Power Supply Trends for 2024

Power Supply Trends for 2024

There is no question that power supplies are vital components of any electronic system. However, their rugged builds are particularly crucial when considering military applications, as they need to operate in harsh and demanding conditions. Military power supplies must offer reliable and efficient power conversion and distribution for various crucial systems, such as communication, radar, sonar, and other electronics.

They must meet stringent performance, durability, and reliability requirements and comply with rigorous military standards. Moreover, unlike other power supplies, military-grade power supplies often face challenges to requirements, like size, weight, and power (SWaP) constraints, system integration, thermal management, and supply chain pressures.

These are all relevant as we examine the current and future military power supply trends and the power supply market.

Market Growth Forecast — A Look Into the Power Supply Market

The military power supply market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% between 2023 and 2032, from $12.1 billion to $20 billion. As the industry grows, it is essential to consider the latest developments in the design of military power supplies to ensure that they address the evolving needs of modern military applications.

The global power supply market size and share comprise several segmentations. The main drivers of the power supply market growth are:

  • The increasing demand for advanced and modern military systems that require high-performance and reliable power supplies.
  • The rising defense spending and military modernization programs occurring globally, especially in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.
  • The growing adoption of renewable energy sources and hybrid power systems for military applications, such as microgrids, solar panels, and fuel cells.

Restrictions and Constraints

Though there are catalysts and reasons for extensive market growth, there are also restraints to the power supply market, such as:

  • The high cost and complexity of military power supply design and development require extensive testing and certification.
  • The stringent regulations and standards imposed by the military authorities — including MIL-STD-704, MIL-STD-1275, MIL-STD-1399, and MIL-STD-461 — can limit the innovation and flexibility of power supply manufacturers.
  • The cyber security and electromagnetic interference (EMI) risks associated with military power supply systems require robust protection and mitigation measures.

Opportunity for Market Growth

Despite the existing and potential restrictions and hindrances to market growth, there are also opportunities for advancements:

  • There are emerging technologies and trends in power supply design — such as programable, modular, and integrated solutions — that offer enhanced performance, efficiency, and flexibility for military applications.
  • There is an increasing demand for power supply solutions supporting the SWaP optimization and thermal management of military systems, such as miniaturized, lightweight, and ruggedized power supplies.
  • There is an expanding scope of military power supply applications, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), and wearable devices, which require customized and specialized power supply solutions.

What’s the Future of Power Supply Design?

What's the Future of Power Supply Design?

Military power supply design aspects are dynamic and constantly evolving to adapt to the changing requirements and challenges of military applications. To understand where power supply design may change, it is crucial to understand current design elements, as certain design components will likely evolve.

One thing that does remain constant, though, is the importance of derating when it comes to using power supplies in the end application, as this ensures reliability and longevity of the power supply and helps mitigate risks, such as overheating and component failure.

Switch-Mode Power Supply (SMPS)

One of the current design elements widely used in military power supply systems is the switch-mode power supply (SMPS). A SMPS converts alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) input voltage into a regulated output voltage. It switches the input on and off at a high frequency.

A SMPS offers several advantages over linear power supplies primarily due to its smaller size, greater efficiency, lighter weight, and lower heat dissipation. Because of these characteristics, a SMPS is suitable for various military applications, such as radar, communications, and electronic warfare systems — all of which require high power density and extreme reliability.

Despite all this, a SMPS does have certain drawbacks, such as increased noise levels and electromagnetic interference (EMI), and these systems are highly complex. As we advance, engineers and designers are exploring different technological trends, such as wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors, digital control, and even artificial intelligence (AI).

Wide Bandgap (WBG) Semiconductors

These are materials that have a larger bandgap than conventional silicon. The conductors enable higher switching frequencies, operating temperatures, breakdown voltages, and lower losses. When we combine these characteristics, they help to improve the performance, efficiency, and reliability of the SMPS. WBG semiconductors will likely play a role in military power supply design where applications demand high voltage, power, and temperature.

Digital Control

Digital control uses microcontrollers, digital signal processors, or field-programmable gate arrays to control the operation and feedback of a SMPS. Digital control offers several benefits that surpass analog control, such as improved accuracy, flexibility, programmability, and adaptability.

Digital control can also offer advanced features such as fault detection, protection and diagnosis, and communication and data logging. Digital control is becoming more prevalent in military power supply design as it can enhance a SMPS’s performance stability and functionality.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is the use of machine learning, deep learning, or neural networks to analyze data and make decisions or predictions. AI has various applications in the military, including power supply design, optimization, simulation, testing, and monitoring. Further, AI can help military power supply engineers and designers improve their design and manufacturing efficiency, quality, and robustness and help reduce costs and time.

AI can also enable self-learning and self-healing/self-service capabilities for military power supply systems, increasing their reliability and resilience.

Power Supply Trends for 2024

The military power supply industry is constantly evolving and innovating to meet the emerging needs of various military applications. Apart from the elements discussed, the following are likely power supply trends for 2024 that will influence and shape the military power supply market and design:

  • Programmable power supplies: These are power supplies that can be controlled and configured by software or hardware commands and offer greater flexibility, versatility, and functionality for military applications.
  • Modular power supplies: These power supplies consist of multiple modules that can be connected in parallel or series, ultimately offering scalability, redundancy, reliability, and easy maintenance. Further, they can reduce military power supply systems’ size, weight, and cost.
  • Integrated power supplies: A power supply embedded or integrated into the military system or device helps improve the SWaP optimization and thermal management or military systems. They also enhance the performance, efficiency, and reliability of military systems.

Contact the ACT Team for Forward-Thinking Power Supply Solutions

Contact the ACT Team for Forward-Thinking Power Supply Solutions

Military supplies are essential components of military systems operating in harsh conditions and demanding environments. Advanced Conversion Technology’s power supply products are designed and built to meet stringent requirements for performance, durability, reliability, and compliance with military standards.

If you would like to discuss our diverse offerings, including custom military power supplies, or to speak about the latest industry trends and innovations, contact us today!

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