FINsix Announces Strategic Partnership with Toyota Industries

May 09, 2018 by Paul Shepard

FINsix Corporation today announced its partnership with Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO), a major company of Toyota Group, to develop a new generation of highly miniaturized power electronics modules for hybrid vehicles.

TICO has integrated power electronics components into vehicles for more than a decade. FINsix's high frequency switching technology delivers a substantial size and weight reduction compared to traditional power converters. It also has best-in-class efficiency, making a meaningful extension of battery runtime.

The two companies are collaborating under a recently signed research and development agreement. TICO intends to offer this new class of small, lightweight and high efficiency power electronics modules based on FINsix's technology.

The first prototype will come in 2019. These power electronics modules provide significant benefits to hybrid vehicles.

Ken Morikawa, CEO of FINsix, said, "We are thrilled to partner with the market leader in the automobile industry. This power electronics module is very different from FINsix's first product offering, a 65W ac-dc laptop charger called the Dart, and shows that our power conversion technology is applicable for many applications and power levels."

FINsix technology overview

"Rising semiconductor losses pose the first challenge as frequency increases. FINsix mitigates these losses by utilizing fully-resonant topologies such as the Class-Φ2 converters. Such circuits enforce switch commutation by sloshing reactive energy among the switch parasitics and the circuit elements. This ensures voltage and current as viewed from the switch ports are orthogonal for the switch transition, dropping switching loss to very low levels," stated Dr. Anthony Sagneri, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at FINsix.

"In addition, since the energy stored in the device parasitic capacitance is moved to a complementary reactance each cycle, most is recovered. This results in very small energy loss per switch transition, allowing for much higher switching frequency. The resulting VHF operation is what permits the use of tiny capacitors and air-core inductors, the latter completely avoiding magnetic core loss.

"The Class-Φ2 converter is a constant-frequency, constant-duty-ratio system. By exploiting high bandwidth of the system, it is possible to avoid control and load range issues that are characteristic of other resonant converters. Similarly, we treat the converter cell as a building block. A typical system will have multiple VHF converter cells to satisfy the port constraints. This allows for a scalable and flexible architecture that addresses a wide range of voltage and power requirements.

"It also permits unique opportunities to address classic limitations of achieving small off-line supplies. For instance, our PFC requires much smaller dc-link capacitance. FINsix's technology allows a 3x - 5x reduction in size and 6x reduction in weight of ac-dc laptop power supplies. For other off-line applications, the power density advantage exceeds 10x. To enable these improvements we combine unique power architectures with advanced ASIC design.

"The same chipset that powers our laptop adapters can address a wide range of universal off-line applications at 300W and below, and will ultimately be expandable to significantly higher power levels. Our power systems operate in the 30MHz to 300MHz regime, yet enjoy very high efficiency. The density and high level of integration that this allows will enable further penetration of power electronics into applications such as LED drivers, flatscreen TVs, all-in-one PCs, medical devices, and numerous other platforms," concluded Dr. Sagneri.