EPC Launches Gallium Nitride Power Electronics at PCIM Europe
Efficient Power Conversion has created a three-phase motor drive inverter that provides smoother, quieter operation and higher efficiency.
Although electric vehicles (EVs) get most of the attention, the market for other aspects of electrification continues to grow. Applications like electric scooters and bicycles, small-size neighborhood EVs, agricultural machinery, forklifts, and even high-power aviation drones and low-cost satellites all have their own requirements for motors, inverters, and motor control systems.
EPC9186, a three-phase BLDC motor drive inverter. Image used courtesy of EPC
One company specializing in technology for such applications is Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC).
EPC has taken advantage of its presence at the PCIM Europe 2023 (Power Conversion and Intelligent Motion) conference in Nuremberg, Germany, to announce the availability of the EPC9186, a three-phase BLDC motor drive inverter using the EPC2302 eGaN FET. The EPC9186 supports a wide input DC voltage ranging from 14 volts to 80 volts. The company was founded in 2007 and, in 2009, delivered its first gallium nitride transistors. Today, EPC has more than 100 products to address the power management market.
GaN provides a higher performance and lower cost alternative to traditional silicon, particularly in next-generation products that require higher levels of efficiency and increased power capability without increased size.
The EPC9186 uses four EPC2302 FETs in parallel per switch position and can deliver up to 200 peak amperes (Apk) maximum output current. The device also contains all the necessary critical function support circuits for use in a complete motor drive inverter. This includes gate drivers, regulated auxiliary power rails for housekeeping supplies, voltage, and temperature sense, accurate current sense, and protection functions. It can also be configured for multiphase DC-DC conversion and will support both phase and leg shunt current sensing.
The major benefits of a GaN-based motor drive systems include lower distortion for lower acoustic noise, lower current ripple for reduced magnetic loss, lower torque ripple for improved precision, and lower filtering for lower cost. This provides smoother, quieter operation and higher efficiency.
Using the New Device
To help out designers who are replacing their silicon MOSFETs with a GaN solution, an EPC GaN Power Bench cross-reference tool can be used to find a suggested replacement for a variety of operating conditions. EPC also can provide full demonstration kits, including interface boards to connect to the inverter and controller boards to improve prototyping response times.
With GaN offering many times the performance of the best silicon power MOSFETs, EPC is in a prime position to aid engineers and designers who are looking at novel and innovative applications in electrification.
The PCIM Europe Conference has been held annually in Nuremberg since 1979. The conference provides an international meeting place for leading industry experts in the fields of power electronics and specialized applications such as energy storage and e-mobility. In addition to highlighting the latest trends in technology, the exhibition covers the entirety of the industry value chain, from manufacturing and components to the latest innovative applications. Of particular interest are the technical presentations from the research and development departments of leading universities and corporations from around the globe.