Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) acquired Linear Technology for $14.8 billion in 2017, making ADI an analog leader across multiple product categories. It was one of the largest acquisitions over the past few years in the semiconductor industry. As part of the integration, ADI rebranded Linear’s power products as “Power by Linear” late in 2017.
ADI expects to have Linear to be fully integrated into analog.com by spring 2018. At that time, Linear Tech’s website will redirect to analog.com. Designers and buyers will have access to tools and expertise from both sides of the business – analog and power – in one location. The Power by Linear brand will maintain its “no-obsolescence” policy, a relief for many sourcing Linear’s products for long life-cycle programs.
Distribution also will benefit from the combined company, enabling them to stock both ADI’s analog and power product lines. Mouser Electronics, for example, expanded its global distribution agreement in January with ADI to stock the full line of Linear Technology products.
“Mouser has held the ADI franchise for several years and it has been very successful,” said Raymond Yin, director of technical content at Mouser Electronics. “For example, ADI has supported Mouser’s Empowering Innovation program, which features celebrity engineer Grant Imahara of Mythbusters fame, so we are sure that the partnership will continue just as successfully for the Power by Linear product line.
“The extension of the ADI deal means that buyers have a one-stop shop for Power by Linear products,” Yin added.
“Mouser plans lots of support activity by way of marketing initiatives to support the addition of the Power by Linear brand to the ADI and Mouser partnership. Pretty much all of the Power by Linear products will be added to the Mouser portfolio,” Yin said.
“Also, the two companies are developing blogs and white papers, which will support the Power by Linear technologies and products,” he continued. “The first of these addresses the Power by Linear Micro Modules for power management that discusses the make vs buy discussion.”
To help speed design, Mouser and ADI offer many development kits for the Power by Linear range and other ADI technologies. Specific focuses are industrial and automotive, which are two of Mouser’s leading segments, said Yin.
The industrial market represents approximately 50 percent of ADI’s first quarter sales in 2018, while its automotive business accounts for 17 percent of total sales.
“Mouser covers all industries, and these [dev kits] are available for all types of customers from pro-makers and one-man-band developers to the largest global corporations,” Yin said.
Mouser also offers other tools focused more on the buyer such as its BOM tool and automated product change notification (PCN) schemes.
Power of Synergy
The integration of Linear Tech’s power products gives ADI the opportunity to leverage the company’s power management products for higher revenue growth as more OEMs across vertical markets, including wireless, automotive and industrial, ask for higher integration. ADI can leverage Linear’s power technology now for its existing solutions while looking ahead to develop new solutions based on both companies’ technologies.
“As a rule of thumb, we believe that for every dollar of mixed-signal content ADI sells into a system, there's at least an equal value power opportunity that ADI can now more fully address,” said Vincent Roche, ADI’s president and CEO, during the company’s first quarter 2018 earnings call in February.
“It's been nearly a year since we closed the acquisition, and we've made tremendous progress integrating and building something that we believe is greater than the sum of its parts by following a best of both approach,” Roche said.
He believes the company is better positioned across multiple markets with larger customers and now medium-sized and smaller customers thanks to the Linear Tech acquisition.
“With our sales and engineering teams now integrated and working together, our opportunity pipeline continues to expand, giving us more confidence in converting that $1 billion-plus synergy opportunity into revenue,” said Roche.
ADI is on track with new power product introductions. Some of its latest designs were launched during this week’s APEC 2018 conference in San Antonio, Texas. Aimed at the need for higher integration, these new products include the LTM4662, a dual 15-A or single 30-A step-down µModule regulator, and the LTC7810, a high voltage, non-isolated dual-output synchronous step-down DC/DC controller that drives all N-channel MOSFET power stages.
The LTM4662 is housed in a BGA package with an exposed stacked inductor for improved thermal dissipation properties. “The remaining components, the MOSFETs, DC/DC controller and supporting components, are over-molded and the complete device is housed in an 11.25 mm x 15 mm x 5.74 mm BGA package,” said ADI.
The LTM4662 is designed to meet the performance and space constraints of tightly populated PCBs to power low-voltage and high-current devices. These can be used in several types of applications including communications infrastructure, cloud computing systems, medical, industrial, and test & measurement equipment. Available now, prices start at $18.85 each in quantities of 1,000.
The 4.5 V to 140 V (150 V abs max) input voltage range of the LTC7810 is designed to operate from a high input voltage or from an input that has high voltage surges, eliminating the need for external surge suppression devices, said ADI. The LTC7810 operates at up to 100 percent duty cycle during input voltage dips down to 4.1 V, which is well-suited for transportation, industrial, robotics and datacom applications. Available now, the starting price for the LTC7810 (48-lead, plastic eLQFP 7 mm x 7 mm package) is $5.20 each in quantities of 1,000.