Q. Would this have been possible with the same components that you had 3 years ago?
A. With our older MOSFET drivers, this motor drive application would have been possible, but not cost effective, as we did not have the appropriate specifications for motor drive applications. We could have designed the same motor 3 years back using the MIC4101 vs the MIC4605, but the MOSFET driver wasn’t designed for the motor drives. The MIC4101 offers very high current drive perfect for power supply applications but not required in motor drive systems. The MIC4605 offers one 1A current sink, plenty of drive for motors that typically switch at 15KHz. The MIC4101 also required a minimum voltage of 9V to operate, where the MIC4605 operates a wider operating range, 5.5V to 16V allowing the ability to power from battery or solar cell system. The MIC4605 offers very low quiescent current, 2.2μA typical, for standby conditions, key spec for battery-operated applications.
Q. We noticed that you are also focused on the lighting industry, what’s happening there?
A. The LED lighting is another sector that has a big market for us. Our vision is to build an AC to DC solution so we have come up with LED drivers to control the LED lighting automatically. The drivers provide wide ranges of inputs and outputs ranging from 4.5VIN to 45VOUT combining with smallest footprints. The small footprint allows our customers to fit the electronics into limited space in retrofit applications. We offer single bucks or boost LED controllers that can be used with multichannel LEDs such as WRGB. These allow for colour mixing and the colour temperature control. Let us take an example of an airplane where the lights are the dimmed with a change in temperature, bringing us a simulated nightfall so that we can sleep.
Q. What are the upcoming advancements in the automotive sector?
A. Automotive is our long-term strategy, and we can use our internal process to achieve automotive qualification for our devices. Not only do we have motor drives for the automotive section but we also have Ethernet for communication in this section. We are also looking forward to use MOSFET or solid state to replace relays and to use the Power over Ethernet for any kind of power distribution. There are other opportunities in automotive section where we can participate like window lifting, mirror control, central locking. We are working with BMW to standardise the unique connector in each of the car into an Ethernetport. We have generated many devices for the infotainment section of the automotive industry.
Micrel Inc. is a leading manufacturer of IC solutions for the worldwide high-performance analog and high-speed mixed signal, LAN and timing and communications solutions markets. It was founded in 1978 and has an excellent record of revenue growth and sustained profitability. From being a catalog based company Micrel is going to be more of solution based company in the years to come.