, and then gently drag a bead of solder from the soldering iron across the line of leads to be soldered.. Now it’s time to inspect your workmanship. You should use your company’s documentation or ideally an industry approved acceptability document. In addition specific inspection equipment will need to be utilised. You may have an automatic test in place. As a minimum you could also use an ohmmeter to test the solder joint for continuity. Soldering is not an easy process. Like anything you should be taught first then practice to achieve a high level of competency. At Advanced Rework Technology Ltd (ART) we can teach you the skills required to meet this level and to succeed in the electronics industry.

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Power Semiconductor


for IGBT and Power MOSFET Modules

ALAIN STAS Vishay NLR Product Marketing

BRUNO VAN BENEDEN Vishay NLR Product Marketing

Temperature control is one of the key factors for a MOSFET or IGBT power module to work efficiently. Although some MOSFETs are equipped with an internal temperature sensor (body diode), there are other ways to monitor and control temperature. A semiconductor silicon PTC resistor can be used with well-defined current control or a Pt- or Ni-based resistance temperature detector (RTD) with moderately low resistance values and more linear performance. Whether the sensor is an SMD, a wire bonded die, or even a sintered die, an NTC thermistor remains the most sensitive and versatile temperature sensor. When designed properly, it will ensure the proper derating and eventual shutdown of the module in case of overheating or excessive external temperature. In this article we will focus on a bondable NTC die and adopt the path of analog electronic simulation to show how fundamentally a derating and a shutdown can be operated in a power module. Why analog? It’s the best way to simplify things and illustrate the different phenomena Figure 1

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Power Semiconductor

Figure 4

in a visual way. It’s also ideal for developing an intuitive application. The last motivation is pecuniary: we will develop a simulation within the limits of a free software (LTspice), while other design tools would possibly allow for more sophisticated designs. So, let’s take the LTspice design in Figure 1, which is a simple boost converter design. However, thanks to the versatility of LTspice, the IGBT and the diode models have been replaced with thermal models, where the heat fluxes are explicitly represented with an output pin, allowing them to be connected to a thermal circuit (the heatsink, for example). We will here use a simple RC circuit (in the real world, the designer would need to carefully define the Zth model as a Cauer or a Foster model). During the converter’s operation, the heat flux results in a hot spot (the voltage at the node Tsyst in this case, which is the temperature to control). This temperature is input into an NTC model (Vi-

shay wire bondable die NTCC200E4203_T). The NTC signal is used via a Wheatstone bridge, compared to a threshold, amplified, and compared to a sawtooth signal (Vsaw). The final output Vsw is the pulse signal applied at the gate of the IGBT. Under the temperature threshold defined by the Rlim resistor value, we apply a 100 % full duty cycle pulse at the IGBT’s gate. When there is overheating — produced by the IGBT and the diode — cumulated with the ambient temperature (the voltage at the node Tamb in the thermal circuit), the duty cycle is reduced and the output / input ratio of the buck converter (Vout / Vcc) will be reduced. This produces less heat and the temperature begins to stabilize. At the limit above a certain temperature, this ratio must be reduced to 1. In order to perform a simulation within a reasonable time, we must scale down the thermal capacity of the heatsink. Thermal increases can take minutes or even hours, and we want to visualize them within a very short time.

Figure 5 Figure 2

Figure 6 Figure 3

Here are the results of the simulation: in each figure, the results

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Power Semiconductor the Tsyst reaches 90 °C. Every further increase of the ambient temperature decreases the duty cycle until the total deactivation of the boost converter. At 110 °C, the derating is maximum. Without temperature protection, Tsyst can reach 160 °C to 170 °C (Figure 4). In real power modules, peak die temperatures could reach 200 °C or more. The voltages Vsense, Vntc, and Vlim are shown in Figure 3. The variation of the duty cycle is also illustrated at different times in Figures 5 and 6. Of course, all the thresholds are scalable and the switch threshold can be adapted accordingly. Going further into more complex simulations, we can also try to reproduce a full-bridge IGBT module (as shown in Figure 7). This circuit produces a 50 Hz sinusoidal current through an inductive load, with an IGBT switching at 30 kHz. The gate driver stimulation circuit will deliver a constant frequency up to 125 °C and will reduce the duty cycle in order to mitigate the IGBT losses above this temperature.

Figure 7

In Figure 8, we visualize the sum of the heat-power produced by the IGBT’s switching (I(V6) expressed in W), together with temperature (V(Tsyst) expressed in degrees Celsius) increase in time. The produced current is also shown in the lower pane of Figure 8.

Figure 8 are shown with or without temperature derating (in order to eliminate the temperature control, the Rlim value is taken as very low). In Figure 2, you will notice the usual oscillating, non-optimized behavior of a boost converter during the first 20 ms. The temperature Tsyst (Figure 4) begins to increase, and then when the ambient temperature increases, the derating Vout / Vcc begins when

Without entering into the details, it is possible to mitigate the temperature increase (Figure 8 lower pane, red curves) in time by playing into the modulation parameters: a reduction of switching duty time will reduce the heat production, but will also result in a less sinusoidal signal. We will not go further in the details of this case, but we hope to have shown with the provided examples that LTspice circuit simulations with NTC thermistors can be pushed very far and can help a MOSFET / IGBT power module design engineer to develop their intuition about their circuit, and help them to mitigate the crucial thermal aspects related to circuit protection.

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Design are not already enough, there has been a significant increase in automotive electronic systems. These changes, coupled with related demands for power, have created a new spectrum of engineering opportunities. Clearly, the 12 V lead-acid battery automotive system with its 3 kW power limit must be supplemented.

New IC Eases the Design of 48 V/12 V Dual Battery Automotive Systems TONY ARMSTRONG | Analog Devices

Introduction The future of 48 V/12 V battery systems in automobiles is just around the corner. Most of the major automobile manufacturers across the globe have been working on proving out their systems for the past few years and it is evident that their implementation will be relatively near term. This is a necessary and crucial step in the long and arduous journey to the fully autonomous passenger vehicle that does not require a human at the controls and has true autonomous driving. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean the 12 V battery is going away; there are far too many legacy systems in the installed vehicle base for this to occur. This means that autonomous cars will have both a 12 V battery and a 48 V battery. This fact means that the vehicles’ internal systems will either run off the 48 V lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery or the 12 V sealed lead-acid (SLA) battery—but not both. Nevertheless, in addition to having two separate charging circuits for these individual batteries due to their respective chemistries, there must also be a mechanism that allows charge to move between them without causing any damage to the

batteries or any of the systems within the vehicle. Moreover, having two batteries also allows for redundancy should one of them fail during operation. While this certainly complicates the design of the various electrical subsystems within the vehicles, there are some advantages to be gained. According to some auto manufacturers, a 48 V-based electric system results in a 10% to 15% gain in fuel economy for internal combustion engine vehicles, thereby reducing CO2 emissions. Moreover, future vehicles that use a dual 48 V/12 V system will enable engineers to integrate electrical booster technology that operates independently of the engine load, thereby improving acceleration performance. Such compressors are already in the advanced stages of development and will be placed between the induction system and the intercooler, using the 48 V rail to spin-up the turbos. Globally, fuel economy regulations have been tightening, while autonomous driving capability with connectivity continues to proliferate in new automobiles. Accordingly, the 12 V automobile electric system has reached its usable power limit. Simultaneously, as if these changes

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Furthermore, there are new automobile standards that impact how these systems need to work. A newly proposed automotive standard, known as LV 148, combines a secondary 48 V bus with the existing automotive 12 V system. The 48 V rail includes an integrated starter generator (ISG) or belt start generator, a 48 V Li-Ion battery, and a bidirectional dc-to-dc converter, which can deliver tens of kilowatts of available energy from the 48 V and 12 V batteries. This technology is targeted at conventional, internal combustion automobiles, as well as hybrid electric and mild hybrid vehicles, as auto manufacturers strive to meet increasingly stringent CO2 emission targets.

New Power Solution for 48 V/12 V Battery Systems This new standard requires the 12 V bus to continuously power the ignition, lighting, infotainment, and audio systems. Whereas, the 48 V bus will power active chassis systems, air conditioning compressors, adjustable suspensions, electric superchargers, turbos, and even regenerative braking. The implementation of an additional 48 V supply network into vehicles is not without significant impact. Electronic control units (ECUs) will be affected and will need to adjust their operational range to the higher voltage. This will necessitate that manufacturers of dc-to-dc converters will also need to introduce specialized ICs to enable this high power transfer. Accordingly, Analog Devices’ Power by LinearTM (PbL) Group has designed and developed a few dc-to-dc converters that can enable this energy transfer with very high efficiency to conserve energy while simultaneously minimizing the thermal design aspects. The need for a bidirectional step-down and step-up dc-to-dc converter that goes between the 12 V and 48 V batteries is clearly required. Such converters could be used to charge either of the batteries while simultaneously allowing both batteries to supply current to the same load if required in the system. From a legacy perspective, these initial 48 V/12 V, dual battery, dc-todc converter designs used different power

Design components to step-up and step-down the voltage. However, ADI’s PbL group recently introduced the LT8228, a bidirectional dc-to-dc controller that uses the same external power components for step-up conversion as it does for step-down conversion. The LT8228, as shown in Figure 2, is a 100 V bidirectional constant-current or constant-voltage synchronous buck or boost controller with independent compensation networks. The direction of the power flow is automatically determined by the LT8228 or is externally controlled. The input and output protection MOSFETs protect against negative voltages, control inrush currents, and provide isolation between terminals under fault conditions such as switching MOSFET shorts. In step-down mode, the protection MOSFETs at the V1 terminal prevents reverse current. In step-up mode, the same MOSFETs regulate the output inrush current and protect themselves with an adjustable timer circuit breaker. Furthermore, the LT8228 offers a bidirectional input and output current limit as well as independent current monitoring. Masterless, fault-tolerant current sharing allows any LT8228 in parallel

To optimize transient response, the LT8228 has two error amplifiers: EA1 in boost mode and EA2 in buck mode with separate compensation pins VC1 and VC2, respectively. The controller operates in discontinuous conduction mode when reverse inductor current is detected for conditions such as light load operation. The LT8228 provides input and output current limit programming in buck and boost mode operation using four pins: ISET1P, ISET1N, ISET2P, and ISET2N. The controller also provides independent input and output current monitoring using the IMON1 and IMON2 pins. Current limit programming and monitoring is functional for the entire input and output voltage range of 0 V to 100 V. Furthermore, the LT8228 provides masterless, fault-tolerant output current sharing among multiple LT8228s in parallel, enabling higher load current, better heat management, and redundancy. Each LT8228 regulates to the average output current eliminating the need for a master controller. When an individual LT8228 is disabled or in a fault condition, it stops contributing to the average bus, making the current-sharing scheme fault tolerant.

Additional features include: • Feedback voltage tolerance: ±0.5% over temperature • Bidirectional programmable current regulation and monitoring • Extensive self-test, diagnostics, and fault reporting • Programmable fixed or synchronizable switching frequency: 80 kHz to 600 kHz • Programmable soft start and dynamic current limit • Masterless, fault-tolerant current sharing


Figure 1. Next-generation cars will be powered by a 12 V and a 48 V battery to be added or subtracted while maintaining current sharing accuracy. Internal and external fault diagnostics and reporting are available via the fault and report pins. The LT8228 uses a 38-lead TSSOP package. The LT8228 is a 100 V, bidirectional, peak current-mode synchronous controller with protection MOSFETs. The controller provides a step-down output voltage, V2, from an input voltage, V1, when in buck mode or a step-up output voltage, V1, from an input voltage, V2, when in boost mode. The input and output voltage can be set as high as 100 V. The mode of operation is externally controlled through the DRXN pin or automatically selected. In addition, the LT8228 has protection MOSFETs for the V1 and V2 terminals. The protection MOSFETs provide negative voltage protection, isolation between the input and output terminals during an internal or external fault, reverse current protection, and inrush current control. In applications such as battery backup systems, the bidirectional feature allows the battery to be charged from either a higher or lower voltage supply. When the supply is unavailable, the battery boosts or bucks power back to the supply.

The LT8228 brings a new level of performance, control, and simplification to 48 V/12 V, dual battery, dc-to-dc automotive systems by allowing the same external power components to be used for step-down and step-up purposes. It operates on demand in buck mode from the 48 V bus to the 12 V bus or in boost mode from 12 V to 48 V. When starting the car or when additional power is required, the LT8228 allows both batteries to supply energy simultaneously to the same load. This gives power conversion designers a feature rich, bidirectional converter that can easily configure 12 V and 48 V battery systems, which will be required for the fully autonomous vehicles of the near future.

Figure 2. LT8228 configured in a simplified, bidirectional battery backup system

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The approach of automotive industry in 2020 was largely subdued and nimble-footed as the issuance of trade restrictions brought a drastic slowdown in all major sectors. Amid the doldrums of the pandemic, harnessing a digital business model and focus on financial health greatly enabled automobile companies to continually persevere and push forward. Despite endless hurdles faced last year, some green shoots appeared toward the second quarter as demands briefly resurfaced during festive seasons. Domestic retail vehicle sales across categories grew for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, as a double-digit growth was achieved in the sale of passenger vehicles (PV) and two-wheelers, posing to be a good omen for the New Year. While industry experts continue to be cautiously optimistic, recent projections from Indian Independent and Professional Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency (ICRA) show that the domestic auto component industry’s revenue may grow by 16-18 per cent in the subsequent financial year. There have also been speculations that demands may revert to the 2019 levels, in case auto sales and production retain normalcy this year. With potential development of the COVID vaccine, in consort with a rising preference towards personal mobility, consumer sentiment may too tip in favour of the industry. Commenting on the industry and its leading exhibition in the automotive aftermarket, Raj

Localisation is the key to a resilient Indian AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY Gearing up for the new edition of the trade fair in New Delhi, organisers of ACMA Automechanika – Messe Frankfurt India and The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) share their insights on the need for deep localisation of auto component manufacturing and the role of the recently announced union budget in promoting this objective. Manek, Executive Director and Board Member, Messe Frankfurt Asia Holdings Ltd., shares: “It is very vital to provide a push to local manufacturers to bolster the domestic supply chain and strengthen the automotive industry from its very core.” With world’s leading electric car company setting up its base in India, it will be just a matter of time before the first fleet of electric cars arrive in India. “Thus, a more resolute approach towards e-mobility by OEMs will largely benefit in the long term.”, adds Manek. “Going forward, the focus of our automotive trade fairs will not just be aimed at creat-

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Automotive ing a safe and healthy atmosphere for channel players to promote their businesses but also enabling them to develop collectively as one integrated industry.”, concludes Manek. Vinnie Mehta, Director General – Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) also shares his views on the upcoming edition of ACMA Automechanika, “The excitement is mounting as the biennial ACMA Automechanika New Delhi, the flagship Aftermarket Expo, draws closer. To be organised jointly by ACMA and Messe Frankfurt, the event is being held at an opportune time as the automotive market gains momentum post the pandemic hiatus. The expo, probably, the first of its kind in the ‘real world’ since the lockdown, will be a ‘HYBRID’ one. Bridging the best of a physical and online exhibition, the one-stop sourcing platform will provide a preview of the latest aftermarket innovations and a sneak-peek into shapes of things to come.” “With the automotive industry expected to recover fast and grow in double digits in most segments, the expo will be a booster shot to bring the industry back on track. It will also help consolidate India’s position as a major manufacturing hub for automotive components. Apart from a strong presence of domestic and international aftermarket product exhibitors, the popular business event will not only attract the domestic buyers but also the international OEMs and aftermarket distributors.” Mehta elaborates. The recently announced ‘Budget 2021’ puts a crucial focus on road

building, voluntary scrappage policy, R&D and PLI among others, auguring well for the automotive sector.

Boons of Union Budget 2021-22 for local auto component manufacturers The emphasis on “Atmanirbharta”, accompanied by an increase in custom duty on certain auto components will encourage local manufacturers to produce components within India. With an investment of INR 1.97 Trillion towards the production linked incentive scheme (PLI), the government will provide a strong impetus to localised manufacturing over next the 5 years, and the doubled budget outlay for the MSME segment will deliver stronger support to the auto component segment which is primarily dominated by MSMEs. The ‘voluntary scrapping policy’ announced by the government to boost the production of energy-efficient vehicles in India will not only lead to a reduction in vehicular pollution, but also generate new demands for the commercial and passenger vehicle segment, thus creating opportunities for OEMs and tyre manufacturers. With the auto industry on the path of recovery, government’s goal of achieving ‘Atmanirbharta’ will certainly be a vision to look up to, as deep localization would not only make the automotive industry globally competitive, but also more resilient in face of any future crisis.

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Rohde & Schwarz entering Source Measure Unit market with the New NGU Product Name: : NGU201, NGU401 Applications: T&M Tech Info: Rohde & Schwarz is launching new R&S NGU201 and R&S NGU401 SMUs that enables simultaneous sourcing and measuring of currents and voltages with high precision. The two-quadrant R&S

NGU201 addresses wireless device battery tests and automatically switches from source mode to sink mode at a defined positive input voltage. The four-quadrant R&S NGU401 can also switch at negative voltages, supporting source measurements for a vast range of power supply types. The steady extension of the Rohde & Schwarz portfolio of speciality power supplies continues with the first two models in the R&S NGU series of high-precision SMUs. The instruments’ innovative current feedback amplifier technology provides both maximum sensitivity and accuracy to reliably measure currents from nA to A in a single sweep. For more Information, visit

Anritsu upgrading ProductionLine inspection Efficiency for 5G Devices

The MT8872A is a measuring instrument for mass-production and is fully compatible with the MT8870A. Its small footprint supports use in narrower spaces than the standard 19” rack mount to save installation space on crowded production lines. Anritsu expects these new MU887002A and MT8872A solutions to improve mass-productivity on wireless communication device production lines by both saving space and cutting costs. For more Information, visit

Product Name: MU887002A, MT8872A Applications: Wireless Communications Tech Info: Anritsu Corporation is launching its TRX Test Module MU887002A for upgrading the production-line inspection efficiency for wireless communications devices, including 5G, and its space-saving Universal Wireless Test Set MT8872A.

Mouser stocking Ethernet Connectors from Phoenix Contact

Product Name: SPE connectors Applications: Ethernet Communications Tech Info: Mouser Electronics, Inc. now stocking single pair Ethernet (SPE) connectors from Phoenix Contact. The SPE connectors offer parallel, the high-performance transmission of data and power via Ethernet through a single double wire and power over data line (PoDL). SPE connectors enable uniform, Ethernet-based communication from the sensor to the cloud and feature key technology for Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This new network technology makes consistent IP communication and power supply possible, even within complex industrial applications or in IoT solutions. The series offers flexibility with ranges of up to 1,000 meters and data transmission rates of up to 1 Gbps. Following the trend of resource-conserving, miniaturized devices, SPE offers more space for electronics, thanks to space-saving cables. For more information,

With 24 RF connectors, the newly developed TRX Test Module MU887002A is a TRX module for installing in both the MT8870A and MT8872A. It supports 5G Sub-6 GHz New Radio (NR) RF tests as well as various other simultaneous wireless communications tests, including WLAN, Bluetooth, GNSS, etc. As a result, it greatly upgrades the inspection efficiency of production lines for wireless communications devices.


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ROHM releasing 5th Gen P-channel MOSFETs that Delivers ClassLeading Low ON Resistance

voltage P-channel MOSFETs available in both single and dual configurations– ideal for industrial and consumer applications such as factory automation, robotics, and air conditioning systems. ROHM developed low ON resistance -40V/-60V P-channel MOSFETs compatible with 24V input utilizing advanced 5th gen refined process. Based on ROHM’s market-proven P-channel MOSFET structure, these new products leverage refined process technology to achieve the lowest ON resistance per unit area in their class. This translates to 62% lower ON resistance vs. conventional products for -40V new products and 52% for the -60V new products. In addition to these 5th gen P-channel MOSFETs, to strengthen their lineup for 5G base stations and data center servers, where demand is growing, they are developing higher efficiency N-channel MOSFETs.

Product Name: P-Channel Applications: MOSFET

For more information, visit www.rohm. com

Tech Info: ROHM is releasing a 24-model line-up of 24V input, -40V/-60V withstand

Renesas updating R-Car V3H with Deep Learning Performance

cameras, surround view, and auto parking for high-volume vehicles up to Level 2+. The updated SoC combines sensor fusion on the real-time domain with up to ASIL C metrics and an architecture optimized for smart computer vision. It offers OEMs and Tier 1s a high-performance, low-power solution that supports the latest NCAP 2020 requirements as well as the roadmap to NCAP 2025 3 Stars at competitive system costs. For more information, visit

Analog Devices presenting Condition-Based Monitoring Development Platform

Product Name: CN0549 Applications: Monitoring Development Platform Tech Info: Analog Devices, Inc. is introducing complete condition-based monitoring (CbM) development platform designed to help accelerate condition monitoring hardware, software, and algorithm development. CN0549 provides mechanically secure, wide bandwidth sensor data with robust, high fidelity data acquisition. The development platform’s open-source software interfaces simplify connectivity from embedded systems to popular data analysis tools, such as MATLAB and Python. CN0549 enables real-time vibration data processing to accelerate the development of machine learning algorithms for predictive maintenance services. The flexibility of this platform allows engineers of all disciplines to accelerate their condition monitoring developments and significantly reduce development costs and risk with CN0549. For more information, visit

Product Name: R-Car V3H SoC Applications: Smart Camera Tech Info: Renesas Electronics Corporation is updating its state-of-the-art R-Car V3H system-on-chip (SoC) to deliver significantly improved deep learning performance for smart camera applications, including driver and occupant monitoring systems (DMS / OMS), automotive front

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ST introducing STM32WL5x, First Wireless MCU with Embedded MultiModulation LoRa Radio Product Name: :STM32WL Applications: CU with an embedded LoRa Tech Info: ST is now unveiling STM32WL5x, a dual-core version of the STM32WL, the first wireless MCU with an embedded Multi-Modulation Radio (LoRa, (G) FSK, (G)

Infineon Technologies launching 650 V CoolSiC Hybrid IGBT discrete family

MSK, and BPSK). The new models offer a Cortex-M0+ and a Cortex-M4 core for greater flexibility and security. The latest version of STM32CubeWL includes application examples for this new Nucleo board to hasten developments. For instance, they provide a reference template to help build software that takes advantage of the two cores.

storage solutions, photovoltaic inverters, uninterruptable power supplies (UPS), as well as server and telecom switchedmode-power supplies (SMPS). Due to a freewheeling SiC Schottky barrier diode co-packed with an IGBT, the CoolSiC Hybrid IGBTs perform with significantly reduced switching losses at almost unchanged DV/DT and DI/DT values. They offer up to 60 percent reduction of Eon and a 30 percent reduction of Eoff compared to a standard silicon diode solution.

Applications: Power converter Tech Info: Infineon Technologies AG is launching a 650 V CoolSiC Hybrid IGBT portfolio in a discrete package with 650 V blocking voltage. The CoolSiC hybrid product family combines key benefits of the 650 V TRENCHSTOP™ 5 IGBT technology and the unipolar structure of co-packed Schottky barrier CoolSiC diodes.

For more information, visit

Additionally, STM32CubeMX received an update enabling the configuration of the LoRaWAN and Sigfox stacks straight from the utility. They also offer demonstration programs that can send sensor data to a gateway or “Concentrator.” Since seeing is believing, a demo application running on this Nucleo board is the fastest way to show why the dual-core version of the STM32WL

More information is available at

Product Name: CoolSiC hybrid IGBT

brings greater flexibility and security to projects.

Microchip unveiling First Fully Integrated Solution for Vehicle Ethernet Audio Video Bridging

Product Name: LAN9360 Applications: Ethernet controller Tech Info: Microchip Technology Inc. announced the first hardware-based audio endpoint solution for AVB – the LAN9360, a single chip Ethernet controller with embedded protocols. Microchip’s LAN9360 audio endpoint controller interconnects vehicles’ infotainment devices including speakers, amplifiers, microphones, navigation systems, radio tuners and smart headrests with Ethernet AVB. The LAN9360 bridges audio between Ethernet AVB and Inter-IC Sound, Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) and Pulse Density Modulation (PDM) local audio interfaces. It completely supports audio transmission over Ethernet AVB, including generalized Precision Time Protocol gPTP, time stamping, transport protocols and content protection with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). It also supports secure boot and secures remote updates over Ethernet. For more information, visit

With superior switching frequencies and reduced switching losses, the devices are especially suited for DC-DC power converters and power factor correction (PFC). These can typically be found in applications like battery charging infrastructure, energy

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