Startup launches configurable power management ICs

Startup launches configurable power management ICs

New Products |
By Graham Prophet

The so-called Adaptive Multi-Rail Power Platform – or AmP – represents an FPGA-style approach to building power management ICs that can address about 90 percent of the topologies of power management, according to AnDapt CEO Kapil Shankar. These include buck, boost, buck-boost converters, multi-phase regulators, load switches, LDOs, battery chargers, sequencers, supervisors and other point of load (POL) devices. AnDapt ICs can replace multiple discrete components, are application-specific, available on demand and because of the FPGA style of manufacturing and programming, economic in small volumes, Shankar added.

For example, a single device could provide and regulate multiple power rails at 1V, 1.2V, 3.3V and so on. It can also provide telemetry and sequencing to change voltages and turn certain rails to 0V and back on as a part of power management and sequencing. This lowers inventory and saves area at the board level and can save power in operation, Shankar said.

The chips are manufactured for AnDapt by Vanguard International Semiconductor Co. Ltd. (Hsinchu, Taiwan) in a 110nm BCD manufacturing process. They are in effect multiple monolithically integrated power MOSFETs surrounded with wrappers of analog and digital control circuitry and a connection matrix. The configuration is held in SRAM bits – as is the case in most FPGAs – and the devices are effectively programmed in Verilog although that has been abstracted away for most customers.

For greater convenience, the AmP devices are supported by cloud-based tools that include an extensive library of prebuilt power components. The WebAmP design software tools have a graphical user interface that allows users to just drag and drop IP cores on to a component template and the software will take care of all the internal connection and pin assignments. The software comes with a power analysis tool suite to verify performance prior to generating the configuration bit-stream and an AmPLink adapter for downloading the power design to the AmP components.

The first family is in a 22V process suitable for 12V and lower power and consists of nine members with selections, four, eight and twelve power blocks of 1A, 3A and 6A current capacity each. The AmP8D1, AmP8D3 and AmP8D6 are available with the rest of the family expected before the end of 2016.

The nine chip 12V AmP family. Source: AnDapt.

The product family is offered in QFN packages with 6 x 6, 7 x 7, 8 x 8 footprint sizes. Initial device AmP8DS6QF74 is available today, in a 74-pin, 8-mm-by-8-mm-by-0.85-mm thermally enhanced QFN package. The lowest cost member of the family AmP8DP1QN52 is priced at US $3.75 in 1,000-unit quantities. WebAmP tools and power components can be licensed today online and are available for a 30-day free trial period and $99 per month thereafter.

The AnDapt approach is applicable to analog, mixed-signal, RF and power circuitry, Shankar told eeNews Europe, but said that initially the company would focus on power management platform ICs to displace catalog power devices.

“We have sampled seven customers in the data center and networking equipment area and are focused initially on non-isolated dc-to-dc conversion,” said Shankar. “However, we can do isolated conversion beyond 12V. At 60V for example we foresee demand in automotive and industrial.” It seems clear that this would also apply to drones and IoT.

Roadmap for AmP product families. Source: AnDapt.

AnDapt was founded in January 2014 and raised a Series A round of finance of $9.7 million in October 2014. Key investors are Intel Capital, Altera, Cisco Systems Inc. and Vanguard, although Intel subsequently consolidated its holding by acquiring Altera.

AnDapt is not the first company to try applying programmability to the analog domain, which has not proved an easy market to crack. Anadigm Inc. (Mesa, Ariz.) was founded in 2000 and continues to offer field programmable analog arrays (FPAAs). Silego Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.) offers configurable mixed-signal ICs (CMICs) that are “no-code” devices that include op amps, comparators, counters, ADCs, pulse width modulation, simple digital logic up to the complexity of an asynchronous state machine and in some case power transistors.

Related links and articles:

AnDapt White Paper

News articles:

Silego scaling cost-effective agility in mixed-signal

Why programmable analog is like a themed box of Lego

Integrated analog: what’s missing?

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