The Integrated Simulation Environment for Power ModulesOctober 24, 2015 by Mirko Haardt
This article highlights Vincotech GmbH integrated simulation environment software designed to provide customers the opportunity to preselect power modules.
Various power modules are available for every field of application. Different topologies, technologies and diverse housings can fit to one application with their particular pros and cons. Vincotech gives customers the opportunity to preselect power modules with the help of the simulation environment VincotechISE. This tool is available as a free download on Vincotech’s homepage.
Meanwhile the new VincotechISE is released; the upgraded version of the already known simulation environment for Vincotech’s standard power modules. It is a set of integrated simulation tools designed to help you to select power modules for various applications. All power loss and temperature calculations are based on real measurements, taken of each module. A continuous updating process guarantees a latest set of power modules.
The updated VincotechISE features the first version’s tools flowSOL, flowSIM and flowSEL. Additionally flowMIS, as well as the new thermal simulation tool called flowTHERM are available on request as an add-on to VincotechISE. These software components are here to support your efforts to develop power electronic applications and find the power module best suited for the task at hand.
The simulation environment starts with a complete overview of all available power modules divided by several application fields. In this table the modules are sorted by topology and housing; from the smallest flow0B housing to the next bigger flow0 until flow2 derivates to the high power flowSCREW solutions and the four MiniSKiiP sizes. This makes it easy to find the right product family for your application. Besides a new search function eases the start of your simulation in case of an already selected module by entering the product name.
A click on one of the simulation buttons directly leads to the application related simulation tool, after the desired product family is selected. The right choice for solar applications is flowSOL, flowSIM should be used for industrial drives purposes.
flowSOL / flowSIM features
The simulation tool flowSOL contains all relevant modules for solar applications. It is tailored to this application field with its parameter setup and the different function blocks like Input Booster, H-Bridge, HF-Rectifier (both for transformer based solar-inverters) and inverter.
The flowSIM tool calculates Vincotech’s power modules for industrial drive applications. Its user interface looks much like that of the flowSOL tool but containing different function blocks for drives power module solutions: Rectifier, PFC shunt, PFC, Brake, Inverter Shunt, Inverter.
Both user interfaces provide several entry masks where you can adjust all the key parameters. Basically the main windows consist of two panels. The top panel contains all modules’ parameters and the simulation section; the bottom panel shows graphs with information on voltage, current, temperature and losses.
The simulation starts with preset parameters as the basis, just after a module is selected. A change in the parameter setup, e.g. switching frequency or input voltage, is directly adapted to the output graphs. So, the effect on the modules’ behavior of every little parameter change can be studied.
A click on one of the three simulation buttons opens additional windows containing more details about losses, Rth, temperature, etc. These windows show exact information about single components of the module. Therefore the desired semiconductor has to be chosen in the component selector above, e.g. Buck Switch, Boost Diode. This allows you to explore the whole module step by step to get a detailed idea of the module’s behavior.
If the desired power module is selected, flowSOL and flowSIM give the opportunity to combine this module with another one. For example, if an inverter module is selected, in flowSOL a right click on the “Input Booster” box allows you to choose a booster module to get both simulated at once. In flowSIM, for instance, an inverter can be combined with a rectifier or PFC equally and so on.
The power module selector flowSEL is the well known tool which helps especially industrial drives customers to select the most suitable power module for each application. The clear user interface is divided into three parts; an interactive schematic to enter all relevant application parameters, a table containing all suitable power module families and three graphs with most important information on output currents, power losses and junction temperatures.
The user friendly interactive half-bridge schematic helps you to adjust all related electrical parameters. Additionally the number of matched power modules changes by setting the allowed average junction temperature or just by a preselection of the desired product family. A button above the grid symbol gives the opportunity to change between motor and generator mode; change of the power flow direction. Every input reduces the number of selectable power modules step by step until the desired power module remains.
If you figured out the most suitable module with the help of flowSEL, maybe more detailed information is needed in regard of the module’s behavior to decide if the selected module is the right choice. Then the simulation tool for industrial drives applications flowSIM should be used to execute a detailed simulation.
VincotechISE Add-on tools
The two following simulation tools flowMIS and the new flowTHERM are not part of the standard setup of VincotechISE and available on request only.
flowMIS is the tool of choice for simulating an industrial drive application’s power and temperature characteristics based on a known mission profile.
If a power module is already selected you have the opportunity to take a look at the modules behavior under a given mission profile of your application
First you have to pick the desired module. In the next step the profile table has to be filled out with the following parameters: time step in seconds, DC voltage, output voltage and current, output frequency, switching frequency and cos phi. You are allowed to enter as much time steps as you need to get the most accurate result. The two helpful graphs on the left display the entered mission profile. The graphs on the right show as a result the dissipated power and the temperature of the devices in the module.
flowTHERM features The powerful new simulation tool flowTHERM was introduced with the previous VincotechISE version. As its name suggests, this tool allows you to take a look inside to analyze the module‘s thermal behavior. flowTHERM is based on a constantly growing power module database defined by real measurements in Vincotech labs.
The user interface is broadly similar to flowSOL and flowSIM but with some crucial differences. On the first sight you have the opportunity to see the temperature distribution within the desired module through a thermal picture. Here a thermal picture of the DCB containing the positions of the mounted components is displayed. A move with the curser over the components or DCB areas allows you to see the expected temperature at this special point to gain knowledge about junction temperatures and thermal coupling in different operation modes. The bar chart below the thermal picture is there to add a concrete power loss value to the colored components according to the thermal distribution.
VincotechISE is a powerful, cost saving tool to speed up your development. It helps to find the most suitable power module for your application in a fast and comfortable way and enables you to earn a deep knowledge of these power electronics devices even before you start your first prototype measurements. A continuous update process guarantees a state of the art database including all latest product families of Vincotech power modules. Real measurements as a foundation of this database make VincotechISE a reliable and accurate tool for your development.
About the Author
Mirko Haardt received his degree in Electrical Engineering at University of Siegen. He worked as a Sales Manager at Vincotech GmbH that is an established, reliable partner in designing and building power modules for motion control, renewable energy, and power supply applications, setting performance standards for both off-the-shelf and application specific solutions.