As the year comes to a close, we take a look at the hottest products of 2014. The top 10 most read new product introductions ranged from space-saving connectors and lightweight cable assemblies to audio solutions and application processors for wearables. A bit surprising is the domination of interconnect, passive and electromechanical (IP&E) devices in the Top 10 ranking this year. Six of the top 10 components were IP&E devices from Harting, Gore, Hirose, Laird, Elma, and Fischer. This is up from four in 2013. This year’s top semiconductor products were introduced by Soraa, Texas Instruments, Conexant, and Toshiba. Most of these products touted performance improvements and/or space savings across a variety of applications. The top 10 products are based on the number of page views in 2014.
Here is the top 10 list:
The most viewed product announcement in 2014 goes to Soraa’s full-visible spectrum line of LED light engines. Soraa claimed the industry’s first full-visible spectrum line of LED light engines in June 2014. The new light engines use 50 percent less power and have a higher center beam intensity (CBCP) than current integral LED fixtures. The engines allow fixtures to be 50 percent smaller due to their small diameter and low profile. It also features a novel heat sink design that enables low temperature operation and a lifetime of 50,000 hours.
HARTING developed dedicated, high-density monoblock inserts for two modular connector series, the Han-Eco and Han-Yellock. With these inserts, a single Han-Eco or Han-Yellock connector can replace a bigger connector or multiple units for significant space savings on the device or control cabinet.
W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. (Gore) introduced new lightweight cable solutions that are touted to deliver the lowest insertion loss before and after installation to ensure reliable performance for the life of the system. The robust construction of the GORE-FLIGHT Microwave Assemblies, 6 Series reduces total costs by withstanding the challenges of installation, field service frequency, and the need for purchasing replacement assemblies, said Gore. As a result, these airframe assemblies reduce production delays, while the lightweight design improves fuel efficiency and increases payload.
Texas Instruments (TI) offers a comprehensive system solution for streaming audio in home or portable applications. The integrated and optimized solution is designed to help customers accelerate time to market for applications such as portable speakers, sound bars, audio video receivers (AVRs) and connectivity modules that enable OEMs to add connectivity to any set of speakers. The full audio streaming solution enables consumers to connect all their portable or home connected audio devices that support AirPlay and DLNA.
Hirose extended its DF62 Series of slim in-line connectors with the introduction of two new versions with unique plug/socket shapes. The enhanced DF62 Series of wire-to-wire connectors feature a pin layout arranged in a 2.2- x 2-mm grid pattern reducing the diagonal diameter by 50 percent, which makes it well suited for space-constrained applications. Using a highly reliable two-point contact design, the DF62 Series delivers ruggedized connectivity that is resistant to shock and vibration, said Hirose.
Conexant Systems debuted its CX20952 HD audio CODEC at Computex 2014. The CX20952 delivers high quality audio on computers and tablets with low power consumption along with two cap-free headphone amplifiers, and a fully-integrated Class-D amplifier. Part of Conexant’s AudioSmart family, the CX20952 is also an intelligent device – it’s a single-chip solution that monitors power delivered to speakers to ensure maximum sound pressure level (SPL) and optimal performance without damage to system components, said the company.
Laird introduced a new series of miniature thermoelectric modules (TEMs) built using Laird Tlam thermally conductive circuit boards instead of traditional ceramic-based circuit boards. The Tlam OptoTEC series is designed for applications where temperature stabilization of sensitive optical components in photonics, telecom, medical and consumer markets is critical. The company said the use of the Tlam circuit board improves the heat pumping capabilities of the device while providing excellent heat spreading, improved reliability and lower cost in high volume when compared to traditional heat removal systems.
Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) showcased its expanded TZ1000 family of ApP Lite application processors for wearable devices at Electronica 2014. The TZ1021MBG processor is housed in a smaller, thinner package than the first product in the series, the TZ1001MBG, launched earlier this year, said Toshiba.
Elma Electronic showcased the first in its family of SureLock multi-segment, extruded aluminum retaining devices at electronica 2014. The new 325 Series securely holds in place printed circuit boards (PCBs) mounted directly to the board and slid into a channel in the cold plate. A simple turn of a screw enables SureLock to expand and securely hold the card assembly in place, eliminating tooling costs in most implementations. This provides a uniform retention force across SureLock’s entire length to continually protect cards subject to extreme shock and vibration typically found in rugged and harsh computing environments.
Continuing with its miniaturization trend, Fischer Connectors extended its Fischer MiniMax Series with 19- and 24-pin configurations, designed to give designers higher flexibility particularly in applications where space and weight play a role, said the company. Touted as a first-to-market, high-density miniature solution with a unique combination of power and signal contacts, the new connectors enable more functionality into smaller devices while lowering the total cost of ownership. This connector is suited for handheld or body-worn applications, instrumentation and test equipment.
Although sensor devices did not make the top 10 ranking, two sensor products were ranked at No. 11 and No. 12. At No. 11 is Bosch’s BME280 environmental device that combines sensors for pressure, humidity and temperature in a single package, and Bourn’s non-contacting torque sensors introduced in 2013. In 2013, Bourns’ torque sensors ranked No. 1 in the top 10 hot products ranking, and continues to interest automotive designers and purchasers in 2014, ranked at No. 12.