What’s Hot? Try A New Capacitor Technology, Isolation Transformers, And Displays

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The fruit of a two-year research & development project, a unique and revolutionary capacitor technology from Electronic Concepts promises the highest level of protection against capacitor failure in catastrophic conditions. Known as Fuseac, the patent-pending technology addresses overheating concerns for metallized dry film capacitors in ac applications. In situations posing the threat of failure, Fuseac intuitively detects capacitor hot spots and disconnects the component when temperatures reach a critical value. Metallized film capacitors are fairly reliable on their own accord due to their self-healing capabilities. Yet too many selfhealing cycles create overheating runaway conditions, particularly in non-monitored circuits. The capacitors then fail, usually resulting in severe damage. As Fuseac intervenes when things get too hot, the capacitors do not have to heal themselves very often.

Displays go public and private

NEC LCD Technologies of Japan had a breakthrough with the development of its color TFT-LCD module, in which the viewing angle is switchable from wide to narrow to accommodate content and the particular application.

Paired with the company’s TFT-LCD (VIT) technology, the display integrates a viewangle switching control on the polarizer next to the backlight system. The control allows light from the backlight to be switched from a diffused to a straight pattern via control signals.

With the mass proliferation of ATMs, ticketing machines, automatic processing equipment, and public-information displays, the versatile LCD addresses two concerns: security and high visibility. In the case of ATMs where privacy is required, setting a narrow view angle will thwart prying eyes. For publicinfo consoles, the wider angle allows everyone to see.

Component market trends
According to Frost & Sullivan, the demand for isolation transformers will grow due to the vast global expansion of commercial and industrial infrastructure. Commercial and medical transformers also will see significant demand, particularly in the U.S.

This analysis is based on growth in the construction industry and emerging energy-efficiency specifications from UL, the CSA, and NEMA. Ongoing commercial and industrial development in Asia is fueling the demand for the components as well. The analysts concur that the isolation-transformer market earned revenues of $641 million in 2006 with a growth rate of 1.7%. This upswing, though, is not without concerns. “Given the simple construction of the product and lack of significant technology innovation or product differentiation, isolation transformers are considered a commodity,” says research analyst Ajay Kumar Sridharan. “In this situation, emphasis on competitive prices will be a unique selling point for vendors.”

The generic nature of the components, paired with increasing prices and a lack of raw materials, creates price pressure on vendors. Also, the replacement of isolation transformers with double-conversion technology in uninterruptible power supplies could have a reverse effect on market demand.

The researchers say vendors should use aluminum to replace copper to address materials shortages. Vendors also should target growing application markets and regions that offer a potential for business development, i.e., focusing on the Asian market.

Who's hot in displays
Research firm DisplaySearch recently released its Quarterly North America Industrial Report, debuting as the industry’s first report covering display shipment data from overseas manufacturers and distributors to industrial manufacturers in North America. The report covers shipments for six display manufacturers to their OEMs and distributors as well as shipments for four distributors. Applications include industrial, industrial mobile, information, instrumentation, kiosk, and medical displays. Sharp was the leading display manufacturer in the industrial display category with a 54.5% market share, followed by NEC and Optrex America (see the table). For distributor shipments, Avnet came in first with a 44.5% market share, with Bell Microproducts and Dynamic Image Technologies as runners up.

Meanwhile, Insight Media analysts attending the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) trade show last September in Japan came back with a look at emerging trends in the home-theater markets. Attendees believed 1080p displays are the dominant market force in flat-panel displays, while some saw more growth left for 720p products. There’s also lukewarm interest for 120-Hz or extended color gamut technologies.
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