Exar: A new direction

-July 27, 2013

I recently spoke to Parviz Ghaffaripour, who joined Exar as Senior Vice President of Connectivity and Power Management Products, reporting to President and CEO, Louis DiNardo.

Ghaffaripour most recently served as CEO of Akros Silicon a privately funded power management company located in Sunnyvale, California. Prior to Akros, he was Chief Operating Officer at Advanced Analogic Technologies which was acquired by Skyworks. Mr. Ghaffaripour has held technical and executive management roles at Maxim Integrated Products and National Semiconductor. He earned his B.S.E.E. at the University of California, Berkeley and his M.S.E.E. at Santa Clara University. Mr. Ghaffaripour has come full circle since he began his career at Exar in 1984.

He obviously has credentials. What are his plans? Ghaffaripour told me that one of the new directions he is taking power management products, starts with the term “power management”. He claims that with modern energy standards and emphasis on efficiency, “energy management” is the key term upon which to focus. Solutions that are flexible for the designer are created, especially for the system architect, so they can change the system and ultimately do power management.

I asked him about plans for digital power management and he told me that this is a misused term, it’s only a few digital components (Editor: I like to call it digitally-assisted analog power). We need to look at the “big picture” from the view of the systems architect in order to ascertain what power management scheme should be employed according to the system needs.

Ghaffaripour sees these trends in power management:

  • Intelligent power supplies

            *Power telemetry and energy monitoring and conservation

            *High level of integration for FPGA and SoC requirements

  • Proliferation of low voltage rails

            *Energy conservation

            *Faster clock speeds and smaller geometries

  • Module power

            *Ease of use for industrial infrastructure applications

            *Compact, reliable design for infrastructure designs

So Exar’s Programmable power management solutions, the PowerXR family, combine digital power conversion control and monitoring technology with high performance analog circuitry along with programmable power-management system solutions. PowerXR enables system architects to create innovative products with advanced, intelligent, switching power supplies that significantly reduce wasted power and improve overall time to market compared to legacy analog power-supply regulators.

The XRP7704 is a prime example of Exar’s view of Programmable power. This is a Quad-Channel, High-Current Programmable Power Management System.  The device provides a complete power management solution in one IC and is fully programmable via the included I2C serial interface. Independent Digital Pulse Width Modulator (DPWM) channels regulate output voltages and provide all required protection functions such as current limiting and over-voltage protection.

Ghaffaripour’s other area of focus will be Connectivity. He says that this is the largest business within Exar at this time with UARTs being the biggest seller.

As for other analog components on the horizon, Exar’s Cadeka acquisition in early July this year, will enhance their precision analog portfolio.

I am keeping my eye on this company, since Ghaffaripour will bring new energy into this 42 year old company. Already 2013 has shown marked growth every quarter in Operating Income as compared with 2008 through 2012 losses.

I really like seeing companies like Exar re-focusing on analog and power in this tough and challenging economic environment and technologically growing world.

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