Audio products under green microscope

  • 29-Jan-2009 09:53 EST
alpine collection.jpg
Alpine's DDDrive speakers maintain performance at a significantly reduced weight.

In-vehicle media products provider Alpine knows consumers are eco-attuned, which is why the supplier remains driven to develop an "eco-tainment" portfolio.

"From design and development, to manufacturing to final packaging, we're looking at ways to be more efficient in everything we do in order to reduce our carbon footprint," explained Todd Kovach, Vice President and General Manager of Alpine Electronics of America.

Alpine audio speakers have shed heft. "We reduce the weight of speakers now by using lighter weight material such as plastic instead of steel and neodymium magnets instead of ferrite," noted Kovach. Consider that a conventionally designed 6 x 9-in premium speaker made with a steel basket and ferrite magnet weighs approximately 800 g (28 oz).

"But our newer 6-in by 9-in speaker designs have the same or better performance and contribute an approximate 50% weight reduction," said Kovach. "Our 12-channel class D (digital) amplifier is about 35% smaller than a conventionally designed 12-channel class AB (analog) amplifier and is 50% more efficient as well."

The company's class D amplifiers illustrate the production results of a green approach to product development. "We're now able to dramatically reduce footprint size, heat dissipation (wasted energy), and improve the operating efficiency by 50%. Additionally, this allows for smaller gauge wiring to be used in the vehicle, which contributes to reducing system weight," said Kovach.

New Alpine systems with eco-friendly components are under development. "You will see these products in the public domain within the next year or two," said Kovach, adding, "Alpine is developing products that are smaller, lighter, and consume less power."

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