How Your Electronic Design Or Manufacturing Process Can Save The World

Posted by Steve Baker on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 @ 10:01 AM

(Or….At Least Help Reduce The Energy Consumption Of The World)

Since the rolling blackouts in California and the Northeast in the early 2000's, California has lead the way towards energy reduction in consumer products; creating initiatives such as the Energy Star Program for appliances such as refrigerators, heating and cooling systems, and computers. 

In June of 2007, California passed Regulation (07B-126) Energy Efficiency Requirements for External Power Supplies. The goal of these requirements were to produce external power supplies that were 35% more efficient than ones built before 2007. In 2017, this energy efficiency requirement will be applied to non-consumer products.

So how can you work towards reducing the energy consumption of the world?

As a Design Engineer:

1. Design to the specifications, don't over design with functions that won't be used.

2. Run LED indicators at 60 HZ with a duty cycle of 5% and they will appear twice as bright at a lower  current. (The human eye retains an image for around 1/60th second.)

3. Use the sleep mode on any processors and components that have that feature.

4. Use lower voltage devices etc. 1.5V, 3V vs 5V and 12V.

5. Pull-up, pull-down resistors should be calculated to function at minimum. (The old standard of 10K when used 10-30 times on one board, with a 1000 boards operating 24/7 can waste a lot of energy.)

6. Use switching power supply technology instead of the standard linear voltage regulator. Though the switching regulator may cost a little more, it will save the end user more in a reduced electric bill. 

As a Manufacturer of Electronic Products:

RBB electronic products manufacturer1. Perform the maximum solder joints per heat cycle.

 (A heat cycle is where you raise the temperature of the copper pad surface area and solder until they bond around 260 degrees C.)

  • SMT one side only = 1 heat cycle
  • SMT two sides or SMT one side with thru-hole = 2 heat cycles
  • SMT two sides and thru-hole = 3 heat cycles
  • SMT two sides and thru-hole both sides = 4 heat cycles

2. Panelize the bare PCB so that you can do multiple boards with one heat cycle pass.

3. Keep pre-heat time to a minimum on all soldering equipment.

4. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule. (Maximum thru-put with minimum idle time of soldering equipment.) 

Working with the customer and design engineer will benefit all in lower costs and most importantly, by reducing energy consumption.

For over 30 years, Steve has been a part of the RBB family in positions ranging from Service Manager, Testing Manager, Quality Manager and various engineering roles. Steve also enjoys problem solving, traveling, farming, amateur radio, collecting antique radios and leisurely walks to the refrigerator.

Topics: Small Batch Electronics, Circuit Board & Assembly & Manufacturing, Original Equipment Manufacturing