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Wireless Power Solutions for Medical Technology

In today’s medical technology field, having a reliable and stable power source is a critical requirement for safe operation. Wireless power provides a unique advantage in that a device can now be completely sealed, thus allowing a device to be safe, robust, and simpler to maintain. And with improvements in wireless power delivery, new developments allow up to 500 watts of power.

altMost users today are familiar with wireless power transmission used in applications, such as your cordless toothbrush or induction stove tops. With stove tops, power is transmitted from the stove in the form of an alternating electromagnetic current to the bottom of a pot or pan, where it is then transformed into heat in the form of eddy currents. The stove top itself remains cool.

But what would happen if the power transmitted was not transformed into heat, but rather made available as electrical current with as little loss of energy as possible? At the core of RRC’s wireless power transmission system is a sophisticated coil construction and activation technique that enables a highly efficient power transfer. In contrast to the traditional transformer, there is no closed core that magnetically couples the coils. In fact, the coils which the power is transmitted between, are actually structurally separate from one another. Special ferrite materials bundle the magnetic field so that the stray field is reduced and at the same time, efficiency is increased. This high efficiency meets designers’ requirements and enables the development of medical applications and products.

Today’s technology makes it possible to substantially reduce the loss of power between the source (transmitter) and the load (receiver) and thus, noticeably optimize efficiency. We have been able to obtain over 90 percent efficiency, meaning 90 percent of the power that is sent by the transmitter coil reaches the receiver coil just as it would in a wired system. And this is possible even when the distance between the coils amounts to several millimeters (4 to 10 mm).

How Wireless Works

altA wireless or inductive power system consists of transmitter and receiver boards and necessary supporting components. The transmitter for wireless power always contains the following components: a coil, compensation circuit, an inverter, and a controller. The functional block consisting of these electronic devices is referred to as the inductive power transmission or “IPT cell.” The compensation circuit is used to improve efficiency and reduce the idle power consumption of the inductive transmission path. Several IPT module designs with a power range from 5W up to 500W can be implemented into a design. These modules not only differ in their power range, but also in their operating voltage range as well. All of the modules are powered by an intermediate DC circuit. The input voltage range of the low voltage cells (LV) is a nominal 19V while the high voltage version (HV) is powered by a 400V intermediate circuit. (See Figure 1)

The systems receiver (Rx) consists of the following electronic components: coil, IPT controller, modulator and a compensation circuit. The power transmission starts only after the receiver side has been identified. Safety functions such as foreign object detection, overload detection and protection against overheating have been integrated into the system. The receiver’s controller can be configured so that a battery connected to the output can be charged, which reduces the requirement of an additional charge controller in the application.

Low power loss and higher efficiency are prerequisites for the success of wireless power technology. Less energy loss means less unwanted heat, which means less effort spent on heat management in the final application. Lower energy consumption through the use of efficient products is synonymous with sustained climate protection. Using high efficiency solutions enables developers to meet the requirements for the Energy Star program in the US and the ECODESIGN directive from the European Commission.

More Product Platforms Available

In addition to the solutions described above, there are more product platforms being offered in the marketplace. One platform is a 5W Qi-compliant wireless power system solution according to the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) standard. The WPC is a consortium of over 120 companies that came together to develop wireless power standards (www.wirelesspowerconsortium. com). The WPC’s first solution focuses on a 5W platform. A 5W design has been integrated into an evaluation kit in order to acquaint users with the technology for wireless power transmission. (See Figure 2)