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issue: July 2008 APPLIANCE Magazine

Electronics Report
Reaching Ideal Capacity

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A new capacitor design saves space while allowing appliance engineers to achieve high capacitance values.

The new capacitors are made of a metallized polypropylene film. The thickness of the film, as well as a proprietary metallization process, help it to achieve capacitance up to 45 µF.

The B3292*E/F series from Iselin, NJ, U.S.–based Epcos Inc. (www.usa.epcos.com) offers capacitance up to 45 µF in smaller dimensions. Suresh Chandran, director of marketing for capacitors, says this feature combination makes it possible to design EMI filters with just one capacitor—a major benefit for engineers. “Appliance engineers usually struggle to find sufficient space to assemble multiple smaller-value capacitors to get the required capacitance,” he says. “Using this new series, they can design in a single capacitor and save space or PCB real estate.”

The X2 safety class components were designed using what Chandran calls “innovative metallization profiles.” This refers to the type, shape, thickness, and nature of the metallization process used to create the capacitor. “Combining our past knowledge with innovative ideas and our in-house film metallization capability, we were able to come up with a unique metallization profile that helped us to achieve this [high capacitance],” Chandran explains. “EMI film capacitors were originally not considered to be able to go beyond the 10 µF range. Epcos has not only achieved 45 µF, but also reinforced the high-voltage capabilities, which surely have an edge over other technologies.”

Developing the capacitors meant overcoming two design challenges—maintaining the dv/dt in smaller capacitors due to a reduced contact area, and avoiding the damage to the dielectric due to excess energy storage in larger capacitors. According to Chandran, company engineers met this challenge by drawing from years of prior development experience, while keeping in mind the available raw materials. “I would say that we used the right combination of dielectric thickness, innovative metallization profiles and special processing steps, and the dedicated efforts of our engineering team,” he says.

The series offers improved noise suppression in the upper frequency range due to higher resonant frequencies. Moreover, the reduction of soldering points is said to simplify testing and improve the reliability of EMI filters. Other features include a 305 V ac rating; maximum temperature of 125°C; and IEC 60384-14, UL 1283, and CSA 22.2 No. 8 approvals.

Possible applications include EMI filters used in most appliances, including refrigerators, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and blenders. The large capacitance values make the new series especially suitable for filtering applications that require the suppression of high harmonic frequencies.

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