Sanken Electric & Vicor To Bring Thin, Efficient Power System To Consumer Markets

June 11, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

Vicor Corp. announced that Sanken Electric Co. and Vicor have entered into a non-exclusive license agreement to commercialize Vicor’s V-I Chip technology for consumer markets, including the flat-panel television market.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sanken will design, manufacture, and market products based on Vicor’s V-I Chip technology. Sanken, Polar Semiconductor, Inc. (PSI) (a Sanken subsidiary), Vicor, V-I Chip Corp. (a Vicor subsidiary), Picor Corp. (a Vicor subsidiary), and Great Wall Semiconductor Corp. are parties to the agreement.

The first product to result from this collaboration is a complete 300W ac-dc power system for flat-panel TVs. According to the companies, this high efficiency power system is very thin, measuring only 10mm in height, and features a footprint that is four times smaller than competitive products. This power system capability will allow Sanken and Vicor to enable the next wave of ultra-thin, large format, flat-panel TVs. Ultra-thin TVs should become available to consumers in the spring of 2009.

"Sanken Electric has been a leader in power supply solutions for the flat-panel TV industry for many years," said Sadatoshi Iijima, President of Sanken Electric. "Vicor’s Factorized Power Architecture™ and its V-I Chip™ building blocks have reset the state-of-the-art in power system density, efficiency, and flexibility. By partnering with Vicor, Sanken gains access to proprietary power conversion technology which we can use to serve our many customers in this important market space."

"Sanken Electric is an expert manufacturer of power components with a tradition of excellence in automated manufacturing of cost-effective products for consumer electronics applications," said Patrizio Vinciarelli, CEO of Vicor. "Sanken is very well connected in Asia, and is committed to serving large customers in consumer markets with world-class technology, high volume manufacturing, and an integrated supply chain. Sanken is a great partner to penetrate the flat-panel display market with V-I Chips."

As part of the ongoing partnership, Sanken Electric and V-I Chip have agreed to enter into a Mutual Second Source Agreement to supply each other with V-I Chips manufactured in their respective facilities. Sanken will transfer V-I Chip assembly technology to its Ishikawa facility, where Sanken’s first automated V-I Chip manufacturing line will be installed. Mutual second sourcing gives Sanken and V-I Chip a global presence that will facilitate adoption of V-I Chips in flat-panel displays and accelerate penetration of other markets, including Blade Computing and Automated Test Equipment. "Industry pioneers and early adopters that have embraced V-I Chips and Factorized Power to enable higher performance servers and test equipment will be able to source V-I Chips from factories in the US and Japan," noted Vinciarelli.

Under the partnership, Sanken’s subsidiary PSI will continue to supply silicon wafers and advanced BCD technology to Picor, a Vicor subsidiary specializing in high performance ASICs, power management and low power products. In addition, Sanken, PSI, V-I Chip, and Picor will collaborate on advanced ASICs and systems for next generation power products. "PSI is primarily focused on high quality, low cost wafer manufacturing for the Sanken Group," said Zen Suzuki, CEO of PSI. "However, PSI is also an Advanced IC and Power Design Center for Sanken. Sanken and PSI will collaborate with Picor and V-I Chip to enable innovative ASICs and power products for our customers."