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POWER SUPPLY TRENDS. DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY: QS40/QT40
|I have been involved in the switched power supply market for 17 years and our company, which is 37 years old, has been operating in this sector for some 29 years now. When I look back to consider the changes that have occurred in power supplies it seems to me that things have not advanced at a great rate. Obviously, the products have become more efficient, smaller, and the manufacturing components have changed to meet the ROHS and REACH contaminating substance standards. Also, some products for the consumer market have improved their ERP efficiency and their no-load consumption. The number of different brands, power levels, and outputs has increased, but in many cases what we currently find on the market is quite similar to what there was 20 years ago.|
If we reflect on what is most important for power supplies the first thing that comes to mind is efficiency. This determines the heat that our system will generate, which affects the reliability not just of the power supply per se, but also of all the surrounding elements. It will also determine energy use, which is currently highly important if we want to avoid unnecessary costs for the end customer and also to ensure lower C02 emissions into the atmosphere. Manufacturers often indicate efficiency under the best possible conditions - which are normally at a load level of around 100% and do not match normal working conditions. Few manufacturers are really committed to producing efficient products for real-life uses, that is, for the entire range of power outputs.
Clearly that is not all, there are many other points worth considering in relation to power supplies – obviously reliability is one of the key factors, but that is not only determined by efficiency, it also depends on the choice of components, the design, and also the highly important manufacturing process. Given that this is an emerging market, over the last few years many brands have appeared offering clones of more well-known products, which at least on paper, present characteristics similar to the existing brands. Most customers do not verify datasheet information due to a lack of time or resources, which can result in substandard products being sold in a deceptive manner. Most importantly of all, we should take into account the know-how used in the manufacturing and design process. The most significant percentage of power supply costs corresponds to the components used, but also to quality control. Checking all of the manufactured products in burn-off chambers under different operating conditions (voltage, input frequency, load level and temperature), performing quality control checks on the hundreds of components used in power supplies, and verifying a series of different electrical parameters during the manufacturing process, is by far the greatest cost related to power supplies. We only work with manufacturers of recognised prestige who are technological and sales leaders. In addition, the majority of our manufacturers are private companies that are striving to become the unique market leaders, thus allowing them to work with smaller margins. When we see new competitors on the market with products that are theoretically similar to ours, at prices which often drastically undercut our own, the warning bells begin to ring. Over the years there is one thing we have come to realise: in such cases something is clearly amiss. That is why those customers who take a chance on these new options always end up coming back to us quite quickly, after having suffered quality, service and reliability problems with our competitors. If we also realise that many brands are not even manufacturers, and merely re-label the products, then an additional profit margin is involved and even less control of the production process.
|We also have to consider the continuity of the product in the market. There are brands that have changed their products 7 times over the last 10 years with past products no longer being sold. This results in new costs for customers for the certification and validation of the product. That is why I firmly believe that it is essential that we deal directly with real manufacturers and not with middle-men that merely re-label products.|
|Specifically, on this occasion we wish to make special mention of our PULS representative GMBH. This is a German company, and its owner and R&D director, Mr. Bernhard Erdl, has been making Din rack switched power supplies since 1978, and it is still the unrivalled technological leader in the sector. They have always set the market standards, to the point where even the rounded front of their power supplies, admittedly only a merely aesthetic point, has been copied by most of their competitors. As an example of the lack of progress made by our competitors, we need look no further than the QT20.241 3-phases, 24Vdc, 20 Amp model which entered the market in 2005 with a width of just 60 mm, as opposed to the products of the immediate competitors which were 160 mm wide. Even now, almost 7 years later, no other competitor has brought out such a compact product, nor have they managed to equal our 95% efficiency rate, the more than 8 years of expected lifetime, and an MTBF of more than one million hours. All of this, combined with the 2 most modern factories in the world of power supply manufacturing, with the maximum possible quality controls, including optical inspection via artificial vision, make this the most reliable and efficient product on the market.|
Czech Republic Factory
|On the other hand we continue to make substantial improvements to our own products, with the QS40 and QT40 models especially worthy of mention. These 960 W monophase and 3-phases devices have 3 internal microprocessors that control the main functions of the power supply, from the switching frequency to regulation of output. We thus reduce the number of components by up to 60%, increasing the reliability of the product. The surge protection, built-in fuses and the ability to withstand 50% peaks (up to 1440W) over 4 seconds, plus the efficiency of up to 95.3% are all outstanding features of these models.|
A status and event system is included in these units, taking advantage of the presence of the microprocessors. We can determine the number of hours that they have been operating, the expected lifetime of the product calculated on the basis of hours of operation and the temperature recorded internally in the unit for temperature-sensitive components, the maximum 50 internal temperatures registered, the maximum 50 mains input voltage values registered, the serial number and firmware version, registered faults and activated protective measures, the number of input surges and the number of times the unit has shut down due to excess temperature. All of this information is of great use for the technical service team and to help evaluate the real functioning and reliability of the equipment. However, it can also be of great assistance to end users. It is often extremely difficult to determine the exact reason why a device fails. Was it due to a defective component or unsuitable operating conditions? Using this internal data-logger system we can help determine the reason why the equipment failed and thus take steps to prevent this occurring in the future.
Even though, as I mentioned before, it may seem that the changes in the power supply market have not been very significant over the last few years, we are continuing to introduce new items and features which set the pace for the market, which over time will help us to have more efficient, ecological, user-friendly and safer products. One of the new products that we are about to launch is a 960W monophase power source with bridgeless rectification of the input voltage. This rectification is performed using transistors, thus resulting in greater efficiency.
|We hope that other new advances will also provide real improvements for these products, allowing us to offer better power sources for the market, thus helping us to preserve the environment, and facilitate parallel use possibilities, redundancy, and generally improve the reliability of the products.|
Do not hesitate to contact our sales department to consult prices and availability.