Maxim Enters the Digital Power Market With Patented InTune DC-DC Control Technology

February 23, 2011 by Jeff Shepard

Maxim Integrated Products announced its entry into the fast-growing digital power market with its patented InTune™ brand digital power technology; it is based on "state-space" or "model-predictive" control rather than proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control used by competitors.

Maxim’s InTune digital power technology performs an automatic compensation routine that is based on measured parameters, which enables the construction of an internal mathematical model of the power supply including the external components. The result is a switching power supply that achieves the highest possible dynamic performance while guaranteeing stability. Furthermore, this information enables several proprietary algorithms that optimize efficiency across a wide range of operating conditions. Maxim’s InTune digital power technology requires up to 5x lower bias current than competing devices, further improving overall efficiency for applications such as networking, telecom, and servers.

"Unlike competing technology, Maxim’s InTune digital power technology is not an iterative tuning technique. It is deterministic and resolves several limitations present in today’s digital power solutions," said Jim Templeton, Director of Business Management, leading Maxim’s digital power effort. "Unlike PID-based solutions, the loop used by Maxim’s InTune digital power technology provides seamless small- and large-signal response without the need to cross back and forth between linear and nonlinear modes. This enables loop response up to 10x faster than competitors and does not require any user-set thresholds. In fact, the PWM controllers used by Maxim’s InTune digital power technology are even faster than their analog equivalents."

In addition to internal R&D efforts, the company has made a key acquisition of a digital power R&D firm and notable university intellectual property. The company also recently licensed digital power technology "DPT" patents from Power-One, Inc. Using its new technology and acquisitions, Maxim plans to leverage its position as a top supplier of power-management and control ICs to become the number one supplier of digital power solutions.

"Maxim’s InTune digital power technology represents the next-generation of digital power," said Wei Tang, Director of R&D at Delta Electronics, Inc. "By providing the best transient response over all operating conditions and enhanced efficiency modes, Maxim’s InTune digital power technology allows us to enable new features, flexibility, and enhanced performance for our power supply customers."

Maxim is building a complete family of digital power products to complement its full offering of analog power ICs. The first chips using Maxim’s InTune digital power technology are currently sampling with partner customers; individual product announcements will follow in the coming months.