ELECTRIC FUTURE. HOW WILL THE ELECTRIC FUTURE IMPROVE CAMTEC POWER SUPPLIES’ PRODUCTS / SOLUTIONS?
CAMTEC engineers and manufactures Switch Mode Power Supplies SMPS and assemblies for the automation sector, machine building and electronics industry.
The product range comprises AC/DC Power and DC/DC converter for DIN-Rail, Chassis Mount, Open Frame and Rack Mount Power. Camtec fabricates programmable DIN-Rail Power Supplies for the test automation, similar to a laboratory power supply.
Interview with Oliver Walter, Co-Founder and CEO of Camtec Power Supplies GmbH.
Easy Engineering: What will be the biggest challenges in the electric future?
Oliver Walter: Talking about the electric future in general – apart from our core business the electronic solutions inside it – the biggest challenge we are currently facing is the setup of the infrastructure for the huge future electricity demand. The increased use of electric vehicles requires the integration of multiple Gigawatt-hours of renewable energies into the European power grid. This requires the expansion of wind and solar energy production as well as smart grid technologies to keep the power supply stable. Due to this: efficient and cost-effective energy storage technologies will be crucial to compensate for fluctuations in power generation from renewable energies and to ensure a reliable power supply.
Second, we have to understand, that renewable energies are not green and social and fair by nature: The production of batteries for example requires the mining of raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel. Sustainable sourcing, reduction of raw materials used and recycling as well as sustainable production of all the equipment needed throughout the whole supply chain will be crucial to minimize environmental impacts and social problems associated with the green energy transition.
E.E: How will the electric future impact your products / solutions?
O.W: The electric future is expected to have a significant impact on our product line. Camtec Power Supplies is a company that specializes in the design and manufacture of highly reliable and robust power supply solutions. In an electric future, those will be needed to provide reliable and efficient power to devices and vehicles. Just think of inverters to convert the direct current generated from solar or wind energy into usable alternating current: Our engineering team will adapt our products accordingly and develop innovative solutions to meet the increasing demand. Second, we see a fast growth of electric mobility. Demand for electric vehicle chargers will increase sharply, as more and more people switch to zero-emission transportation. Our long-term expertise in developing chargers will help us, to offer efficient and fast high-end charging solutions. Overall, the electric future for sure will see Camtec Power Supplies expand our product range and develop new technologies – as well as those of most electronics companies out there worldwide – to meet increasing demands of the electric future.
E.E: What are the most futuristic features of CAMTEC’s products?
O.W: Considering the component and device level of the electric future, the world has to focus on energy-efficient solutions and saving electricity and valuable materials wherever possible. One example are our CAMTEC-inrush current limiters (ESBs), we invented more than 10 years ago. They help saving material and power in large electricity networks like tunnel- or station-lighting, LED-retrofits of huge buildings of all kind, street lighting, UPS-emergency light systems or utilities. That time we found a new way of distributing the electricity in those grids. Meanwhile there is a huge global market for them, lots of options. They more and more are getting state of the art in large grids. We see: Even if you are a small player, it’s possible to change things.
Nowadays, our technological solution that becomes most influencing shall be our new CPS-i/ex/ep smart and modular power supply series: Those power supplies support the development and automated production of many components, we absolutely urgently need for the upcoming electric future in very large scales. Experts keep on telling and warning, that most fuel cell-stacks and many other devices, which are important for a fast green energy transition are still kind of “handcrafted”, which makes them rare and expensive. Therefor our CPS-i/ex/ep2000&3000 series is designed for use on automotive test benches, battery simulation and manufacturing to more easily enhance and automate this production lines.
Overall, customers of Camtec Power Supply products benefit from high quality, energy efficiency, flexibility, customer support, sustainability, and innovation in the electrical future.
E.E: What are the differences of these new solutions compared to power supplies for test-automation already available?
O.W: Be it the principle of using inrush current limiters in large lighting networks or this next, ground-breaking generation series of Camtec power supplies for in-line use in test-automation: Our clearly stated intention and mission is, to make engineers’ work in planning, testing and production as easy and flexible as possible. Therefor those new CPS-i/ex/ep power supplies for test automation are available as 2000W & 3000W modules. This modular principle allows exact scaling to the user’s power requirements, which saves energy resources and system costs. The units allow plug & play installation and scaling up to several 35 power supplies on large power systems.
They can be fully digitally controlled and integrated into Industry 4.x systems. As far as we can tell, they are the smallest full-featured 3000W programmable laboratory power supply on the world market. Not to mention, the innovative 3D-cooling-system allows the units mounted in every angle to a switch cabinet wall.
And – let’s not forget the option to “repair” – even discussed in consumer electronics as “right to repair” – which is another crucial feature of sustainable technology: In case of a light struck or similar, spare parts of our new test-automation series can be exchanged easily by the owner of the system.
E.E: Where exactly will those new Camtec CPS-series power supplies be used?
O.W: Our modular CPS-i/ex/ep2000&3000 series can be used for fuel cell production and power and water supply applications. The EX and EP series also enable cost-effective use in coating applications (for example for alloys or PV modules) and use in smart, unbreakable DC power systems as required for new energy supply systems, as battery chargers. We are looking forward, to provide the new series to support cheaper and faster production of those components.
E.E: How will the electric future influence engineering work?
O.W: The market will shift to electric vehicles and renewable energy sources. Demand for electrical technology will increase accordingly. Therefore, our customers are developing new solutions to meet the new market requirements. In addition, the customer may need to integrate charging stations or energy management systems into their operations. It is important for the customer to proactively develop strategies to take advantage of the opportunities of the electric future.
We see it in our own company and team, as we are committed to sustainable practices and environmentally friendly solutions. Products are manufactured with environmental impact in mind and help reduce the carbon footprint. Camtec Power Supply continuously invests in research and development to provide innovative solutions for the electrical future. Customers can benefit from new technologies and products that meet changing needs.
E.E: Tell us something about sustainability and efficiency in the future.
O.W: Sustainability and efficiency are two important factors to consider when evaluating our electrical future. In electronics an important aspect to reach this, is the longevity of devices and recyclability of electrical appliances and batteries: When designing products, we take care to achieve maximum efficiency at a reasonable cost, using high quality, easily recyclable materials that provide a very long product life. Our Camtec design rules as they are used in industry and infrastructure in general demand a product life of 16 years at least and our product lifecycles and long-term availability warranties are extremely extended.
In a broader focus this means a change of electronic design philosophy: electronic solutions can be long-lasting, wear-resistant and durable – and since components get smaller all the time, they same time can have a tiny, small, handy size nevertheless today. Why construct mobile phones in a way they are worthless within three years? Why cartridges of printers, copy devices etc. in a way they are more waste than content to use. … Do we have to build cars, which produce so many wear-related repair costs when they get certain age or 150.000 km, that repairing them hardly pays off any more? … Definitely not. In this respect, the proposal for a more sustainable Electric Future is: built an alliance for more longevity – more high-quality electronic products in ALL areas, consumer products included. Make guidelines, prolong warranty times. Devices might become more expensive, but of higher quality, less likely to be replaced and easy to repair – so cheaper in the end for the user.
E.E: What would you say to anyone who has concerns about the electric future?
O.W: It is completely comprehensible that someone may be concerned about what the electric future will look like. It’s a big change that can raise many questions and uncertainties. Alternative energy sources have made enormous progress in recent years. In the future, we can expect even more exciting technological innovations and breakthroughs that will reduce environmental impact and improve the quality of life on our planet. Even though the transformation is currently asking a lot of us and costs a lot of money in the beginning. But finally renewable energy is more cost effective and resource efficient than any fossil fuel or nuclear power in the world. In addition, in Europe, the United States and many other countries government grants and tax incentives are offered to make the process of transformation more attractive.
By the end of the transformation, we will likely be able to produce our energy more cheaply than ever before. The growing demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy will create new jobs in manufacturing, engineering, development, and infrastructure. The transition to an electric future therefor offers lots of economic benefits, too. Through innovation, investment, and a collective effort, we can meet these challenges and build a more sustainable world.
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