Global survey results from Molex’s ‘State of Power’ report

2 mins read

Molex has announced the results of a global survey of design engineers and managers that looks to better understand top power-system design experiences, challenges, opportunities and attitudes towards development of critical power-system designs.

The report makes for interesting reading.

At a time when power systems are becoming smaller, lighter and more streamlined they are also having to take on more vital roles such as driving state-of-the-art data centres, delivering higher-voltage EV charging infrastructures, and supporting major breakthroughs in consumer electronics.

The rapid emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), factory automation and connected healthcare all depend upon efficient, safe and reliable power systems, which creates unique engineering obstacles and major opportunities.

“Engineers must grapple with multiple priorities when it comes to designing effective, efficient and sustainable power systems that fuel product innovations of all kinds,” said Brian Hauge, SVP and president, Consumer & Commercial Solutions, Molex. “We continually work with our customers across the ecosystem to clear conductivity and connectivity hurdles, risk-reduce product designs, and ultimately create reliable, durable and capable power interfaces and distribution systems tailored for specific applications and environments.”

The research, which was conducted by Dimensional Research, surveyed 824 qualified design engineers and engineering managers globally to gauge their experiences and expertise working with power systems.

The report found that 94% of those polled, understanding how to work with power was a critical requirement, with 83% asserting power is one of their greatest design challenges.

While nearly three-quarters of the participants strive to increase energy efficiency in their power-system designs, more than half report simultaneously addressing efficiency, cost, capacity and performance monitoring requirements.

The report found that energy efficiency (73%) and functional safety (66%) were the most frequently reported design considerations, closely followed by signal and power interference (57%), battery requirements (49%), along with system and device miniaturisation (47%).

Addressing harsh environments (41%) and environmental noise (38%) also were cited as important priorities taken into consideration in system designs and implementations.

Among responders, the most daunting obstacles are cost effectiveness (56%), safety (51%), thermal management (48%), electromagnetic interference (EMI) (45%), reliability over time (44%), power integrity (40%) and compliance (36%).

An abundance of design priorities and challenges continue to fuel the need for both custom and off-the-shelf solutions, according to 72% of those surveyed, underscoring the need for power expertise among design engineers and power-solution providers. Respondents ranked the most impactful improvements as battery performance (34%), materials advancements (30%), more efficient thermal management (29%), and battery lifetime (27%).

In addition, 60% of those polled agreed that higher efficiency demands will drive power-design innovations, along with advancements in battery technology (51%), higher-power voltage consumption demands (49%), wireless connectivity (42%) and miniaturisation (40%).

A wide range of macro trends appear to be forcing innovations among those polled, including a shift to renewables (54%), higher functionality demands (53%) and increasing energy costs (52%).

More than four in five respondents expect the demand for power expertise to increase in the next five years, with 57% reporting a significant effort is needed to better understand and comply with power-related regulatory requirements. Moreover, keeping pace with rapid changes in technologies, trends and regulations has elevated the need for hands-on experience (71%) and vendor product training (58%), as well as greater access to resources, such as software tools (61%), design reference documents (54%) and supplier customer support (52%).

On a global scale, engineers from China reported a greater need to understand and comply with power-related regulatory requirements while respondents from this region also were most likely to leverage hands-on experience to keep pace with power innovations.

Meanwhile, engineers based in the United Kingdom reported the most value from peer mentoring or coaching, whereas design engineers from Germany led the world in being most likely to incorporate power considerations at the initial concept phase of product development.