Recent publications from the European Commission have given details on the “European Green Deal”. The focus of the Green Deal is to boost the efficient use of resources across many different areas in order to move to a cleaner, circular economy. The model of “take-make-use-discard” has reached it limits and if this model continues to progress, then we move closer and closer towards a resource crisis.
Instead, the belief is that a circular economic model is the path forward, where there is more sustainable use of resources due to more sustainable production, consumption and better waste management. We need to have products that are designed to last longer and if there is a failure, we can either have the product fixed or recycled in an environmentally friendly way. The responsibility to meet this policy extends all the way through the supply chain and includes electronics suppliers. This is where ASICs can really make a difference.
What if we had advanced warning of product malfunction?
For many years, the electronics industry has been focused on moving towards a greener future. The regulations such as RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) and REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) have been broadly implemented. More and more products are being released to the market that are lower in power and thus support greener initiatives. But what other steps can help? If we consider the desire to repair or upgrade products rather than disposing of them in a landfill, what solutions can be developed to help further this drive?
We all know the saying “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”, however we have also been at the receiving end of this, where a product may have been showing signs of breakdown and we ignored it. When the product finally died, the only option was discarding it and replacing with something new. But what if we had prior warning of a serious issue and could react and have the product fixed? We’d save the cost of buying something new and we’d have a positive impact on the environment.
Benefits of using an ASIC for condition monitoring
How do you add such condition monitoring to a system? If you are having to add more components to perform this functionality, are you not creating an additional environmental problem? The solution is simple with the use of application specific silicon. With an ASIC solution, all the condition monitoring circuitry can be placed on the same chip with all the required electronics for the core function of the product. Monitoring can be built in to report system status for enhanced user information and for fault diagnosis.
You have less components on your board and the functionality is in place to monitor and flag any performance issues before they become catastrophic failures. There is the additional benefit of reducing the overall cost of your bill of materials by integrating the functionality of several components onto a single chip. Through integration you can also better budget for the overall power consumption of the chip and incorporate this into the design, thus having a positive green impact.