New Products From PCIM Europe 2023
Advancing power electronics is one of the keys to increasing EV and power system efficiencies while reducing costs.
New product announcements come fast and furious at the PCIM Europe 2023 (Power Conversion and Intelligent Motion) conference in Nuremberg, Germany. Here are four new product announcements that particularly caught our attention.
Image used courtesy of Power Integrations, Inc.
Cambridge GaN Devices
Cambridge GaN Devices (CDG) is known for its range of energy-efficient gallium nitride (GaN)-based power devices that are helping manufacturers to make greener electronic devices possible. CDG was originally spun-out from Cambridge University in 2016, intending to develop a revolutionary technology in power devices. At PCIM Europe 2023, the company has launched the second series of its ICeGaN 650 V GaN high-electron-mobility transistor (HEMT) family that uses CGD’s smart gate interface to deliver significantly improved overvoltage robustness, higher noise-immune threshold, dV/dt suppression, and ESD protection.
ICeGaN 650 V GaN high-electron-mobility transistor. Image used courtesy of Cambridge GaN Devices
The 650 V H2 ICeGaN transistors are driven similarly to Si MOSFETs, eliminating the need for complex circuitry. The CDG devices can use commercially available industry gate drivers. They can greatly reduce switching losses at high switching frequencies, allowing size and weight reductions. CDG claims the efficiency is 2 percent better than Industry’s best Si MOSFETs in SMPS applications.
Power Integrations, Inc.
At PCIM Europe 2023, Power Integrations, Inc. introduced the SCALE-iFlex LT NTC family of IGBT/SiC module gate drivers. The company is a leader in gate-driver technology for medium- and high-voltage inverter applications. The SCALE-iFlex LT NTC drivers provide Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) data, an isolated temperature measurement of the power module. This allows accurate thermal management of converter systems and is important for systems with multiple modules arrayed in parallel as it can ensure proper current sharing, dramatically enhancing overall system reliability.
Power Integrations notes that the SCALE-iFlex device provides such high performance that one in five modules can be eliminated without losing performance or needing current de-rating. Designers can reduce hardware complexity, including cables and connectors, and ultimately improve the system’s overall performance and reliability.
The company also announced a new, single-channel, plug-and-play gate driver for 190 mm x 140 mm IHM and IHV IGBT modules up to 3300 V. The 1SP0635V2A0D combines Power Integrations’ SCALE-2 switching performance and protection features with a configurable isolated serial output interface. This augments driver programmability and provides comprehensive telemetry reporting for accurate lifetime estimation.
Telemetric data from the gate driver includes accurate temperature and DC link voltage measurement, minimizing external circuitry and reducing system complexity and cost. A status monitor for the device’s fiber-optic interface ensures switching commands are received correctly, while gate monitoring ensures switching commands have been executed properly. This monitoring ensures the power module is operating appropriately.
SCALE-iFlex LT NTC. Image used courtesy of Power Integrations, Inc.
Founded in 1988, California-based Power Integrations is an innovator in semiconductor technologies for high-voltage power conversion. With an emphasis on renewable energy, the company’s products are key building blocks in the clean-power ecosystem and the efficient transmission and consumption of power in applications ranging from milliwatts to megawatts.
Silicon-valley-based Pre-Switch, Inc. claims to have developed the world’s first AI-based forced-resonant, soft-switching technology, embedding AI into its switching devices to solve efficiency and other fundamental challenges, particularly when compared to hard-switching transistors during power conversion. By eliminating transistor switching losses, order of magnitude faster switching frequencies become possible, resulting in smaller size and lower cost power converters and EV drivetrain inverters.
Image used courtesy of Pre-Switch, Inc.
At PCIM Europe, the company announced adding remote update and analysis features to its Pre-Flex AI system-on-chip (SoC). The ability to reprogram its Pre-Flex soft-switching device will allow products under development or those already in the field to be updated to higher performance levels. In addition, the Pre-Flex ICs also now include an embedded digital oscilloscope to allow remote diagnostics and adjustments while the device is operating. Changes and adaptations can be made cycle-by-cycle, which helps minimize losses and maximize efficiency. The company notes that in the future, it may be able to implement preventative maintenance programs using feedback from the device.
PCIM Europe 2023
The PCIM Europe Conference has been held annually in Nuremberg since 1979. The conference provides an international meeting place for leading industry experts in power electronics and specialized applications such as energy storage and e-mobility. The exhibition highlights the latest technology trends, covering the industry value chain from manufacturing and components to the latest innovative applications. Of particular interest are technical presentations from research and development departments of leading universities and corporations worldwide.