Designed for portable applications in portable phones, digital still cameras, and PDAs, the STw4141 DC/DC converter chip allows two different output voltages to be generated using a single external coil. By doing so, the STw4141 allows the bill of materials for a product to be cut by up to 40 percent, while reducing printed circuit board size up to 30 percent. It also allows a power supply solution to be implemented in only 56 mm2 of printed circuit board space, compared to 80 mm2 for the best previous approaches.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.