2013 Electronics teamwork

Friday 22nd February 2013
Teamwork:courtesy Zazzle.

Teamwork in both hard and soft electronics seems to be becoming a win:win order of the day. Several releases recently show the tendency. ARM link up with STM, MATLAB and Simulink shows joined-up thinking. Agilent with growing demand for built in self test (BIST) is working with Wilder Technologies on the Energy Efficiency Ethernet specs, and Infineon and Henkel have in a strong joint Thermal Interface Materials development.

ARM and STMicroelectronics  were the biggest complex for the first ever Embedded Coder support,together with MATLAB and Simulink, for the ARM Cortex M processor-based systems.

The joint project between ST and ARM is fully supported by MathWorks and enables software developers to create their algorithms in MATLAB and Simulink and then target, integrate, debug and test those models in a Processor In the Loop (PIL) simulation.

The generated C code from Embedded Coder runs on an STM32 Evaluation Board and the debugger of the Keil  Microcontroller Development Kit (MDK-ARM) interfaces directly with Simulink, further simplifying the code integration.

"Based on strong customer demand for MATLAB and Simulink support, ST aggressively developed thecapabilities to go beyond pure Cortex-M processor support by creating additional peripheral blocks, further simplifying the PIL process," said (right) Michel Buffa, GM Microcontroller division, STMicroelectronics. "Moreover, enabling DSP-standard tools to run on our Cortex-M processor-based STM32 products helps our customers address a broader spectrum of opportunities."

"This initiative enables developers to easily and efficiently develop and explore numerous models before generating optimized code for their Cortex processor-based projects," said (left) Richard York, director of Embedded Systems Marketing, ARM. "The combination of MATLAB and Simulink, and the Keil MDK-ARM brings together two of the best software development toolchains.  This is good news for developers as it will enable them to accelerate the time to market for innovative Cortex processor-based systems and products."

"MathWorks is pleased to have worked with ARM and ST to put in place the first Embedded Coder code generation support for Cortex-M processor-based systems and the Keil MDK-ARM," said Paul Barnard, design automation marketing director, MathWorks."This is a very important first step in providing a smooth design flow for engineers using Model-Based Design with MATLAB and Simulink to develop highly optimized Cortex-M processor-based systems."

AGILENT test and analysis

Agilent which recently launched it  x1149 boundary scan analyser is a PCB  tester in compliance with the IEEE  1149.1 Standard test access port  (TAP) and boundary scan architecture.The Agilent x1149 boundary scan analyzer is a printed circuit board tester in compliance with the IEEE 1149 1 Standard test access port (TAP) and boundary scan architecture  and aimed to meet customer demand for Built In Self-Test . The Agilent x1149 offers an easy  to use software interface for development, debug and  production runtime.

It  also introduced compliance testing support for Energy-Efficient Ethernet (EEE) standards used in networking applications. It's  approach for transmitter tests includes 10BASE-T, 100BASE-T and
1000 BASE-T EEE test standards as in the IEEE 802.3az-2010 specification.

Growing consumer demand for built in self test (BIST) energy-saving network devices has driven the need for more network testing. EEE technology allows devices such as routers, switches and servers to conserve energy by limiting the power of the network PHY transmitter.

The Agilent N5392B Energy-Efficient Ethernet compliance application provides an automated test script that allows engineers to quickly and reliably test EEE signals. The compliance application can be automated to run over extended periods, and it allows engineers to add incremental user-defined tests. Agilent partner Wilder Technologies  specialised in high-signal-integrity test fixtures, provides an EEE test fixture that can be used with Agilent's EEE compliance application.

Thermal Interface Material team

A  team that has resulted from power electronics  experieincing a continuous rise in power densities is one involved in thermal management for power semiconductors thatmust be integrated early iin their design phase. Only then can reliable cooling be safeguarded over the long term.

A particularly important role is assigned to thermal conduction at the link between the component and the heat sink. In these cases, materials are often used that cannot meet the growing requirements. In search of a remedy, Infineon Technologies AG has incorporated a Thermal Interface Material (TIM) from Henkel Electronic Materials to now make available a heat conducting compound optimized specifically for the architecture of power semiconductors in modules.

TIM  greatly reduces contact resistance between the metal areas on the power semiconductor and the heat sink. On the EconoPACK+ of the new D Series, the contact resistance between the module and heat sink drops by 20%.  With a high filler content, the material reliably applies its improved properties of thermal contact resistance from the first moment the module is switched on.

There is no need for a separate burn in cycle usual on many comparable materials with phase change properties. 

The development of the new heat conducting material focused on ease of processing in the form of honeycombs stencil-printed on modules. This prevents air from becoming trapped in the link to the heat sink. Also, the heat conducting material does not contain any substances harmful to health, meeting the requirements under the Directive 2002/95/EC (RoHS).

In addition, the TIM is free of silicone and does not conduct electricity. 

“With this Henkel TIM, we have the best silicone-free solution for the growing requirements in the thermal management of power semiconductors at our disposal,” claims (above left) Dr Martin Schulz, responsible manager for the qualification at the Application Engineering of Infineon Technologies AG.


“The development of LOCTITE TCP 7000 is a major step forward for high power, high temperature thermal management,” explains (right) Henkel’s Jason Brandi, market development manager. “A printable, phase change TIM with such robust thermal cycling performance is indeed a breakthrough, overcoming the limitations of alternative materials and pioneering a brand new solution for power module thermal management.”

Both companies are now planning to deepen their cooperation in the development of new materials and to extend this to new projects.

Looks like electronics has discovered its win-win formulae.

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