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TDK Targets Power Converters for Factories, Cars and Data Centers

TDK Corporation announced on Wednesday that it would acquire Faraday Semi, a startup focused on advanced power converters that can be installed in connected cars, factory equipment and data centers to regulate the electrical current powering them. TDK plans to bring Faraday’s converter technology to market faster through its manufacturing, sales and distribution channels.

“As we see an increase in connected devices, whether in autos, on the factory floor, or data centers, we’re witnessing the need for greater processing power in the devices themselves,” said Arthur Asai, TDK’s senior product marketing manager for power solutions, in an interview. “These changes are increasing the need for miniaturized, specialized electronics with efficient power management.”

Faraday Semi, which was founded in 2015, uses advanced packaging to manufacture point-of-load devices that are smaller, more efficient and lower cost than traditional DC-DC converters. The technology minimizes the distance between the company’s voltage regulators and computer processors, improving switching speeds and regulation accuracy, said Asai.

Before the acquisition, Faraday Semi was TDK's customer, using the Tokyo, Japan-based company's packaging technology called semiconductor embedded in substrate (SESUB) to improve the efficiency, heat dissipation and integration of its μPOL products. Better integration not only keeps costs low but also allows resistance and the inductance components to be kept small. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The μPOL converters eliminate the need for external compensation as well as external components, such as dividers and feedback loops. In addition, Faraday’s point-of-load converters have five-times faster switching frequencies than rival technology at a 12V input power rail, said Asai. Typical converters handle around 600KHz at higher currents, while Faraday’s supports 2MHz to 4MHz

The acquisition gives Faraday the financial support of a corporation that reported around $12 billion in its last fiscal year and employs 103,000 people worldwide. TDK’s acquisition of the Laguna Niguel, California-based Faraday follows its $1.3 billion acquisition of InvenSense and ultrasonic sensor supplier Chirp Microsystems. Asai declined to comment on how much money the company plans to invest in its new wholly-owned subsidiary.

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