New Industry Products

Roundup: 3 New Inductors Boost Efficiency in Power Converters

May 25, 2024 by Aaron Carman

This roundup spotlights new inductors designed to reduce sources of inefficiency in modern power supplies.

Three companies—Würth Elektronik, Vishay Intertechnology, and ITG Electronics—have released inductors to improve power converter performance and efficiency. These devices enhance thermal performance, power handling capabilities, and spatial efficiency.

While some designers may not use inductors regularly, they play a critical role in many systems. Compared to AC systems, DC-DC converters rely heavily on inductors to accomplish power conversion in low- and high-voltage systems. 

 

Each type of DC/DC converter leverages inductors

Each type of DC-DC converter leverages inductors, highlighting the critical role they play in modern power supplies. Image used courtesy of All About Circuits

 

Würth Elektronik: High-Temperature Inductors

First, Würth Elektronik revealed new high-temperature (HT) inductors. Würth has added these inductors to the WE-MAPI and WE-LHMI families. The company has tested them to reduce the effects of thermal aging and improve long-term performance in harsh environments.

 

Würth Elektronik’s HT inductors

Würth Elektronik’s HT inductors show no thermal aging effects, allowing designers to use them in high-temperature environments without worrying about degrading performance. Image used courtesy of Würth Elektronik
 

As iron-core inductors' temperature increases, the core itself begins to degrade. This, in turn, increases core losses and makes the thermal problem even worse. In environments that regularly reach high temperatures, such as high-current DC-DC converters, the effects of thermal aging can rapidly reduce the inductor's performance.

Würth Elektronik says its HT inductors do not suffer from thermal aging, consequently improving performance. The devices are qualified up to 150°C and have been tested for >1,000 hours at 200°C for thermal aging. 

 

Vishay: High-Current, Low-Profile Inductors

Vishay Intertechnology has introduced a series of high-current, low-profile inductors for the automotive industry. As EV and SDV technology advances, OEMs strive to improve the efficiency and power handling capabilities of modern vehicles. Vishay’s newest inductors may enable such capabilities with the higher current they afford.

 

Vishay’s IHDF-1300AE family

Vishay’s IHDF-1300AE family offers an extremely low profile, allowing designers to use them in more applications where high current is needed but space is constrained. Image used courtesy of Vishay
 

The inductors offer up to 500 VDC operating voltage and a 1.1 mΩ maximum series resistance. Compared to previous generations, the IHDF-1300AE-1A offers a 75% higher rated current, allowing designers to use the inductors in more applications requiring higher power tolerance. In addition, the family reports a low profile of 15.4 mm, allowing the inductor to be used in applications where space comes at a premium.

The IHDF-1300AE family is AEC-Q200-qualified. Vishay has targeted high-current, high-temperature systems such as onboard EV chargers as primary applications, but designers can use the series in many cases where they need a low-profile, high-current inductor.

 

ITG Electronics: PFC Chokes

Finally, ITG Electronics has revealed a line of PFC chokes that can be used in power-factor correction (PFC) boost converters. Despite the popularity of DC-DC converters, AC is still used heavily for power transmission. Designers often leverage PFC converters to minimize the amount of reactive power in their devices.

PFC converters work similarly to boost converters and allow designers to maximize the system's efficiency by ensuring the current is drawn in phase with the input voltage. This ultimately creates a more efficient power supply, which is critical for high-power applications.

 

ITG Electronics’ new PFC correction choke

ITG Electronics’ new PFC correction choke offers high voltage and high power-handling abilities, allowing designers to increase the maximum power of their PFC converters. Image used courtesy of ITG Electronics
 

The PFC28282X series is suitable for 500 W–1000 W continuous conduction mode converter applications and is available in a 27.5 mm × 20 mm package. ITG also offers 2000 W offerings in a wider package (28.5 mm). These high power tolerances allow designers to incorporate them in their newest power supplies and help to enable the continued push toward higher-power DC-DC converters.

 

A Group Effort Toward Higher Power

Though inductors may not be the first component to come to mind when thinking about components moving the technological needle, they play a critical role in enabling higher-efficiency systems. With more power-dense systems proliferating, the efficiency and performance of modern inductors will be crucial in supporting the next generation of power supplies.