What is the product?
The NBM2317 (or simply NBM) is a bridging converter for 48V and 12V systems delivering 800W at 97.9% peak efficiency. The DC-DC converter utilizes a unique switching topology and packaging to enable high density, high efficiency, and low cost-conversion. The NBM is bi-directional which makes it possible to migrate seamlessly between 12V and 48V systems (often legacy systems will rely on 12V systems, with modern 48V systems offering the increased power capability necessary for applications such as those used in AI and the electrification of vehicles).

The NBM switches at 1.7MHz and with dimensions of 23mm x 17mm x 7.5mm and consumes only a fraction of the space occupied by conventional, slow switching (sub 1MHz) DC-DC solutions. The NBM also delivers voltage essentially free of noise without any need for external filters, bulk caps, hot swap or in-rush current limiting while conventional solutions typically require a large multiplicity of discrete components to provide equivalent operation.

The NBM is packaged in a Surface Mount – Converter housed in Package (SM-ChiP) package. This package provides a low thermal impedance to both the top and bottom of the package providing for easy thermal management.

Fast transient performance is also achieved by the NBM which responds to changes in loads quickly (in 1 microsecond) while maintaining its output within a narrow voltage band.

In what way is it innovative?
The NBM enables efficient bridging between 12V and 48V. Various industries including automotive, data center, LED lighting, and various industrial applications all have historically distributed and utilized 12V. Now, more and more applications are adopting 48V which typically creates a mix of legacy 12V systems and newer 48V systems that require the NBM for high efficiency, high density, and low cost-conversion between these two voltages.

Many systems today also have regenerative power needs which the NBM supports with its bi-directional conversion enabling energy transfer between the 48V and 12V power nets. Power can be delivered from 48V stepped down to 12V or from the 12V side stepped up to 48V. As an example, most hybrid vehicles (utilizing start-stop technology) utilize bi-directional conversion between its 48V and 12V power.

Another way that the NBM is innovative is in its packaging, a surface-mount package like this is very familiar to engineers, however the technology within makes it possible to achieve such a level of power density that typically would not be available at this small size, with just under 1kW level of power conversion.

How is this affecting the market?
The NBM is enabling designs to leverage the benefits of 48V distribution and newer 48V based systems while having compatibility with legacy 12V systems. Distributing 48V versus 12V provides a 16x reduction in losses. Lower distribution losses enable more power to be delivered efficiently to the load or the equivalent power to be delivered on smaller, lighter, cheaper cables.

In automotive, reduced cable sizes translate to a lighter weight vehicle. A similar example can be found in LED display panels where 48V reduces the power distribution cable weight, which is critical given these LED display panels can hang over arenas, mount to walls, or on building exteriors. In data centers, more power can be delivered in the rack using 48V distribution.

While there are 48V compatible servers, there are also legacy 12V servers that need to plug into 48V server racks. The NBM provides the bridge between the 48V rack and the legacy 12V server.

For further information visit http://www.vicorpower.com/industries-computing/sm-chip-nbm or download: