Electronica 2016, which took place Nov. 8-11 at the Munich Trade Fair Centre, lived up to its billing as one of the world's leading trade shows for electronic components, systems and applications. There were approximately 73,000 visitors in attendance and a total of 2,913 companies from more than 50 countries presenting their solutions throughout the venue’s 14 halls.

One of the most anticipated elements of every Electronica is the show's CEO Round Table, which this year addressed the theme (and the show’s motto) “Connected Worlds—Safe and Sound.” Participants were (alphabetically):

• Stefan Auerbach, Giesecke + Devrient, Member of the Management Board and Group Executive Mobile Security
• Carlo Bozotti, President & CEO, STMicroelectronics
• Rick Clemmer, President & CEO, NXP
• Prof. Frank H. P. Fitzek, TU Dresden, Deutsche Telekom Chair of Communication Networks
• Dr. Reinhard Ploss, CEO, Infineon Technologies

German TV host Kilian Reichert was the moderator.

During the discussion NXP’s Clemmer pointed out that while there was great opportunity for connected vehicles to assist drivers and enhance safety most of the applications being developed will not have their primary use in a fully autonomous car. He noted that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s adoption of the Society of Automotive Engineers' four levels for automated driving systems, ranging from complete driver control to full autonomy, only the last level incorporates truly autonomous driving. Clemmer also reminded the audience that we are now on a level where technology no longer plays the main role. “Applications and solutions are now in the foreground” he said.

STMicroelectronics chief Bozotti agreed, saying “Digitalization is no longer the focus, but (rather it is) the convergence of technology.” Bozotti spoke to the opportunity presented by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT, known as Industry 4.0 in Europe and as China 2025 in China). Moving from centralized control of manufacturing facilities to a more modular and flexible distributed control strategy including a large network of sensors as well as global connectivity through Cloud computing will result in a very large increase in cost efficiency, he said.

Prof. Fitzek characterized end-to-end security and centralized security approaches as “dead” and said that going forward, from a security standpoint, it will be necessary not just for individual devices to resist attack but that the networks these devices are attached to must be able to detect an attack more quickly than they can today. He believes software defined networks will enable that possibility.

Infineon’s Ploss emphasized that individual devices still must be protected and vigilant. And safety precautions must be provided on the chip. "If a car is hacked”, he said,” the network cannot help anymore.” Security must be built into each layer of the network right from the beginning, he added.

On the Show Floor

Following is a sampling of what was new, notable, and of interest to engineers (in no particular order):

Passive components from Vishay included a wide variety of the company’s latest capacitors, resistors, and inductors. Highlighted resistors included the Vishay Dale WSK1216 Power Metal Strip resistor for automotive electronic controls. Offering a power rating of 3W in the compact 1216 case size, the device delivers a 260 W/in2 power density to save board space. Vishay also conducted demonstrations of the pulse load capability of MELF resistors compared with thin and thick film chip devices; the safety functionality of the HCTF235 thermal fuse; the advantages of water-sealed, ultra-flat potentiometer membranes and the TCR performance of Power Metal Strip resistors compared with other technologies.

Highlighted capacitors included the T59 series of vPolyTan multi-anode solid tantalum chip capacitors. Combining polymer tantalum technology with Vishay’s multi-array packaging (MAP), the capacitors are said to offer up to 25% better volumetric efficiency than similar devices, which allows for the industry’s highest capacitance density. Vishay also demonstrated the Vishay BC Components’ 220 EDLC ENYCAP series of electrical double-layer energy storage capacitors and showed the ripple current handling of the T25 surface-mount resistors compared with axial devices. The company also demo’d the ESD handling capability of the Vishay Vitramon Automotive Grade X7R multi-layer ceramic chip (MLCC) capacitors.

For increased efficiency in telecom, industrial, and enterprise applications, the new SiHP065N60E fourth-generation 600 V E Series power MOSFET from Vishay Siliconix slashes on-resistance by 27 % compared with previous devices and delivers 60 % lower gate charge, according to the company. Vishay Siliconix also demonstrated the power density and switching characteristics of its PowerPAK 8x8L package and the ruggedness of its SiRA90DP 30 V TrenchFET MOSFET in the PowerPAK SO-8, with real-time temperature rise comparisons between 5 mm by 6 mm package types.

TDK Corporation introduced what they said were the first aluminum electrolytic capacitors specified for 60 g in accordance with IEC 60068-2-6. The new generation offers the highest vibration strength and the best electrical performance in a single component, according to TDK. The EPCOS capacitors are available in three terminal designs (axial-lead, soldering star and double plated) with dimensions of 16 mm x 25 mm to 18 mm x 39 mm (d x l). They cover capacitance values of between 270 µF and 5800 µF and the voltage range from 25 V to 100 V. In addition, all 60 g types feature a high maximum operating temperature of up to 150 °C and are qualified to AEC-Q200.

TDK uses the axial design to achieve maximum vibration strength. Axial capacitors have design-related benefits over the frequently used single-ended design: Flexible connecting tabs between the welding points and the foils prevent direct transmission of vibrations to the terminals. In addition, the winding is firmly clamped by the can by means of both axial and radial fixation forces. The winding is fixed in the radial direction by means of a ring-shaped compression corrugation in the middle of the aluminum can. Typical applications for the new EPCOS capacitors are DC-DC converters and motor inverters.

A new EPCOS DC link capacitor was shown specifically designed for the HybridPACK 1-DC6 IGBT module from Infineon Technologies. It has six busbar terminals with dimensions matched to fit the IGBT module. The component is designed using power capacitor chip (PCC) technology in which the capacitor element is constructed as a stacked winding, with which a volume fill factor of nearly 1 is achieved. The capacitor features very low parasitics. For example, ESR has a maximum value of 0.6 mΩ and the ESL value is just 25 nH. Thanks to this low ESL, voltage peaks on switching off the IGBTs are said by EPCOS to be almost completely eliminated. The capacitor is designed for a rated voltage of 450 V DC and offers a capacitance of 600 µF. Its current capability is about 150 A at a maximum ambient temperature of 105°C and a cooled temperature on the underside of 75°C.

AVX showcased a range of products at the event including automotive MLCCs, electric vehicle capacitors, and supercapacitors. Let’s look at this last item first. Comprised of series-connected cylindrical, electrochemical, double-layer supercapacitors, the new SCM Series supercapacitor modules are available in two voltage ratings (5V and 5.4V), and exhibit such pulse power handling characteristics as high capacitance values (0.47F – 7.5F ±20% tolerance), low ESR (4mΩ – 300mΩ at 1,000KHz), low leakage (2µA – 1,000µA), high energy density (1 to 5.6Wh/kg), and a long lifetime performance (50,000+ cycles). Designed to provide reliable hold-up, energy harvesting, and pulse power solutions, SCM Series modules can be used alone or in conjunction with primary or secondary batteries to provide extended backup time, longer battery life, and instantaneous pulse power in applications including uninterrupted power supplies (UPS), wireless alarms, remote meters, global systems mobile (GSM) and galvanic skin response (GSR) transmissions, camera flash systems, scanners, toys, and games.

The company’s automotive MLCC series is qualified to AEC-Q200 and are available in both X7R and NP0 dielectrics with a wide range of case sizes, capacitance values, and working voltages. Applications include Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), core processor power decoupling, sensors, cameras and radar. The high CV parts eliminate common power quality issues in these and other high-reliability applications, and the small case sizes enable smaller modules and optimal electrical placement within circuits. AVX’s FHC series capacitors, especially designed for use in conjunction with Infineon’s HybridPACK 1 and HybridPACK 2 modules in EV applications, are qualified to AEC-Q200. The series employs a thin metallized polypropylene dielectric that exhibits a controlled self-healing process, and an internal elementary bobbin that’s used to reduce thermal expansion constraints and enable flexibility in terms of internal design, current capabilities, and repartitioning.

Consumers expect products to do more electronically. As a result, designers need to fit increasingly small components and traces on limited real estate. Polyimide can accommodate small components and traces, but it is more expensive than PET. At Electronica Molex announced that it has developed the capability to print Silver Flexible Circuits on economical polyester substrates with traces as narrow as 0.13mm (.005”) and spacing as small as 0.13mm (.005”). The process creates a viable, cost-effective alternative to traditional flexible circuits, etched copper traces on polyimide and PCBs. Molex has also developed a method to overcome restrictions on attaching fine-pitch, IC based components on PET.

As an alternative to copper circuits, Molex now has the option to use its new silver ink technology and advanced printing to screen extremely fine traces on PET in a wide variety of applications. In addition to reducing costs by applying silver traces to PET, those traces are inherently less expensive than copper etching and associated processing. Additionally, the manufacturing of the Silver Flexible Circuits does not require harsh chemicals or a waste treatment facility.

The new technology allows the attachment of fine-pitch (0.50mm) IC based components on PET via a proprietary bonding process using traditional SMT equipment. That process also enables attachment of right angle LEDs, enabling enhanced backlighting for user-interface applications. In the final step of the attachment process, a UV-cured encapsulant is used to protect the solder joints, making it possible for them to withstand vibration and mechanical shock.

Panasonic’s hybrid capacitors, combining the advantages of electrolytic capacitors with those of solid polymer capacitors, have established themselves solutions in automotive and industrial applications. Hybrid technology offers low leakage current and long life in combination with low ESR in smaller case sizes. Panasonic’s new EEH-ZK series (Type V-ZK) Hybrid Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors are high-temperature capacitors said to have an endurance of 4000 hours at 125°C. The surface-mount conductive polymer components offer a nominal capacitance range of 33µF up to 470µF, a voltage range of 25VDC up to 35VDC, an operating temperature range of -55ºC up to 125ºC, as well as low ESR and high ripple current (85% over, lower ESR than Current V-TP). The products are AEC-Q200 compliant, can endure high humidity conditions and are rated at 85°C/85% - 2000h. Applications include input/output filtering in power converters and voltage regulators, power and battery decoupling and clock circuitry. Their high temperature rating makes them suitable for use in automotive applications, servers, base stations and industrial PCs, yet they also are small enough for wireless and IoT designs.

Prior to the show, inventors, aspiring entrepreneurs and founders from around the world submitted entries for the Electronica Fast Forward Award. Nine prize winners, three in each of the three categories 'Start-up', 'Prototype' and 'Idea’ were selected. In the category 'Idea', Artem Kuchukov from the company Kewazo in Germany captured first prize for his scaffolding installation robot for building and construction sites, where its advantages include both safety and cost. In the category 'Start-up' BotFactory from New York claimed first place with a printer which prints a prototype PCB “on the spot” when fast prototyping turnaround is necessary. Finally, in the category 'Prototypes' first prize went to Mowea from Germany which developed a way to supplement solar power with wind energy for single household use. As the overall winner the company picked up a 75,000 euro check to be used for PR and marketing.  

Murray Slovick


Murray Slovick

Murray Slovick is Editorial Director of Intelligent TechContent, an editorial services company that produces technical articles, white papers and social media posts for clients in the semiconductor/electronic design industry. Trained as an engineer, he has more than 20 years of experience as chief editor of award-winning publications covering various aspects of consumer electronics and semiconductor technology. He previously was Editorial Director at Hearst Business Media where he was responsible for the online and print content of Electronic Products, among other properties in the U.S. and China. He has also served as Executive Editor at CMP’s eeProductCenter and spent a decade as editor-in-chief of the IEEE flagship publication Spectrum. View other posts from Murray Slovick.

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