Power inductors meet challenge of market needs

7th November 2016
Alice Matthews


Like other electronic components, power inductors have been impacted by changing market needs. The ability to keep up with those changes can be challenging, but not impossible, as Denis Kohlhagen, VP of Sales at Gowanda Electronics, explains.

Gowanda Electronics has been designing and manufacturing inductor solutions for the electronics marketplace for decades. The company’s power inductor designs have evolved over the years as applications and technical needs changed in industrial, medical, military and space markets. These changes include smaller components for smaller electronic devices, specific combinations of size and performance to address functionality, footprints and processing steps, and rigorously tested components for military and mission critical applications. Fifty years of experience, investment in technology, and a versatile approach to problem-solving by partnering with customers provide the foundation for Gowanda’s ability to address these challenges.

Balancing size and performance
Some examples of power inductors that were designed to meet specific needs include Gowanda’s SMP1210S and SMP2512 series. The SMP1210S surface mount series combines high current, shielding and small size with inductance values from 1-100µH and current ratings from 0.2-1.384ADC. According to Gowanda it was the first inductor manufacturer to introduce a series with this specific performance and size combination in response to an identified market need.

Gowanda’s SMP2512 is a series of surface mount, wirewound, ferrite core, molded power inductors. This series was designed for use in power applications needing a specific surface mount size (nominally 6x2mm), current rating (0.26-1.64ADC), inductance range (1-100µH) and the ability to tolerate all types of reflow soldering. Their epoxy-encapsulated molded construction provides environmental protection resulting in designed-in protection to withstand SMT soldering and PCB cleaning operations without the need for special attention.

These and other power inductors from Gowanda are used for a variety of applications including filters for DC/DC converters, switching regulated power supplies and point of load applications in automotive electronics, industrial process control equipment, medical diagnostic equipment and test and measurement equipment.

Robust designs for military
More recently Gowanda developed several 'Qualified Products List' power inductor series in order to address the growing need for high performance solutions in military and other demanding applications. QPL products go through testing for electrical, physical and thermal properties. Gowanda now offers several QPL surface mount and QPL through-hole power inductor 'MLP' series for MIL-PRF-27 requirements.

Three MLP surface mount series went through additional testing and inspection to attain an even higher level standard. As a result, Gowanda’s three MLP 'T' Series meet MIL-PRF-27 Level T, the highest quality level attainable per the US Department of Defense mil spec MIL-PRF-27 for components used in high-reliability critical military and space applications. Each production lot is subjected to 100% thermal shock, burn-in and radiographic inspection in addition to electrical testing. Gowanda offers these Level T components in response to a need conveyed by organisations in the military market for a QPL-approved inductor supplier for this demanding mil spec.

Gowanda’s MLP and MLP 'T' series are utilised for power applications in military, space, aerospace and defense communities. This includes use in communication, guidance, and security applications, as well as in radar, test and evaluation and special mission applications. These series are also suitable for use in non-military high reliability or high risk applications that warrant a thoroughly tested inductor coil. 

Investing in technology
To support its QPL, high-reliability and upscreening efforts, the company invested in instrumentation and equipment to enable environmental testing to be done in-house. This gives Gowanda control over the testing process, to assure projects stay on track. Gowanda continues to expand the capabilities of its testing lab to stay at the forefront of technology. Recent additions include more life test chambers to enhance multiple project capabilities, a thermal cycling chamber to complement existing thermal shock testing, and a 70GHz Network Analyser for high frequency RF characterisations.

Partnering with customers
If a customer application requires more than off-the-shelf product, custom designs can provide the solution. Gowanda’s capabilities such as design services, 3D rapid prototyping, proprietary manufacturing equipment, flexible facilities, and a can-do mindset, enable the company to be a virtual member of the customer’s product development team, thereby minimising time to market. Additional investments in custom transfer molding, custom winding, and cleanrooms enhance Gowanda’s ability to address customer needs.

As a result of these and other market needs and related product evolutions, design engineers can now select from Gowanda’s line of standard power surface mount and power through-hole wirewound inductor series to address their need for shielded, unshielded, open construction, molded, high current, high temperature, low profile, dual wound, toroidal, choke, radial, potted, standoff, RoHS or mil-spec designs. Horizontal or vertical mounting options provide additional versatility for some series as do custom design options. Power inductor performance parameters are series specific. Overall ranges include inductance from 0.15µH-100mH, DCR from 0.002-330Ω, and current rating DC from 36mA-33.6A.

Acquisition expands transformers
The recent acquisition of Butler Winding enhances Gowanda’s power component offerings. Butler’s strengths include the design and manufacture of power transformers for a variety of applications, including switch mode power supplies, power conversion and circuit isolation. Core material is selected for the known operating frequency or frequencies, and is typically silicon steel lamination. Power transformers are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes including standard types of 'core with bobbin' structures (E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, U), toroids, and ome custom designs. Additional experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and layering augment the company’s transformer capabilities.

Through internal development, facility investments, customer partnering and acquisitions, Gowanda is well-positioned to continue to meet the needs of the market in the future, as it has for the last 50 years.

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