Innovative Driver Solutions for all Power Semiconductors: An interview with Rob Weber of AgileSwitch


Henning Wriedt, US-Correspondent at Bodo’s Power Systems

A VIP-Interview with Rob Weber, CEO of AgileSwitch LLC, about the company’s focus on Industrial and Transportation applications.

 

Figure 1: Rob Weber, CEO of AgileSwitch, LLC.

Figure 1: Rob Weber, CEO of AgileSwitch, LLC.

 

Henning Wriedt: Your company was founded in 2010. What were your company charter and your market opportunity at that time and how is it today?

 

Rob Weber: The company charter was simple, bring innovative digital technologies to the world of Analog Power Electronics. Staying true to this charter, we were the first in the market to introduce Digital Monitoring, patented digital communication streams for stacks (AgileStackTM) and Digital Programmable Gate Drivers. The market opportunity has grown significantly to now include SiC MOSFETs in addition to Si IGBTs. Our Digital Programmable Gate Drivers are increasing the rate of adoption of the relatively nascent SiC MOSFETs.

 

Henning Wriedt: How do you view the different semiconductor technologies in power electronics?

 

Rob Weber: SiC and GaN are disrupting many markets that can be easily benefited by the more efficient and smaller systems (such as Transportation, String Solar, RF, etc). However, Si MOSFETs and Si IGBTs continue to dominate cost-sensitive applications. Our goal is to be technology agnostic, providing innovative driver solutions to the whole spectrum of Power Semiconductors.

 

Henning Wriedt: How is your current product portfolio structured?

 

Rob Weber: AgileSwitch is currently focused on Industrial and Transportation applications that use Power Semiconductors in the range of 600V – 3300V. We serve these applications with 3 types of products:

  • Gate Driver ICs
  • Gate Driver Cores
  • Plug & Play Gate Drivers.

Henning Wriedt: What are the most important features of your Augmented SwitchingTM technology?

Rob Weber: Our Patented Augmented SwitchingTM (Figure 2) of multi-level switching results in the following primary benefits:

  • Better Efficiency
  • Reduced EMI
  • Rapid Short Circuit Response

 

Figure 2: Explanation of Augmented Turn-Off

 

In addition to greater control over the efficiency vs voltage overshot tradeoff, our customers chose Augmented Switching over a competing technology to overcome issues related to EMI and Over Current Protection.

Henning Wriedt: Which applications are best suited for your driver cores?

 

Figure 3: Nitesh Satheesh, General Manager, AgileSwitch India Pvt. Ltd.

 

Rob Weber: Our fully software configurable Gate Driver Cores are designed for operation in our primary markets of Industrial and Transportation. Specifically, the cores can be used in Motor Drive, Auxiliary Power Supplies. To support this, we have launched a design center in India, led by our General Manager of AgileSwitch India, Nitesh Satheesh, Figure 3, to develop gate driver applications for customers globally. Nitesh has a growing team of experienced development engineers that he is guiding to support a wide range of customer applications.

 

Henning Wriedt: Can your products be customized?

 

Rob Weber: Yes, our products are fully software configurable, all the gate driver parameters can be customized using our Intelligent Configuration Tools. The Intelligent Configuration Tool comes with preloaded settings for commonly used SiC Modules. These can be used as a starting point by engineers looking to optimize their designs.

 

Henning Wriedt: What can your customers expect from AgileSwitch in the near future?

 

Rob Weber: AgileSwitch is a pioneer in Digital Programmable Gate Drivers. We will release our Gen 2 Gate Driver IC, which features MultiLevel Turn-On. We are also in the process of releasing our qualified 1700V Gate Driver Core for SiC Modules. The holy grail for us is EV, we are in early conversations to design in our Gate Driver ICs.

 

Rob Weber has focused his entire career around starting and building emerging growth technology businesses. Prior to co-founding AgileSwitch, Rob was President of Intellifit Corporation a provider of guaranteed fit technology for on-line apparel shopping. Prior to Intellifit, he served as President of Knoa, an e-learning software company, where he successfully redefined the corporate product strategy and repositioned the company to capitalize on new market opportunities. Prior to Knoa Rob served as President of Elastomeric Technologies, a leading electronic connector manufacturer. Rob is a graduate of the Fisher Program in Management and Technology at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics (B.S.E.) and Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degrees from The Wharton School and School of Engineering.

 

About the Author

Henning Wriedt works as US-Correspondent for Bodos Power Systems magazine that both delivered in print and online formats. With company strength and global understanding of the power electronics market, Bodos Power Systems publication focused exclusively on the technical needs of power electronics engineers. Also, Bodos Power Systems provides the global engineering community with detailed technology, applications, products, and news.

 

Meta Description: 
This article highlights Bodos Power System US-Correspondent driver solutions for power semiconductor with Rob Weber CEO of AgileSwitch, LLC.

Source: Bodo's Power Systems, November 2019