Technical Article

An Intelligent IGBT Module for Single-Ended Induction Heating Applications: All-in-One Solution for Induction Cooking System

August 28, 2017 by Wonjin Cho

This article introduces Alpha & Omega Semiconductors' new IGBT Module that is specifically designed for induction heating (IH) applications, the IPM6.

Induction heating (IH) application has developed with requirements of higher efficiency, compactness, cost-effectiveness, and reliability. Even with a simple structure, the single-ended IH system operates in high power condition as a domestic application with various transient modes. Due to resonant operation, the IGBT, suffers ~1 kV of blocking voltage and ~40 A of peak conduction current. As a consequence, the system requires robust protections for certain abnormal conditions such as surge input and high temperature. An intelligent IGBT module, so-called AlphaIPMTM-IPM6, shown in Figure 1, provides multiple protective functions to meet market requirements and boost system reliability. The footprint of the package is the same as that of the TO-247 standard package, which is popularly used in quasi-resonant IH applications.


Alpha IPMTM-IPM6, Intelligent IGBT for single-ended induction heating applications
Figure 1: Alpha IPMTM-IPM6, Intelligent IGBT for single-ended induction heating applications.


Conventional Protective Functions in IPM6

IPM6 provides general protective functions which are used in motion control IPMs such as over-voltage lock-out (OVLO), under-voltage lock-out (UVLO), temperature monitoring and over-temperature (OT) protection. When the supply of the control IC exceeds trigger level, 22 V, the OVLO function blocks the input PWM signal so that the output signal stays in low state until OVLO is reset at 21 V. The UVLO function disables to output at 11 V and reset at 12 V. These OVLO and UVLO are designed for conventional auxiliary voltage range of 15 to 18V. OT protection is activated at the temperature of 120°C triggering the fault-out (FO) signal and is deactivated when the temperature decreases to 85°C releasing FO signal.

The temperature value of the control IC is represented as the voltage value at the VOT pin of the IPM6 as shown in Figure 2. The monitored voltage has a range between 0 to 5 V for the temperature during the normal operational, which is compatible to the sensing input range of the conventional 5 V microcontroller. OT protection level is 130°C with reset level of 100°C. With OT protection, fault out signal is activated to indicate abnormal working condition.


Temperature monitoring characteristic
Figure 2: Temperature monitoring characteristic


Soft-Start Function

Practical single-ended IH systems start their operation by load detection control. Single or multiple pulses turn on the IGBT at the start-up, and corresponding current or voltage responses are fed back to the microcontroller. During the load detection, single-ended IH inverter inevitably suffers high inrush current because of empty resonant capacitor. Once the resonance capacitor is charged, single-ended IH inverter operates in zero-voltage switching (ZVS) turn-on. Thus the inrush current at the first turn-on has the most severe level in overall operation. IPM6 has built-in soft start logic, which is implemented by an independent gate driver to limit inrush current. Soft-start function mitigates the peak of inrush current by ~70% as shown in Figure 3, and is disabled until the system restarts from halted operation.


Soft-start function
Figure 3: Soft-start function


Abnormal Turn-On Disable (ATOD) Function

During the normal operation of the single-ended IH system, the IGBT voltage reaches ~1 kV during off-state. If the IGBT is unexpectedly turned on due to noise signal, it suffers severe hard switching which can be a problem in efficiency and reliability. ATOD function maintains the minimum turn-off duration for 10 μs by blocking the input signal from the turn-off edge so that the designated turn-off period is guaranteed. The ATOD function is implemented by internal timing logic of the built-in control IC.


Hard Turn-On Disable (HTOD) Function

HTOD function is designed to prohibit excessively hard turn-on switching of the IGBT in abnormal system conditions like ac supply swell and mal-functional control cases. The HTOD function is implemented by the fast comparator to block any input signals when the sensed voltage of the IGBT is greater than ~450 V. Desired protective level of the IGBT can be adjusted by the conversion ratio of external sensing resistors.


Maximum Duty Cycle Disable (MDCD) Function

The peak conduction current level is proportional to turn-on duration of the IGBT in the single-ended IH system. Because the conduction current is converted to the resonant voltage, the longer turn-on duration more increases IGBT voltage during the resonance. With the conventional switching frequency range of 20 to 30 kHz of single-ended IH system, the designated turn-on duration range is 17 to 25 μs at the half duty cycle. IPM6 limit maximum turn-on duration at 37 μs to prevent excessively long turn-on and corresponding high voltage at the IGBT.


Over-Voltage Clamping Protection (OVCP) function

If an excessive abnormal voltages such as lightning surge or voltage swell are applied to the ac input line of the IH system, IGBT voltage can be increased by several hundred volts even though surge absorbing circuit suppresses those excessive inputs. IGBT voltage rating is chosen to have a blocking margin for such abnormal cases but the increased voltage can even exceed the dynamic breakdown voltage of the IGBT. The purpose OVCP function is to consume the resonant current that is converted to the resonant voltage by partially turning on the IGBT. Partially turned-on IGBT does not experience severe short circuit current because current channel between IGBT collector and emitter is limited by the gate voltage of ~8 V. Once the resonant current is consumed by IGBT, the resonant capacitor is not charged even discharged, so that IGBT voltage does not increase over the destructive level. The clamping level is determined by the hysteresis band, defined by set and reset level, which can be controlled by the external sensing resistance ratio. Once IGBT voltage is settled in the reset level, OVCP function finishes its operation. In this case, the remaining current can charge the resonant capacitor again increasing the IGBT voltage, and then the OVCP function is triggered again. The OVCP function can repeatedly work until IGBT voltage is permanently settled down as shown in Figure 4. The peak voltage of the IGBT is limited by ~1.4 kV which is under the dynamic breakdown voltage of the IGBT.


OVCP function
Figure 4: OVCP function



The new intelligent IGBT module, AlphaIPMTM-IPM, is designed for single-ended induction heating applications up to 2.3 kW. Besides conventional protective functions, designated functions for IH application surely give benefits in system reliability and make a completely new outlook for system designers enabling a far more optimum performance of the resonant converter and cost-effectiveness as well.


About the Author

Wonjin Cho works as a Staff Application Engineer at Alpha and Omega Semiconductor, Inc. He is responsible for performance evaluation for power semiconductors (IGBT, MOSFETs), analyzing detail aspects of static and transient characteristics of power semiconductor,  and comparing and analyzing market-leading power semiconductors. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea, and his Master's Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dino Ge worked as a Marketing Manager at Alpha and Omega Semiconductor since April 2015. He is now promoted as the Senior Product Marketing Manager starting July 2019. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Automation Engineer Technology / Technician at Anhui University of Science and Technology, Huainan, Anhui, China.

Bum-Seok Suh is the Vice President of Alpha and Omega Semiconductor, Sunnyvale, United States. He is responsibility is primarily focused on IGBT and IPM Product Lines. He earned his PhD in Power Electronics at Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea.


This article originally appeared in the Bodo’s Power Systems magazine.