Molex, a global electronics leader and connectivity innovator, today announced the results of a global survey of design engineers and managers to better understand top power-system design experiences, challenges, opportunities and attitudes that are enabling or inhibiting the development of critical power-system designs. Respondents representing different industries and geographies shared valuable insights into today’s power expectations while addressing how best to anticipate and adapt to evolving power demands.
Power systems increasingly are becoming smaller, lighter and more streamlined while taking on more vital roles driving state-of-the-art data centers, higher-voltage EV charging infrastructures, major breakthroughs in consumer electronics and more. The rapid emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), factory automation and connected healthcare all depend upon efficient, safe and reliable power systems, which creates unique engineering obstacles and major opportunities.
“Engineers must grapple with multiple priorities when it comes to designing effective, efficient and sustainable power systems that fuel product innovations of all kinds,” said Brian Hauge, SVP and president, Consumer & Commercial Solutions, Molex. “We continually work with our customers and suppliers across the power ecosystem to clear conductivity and connectivity hurdles, risk-reduce product designs, and ultimately create reliable, durable and capable power interfaces and distribution systems tailored for specific applications and environments.”
Molex commissioned Dimensional Research to survey 824 qualified design engineers and engineering managers globally to gauge their experiences and expertise working with power systems. According to 94% of those polled, understanding how to work with power is a critical requirement, with 83% asserting power is one of their greatest design challenges. While nearly three-quarters of the participants strive to increase energy efficiency in their power-system designs, more than half report simultaneously addressing efficiency, cost, capacity and performance monitoring requirements.
Design Engineering Priorities
Energy efficiency (73%) and functional safety (66%) were the most frequently reported design considerations, closely followed by signal and power interference (57%), battery requirements (49%), along with system and device miniaturization (47%). Addressing harsh environments (41%) and environmental noise (38%) also were cited as important priorities taken into consideration in system designs and implementations. The most daunting obstacles are cost effectiveness (56%), safety (51%), thermal management (48%), electromagnetic interference (EMI) (45%), reliability over time (44%), power integrity (40%) and compliance (36%).
Innovation in Power-System Designs
An abundance of design priorities and challenges continue to fuel the need for both custom and off-the-shelf solutions, according to 72% of those surveyed, underscoring the need for power expertise among design engineers and power-solution providers. Respondents ranked the most impactful improvements as battery performance (34%), materials advancements (30%), more efficient thermal management (29%), and battery lifetime (27%).
Additionally, 60% of those polled agree that higher efficiency demands will drive power-design innovations, along with advancements in battery technology (51%), higher-power voltage consumption demands (49%), wireless connectivity (42%) and miniaturization (40%). A wide range of macro trends appear to be forcing innovations among those polled, including a shift to renewables (54%), higher functionality demands (53%) and increasing energy costs (52%).
Power Experience and Expertise
More than four in five respondents expect the demand for power expertise to increase in the next five years, with 57% reporting a significant effort is needed to better understand and comply with power-related regulatory requirements. Moreover, keeping pace with rapid changes in technologies, trends and regulations has elevated the need for hands-on experience (71%) and vendor product training (58%), as well as greater access to resources, such as software tools (61%), design reference documents (54%) and supplier customer support (52%).
On a global scale, engineers from China reported a greater need to understand and comply with power-related regulatory requirements while respondents from this region also were most likely to leverage hands-on experience to keep pace with power innovations. Meanwhile, engineers based in the United Kingdom reported the most value from peer mentoring or coaching, whereas design engineers from Germany led the world in being most likely to incorporate power considerations at the initial concept phase of product development.
Molex Engineers Transformative Power Solutions
Molex offers a vast selection of power-delivery and distribution products in wire-to-wire, wire-to-board and board-to-board configurations that enable performance breakthroughs for next-gen automotive, consumer electronics, medtech, industrial, data center and telecom applications. Molex’s portfolio of reliable, durable and efficient power solutions ranges from very small, low-power micro-miniature systems to extremely large power distribution systems, delivering 500 amps of power—and everything in between. Long recognized for advancements in design engineering, materials science, state-of-the-art testing, and industry collaborations, Molex is transforming today’s power solutions to meet tomorrow’s needs.