Industry events bring engineers and vendors together to show and learn about the latest solutions in power management and motion control

By Alix Paultre, contributing editor

Industrialization has been a force in human society since complex
machines became a reality. Watermills became steam-driven factories, which are
now becoming smart facilities. The current drive to Industry 4.0 may become
Industry 5.0 while our backs are turned as artificial intelligence (AI) is
injected into the mix. Properly integrated software and hardware can address
almost any application that they are applied to today.

However, one critical aspect of any societal change is the
infrastructure required. The iPod wasn’t just a marvel of consumer technology;
it was also the tip of a massive iTunes content infrastructure iceberg. Without
developed core technologies and established functional infrastructures, no real
progress can be made.

That’s why the electronics industry congregates at events like the
Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC), coming to Anaheim, California, in
2019, and the recent Power Control and Intelligent Motion (PCIM) conference in Nuremberg,
Germany, and why they are so important.  These events bring engineers and
vendors together to show and learn about the latest solutions in power
management and motion control.

The great thing about the electronics industry is that the
magnitude of the news isn’t a factor of the size and budget of the companies
creating it because engineering is about the quality of the solution, not the
loudness of the announcement. New devices, services, and partnerships are what
make the industry move forward.

New topologies and technologies
One of the bigger pieces of news isn’t actually a product yet but
promises to be. A startup called Pre-Switch unveiled a new power topology to the
marketplace at PCIM. The key lies in its core technology, called Pre-Flex, that
uses an embedded AI-driven controller chip to effectively eliminate transistor
switching losses in hard-switched power architectures.

If the solution turns out to perform as promised, it would greatly
help power applications in the server, solar, wind, electric vehicle, traction,
and motor drive markets. According to the company, Pre-Flex technology learns
and adapts “in-system” on a cycle-by-cycle basis to reliably force resonant
soft-switch across changing loads and input voltages.

Beyond the hot news of the Pre-Switch topology, there was a lot of
other cool technology at the show. The Vicor Power-on-Package solution was an
example of some of the interesting solutions demonstrated as it established a
new benchmark in power density for 48 V directly to CPU/GPU power rails.

Vicor Corp. unveiled
its Power-on-Package ChiP-set including modular current multipliers (MCMs) for
high-performance GPU, CPU, and ASIC processors. The devices multiply current
and divide voltage from a 48-V source to enable higher levels of XPU performance.
Power-on-Package modules build upon Factorized Power Architecture, which
supports efficient power distribution and direct conversion from 48-V to sub-1-V
XPUs.

Owing to their high-density, low-profile package (46 x 8 x 2.7 mm)
and low-noise attributes, MCMs are suitable for co-packaging within the XPU
substrate or adjacent to it. Close proximity to the XPU eliminates substantial
power loss and bandwidth limitations incurred in “last-inch” current delivery
from the boundaries of 12-V multi-phase regulators.

Alpha
and Omega Semiconductor
introduced
a family of EZBuck regulators featuring I2C control. The 4-A AOZ2231CQI-01 and
the 8-A AOZ2233CQI-02 provide a compact, efficient power converter solution for
next-generation chipsets and FPGAs used in advanced embedded systems. With
microprocessors and SoCs often using dynamic voltage scaling, the 4-A
AOZ2231CQI-01 and the 8-A AOZ2233CQI-02 allow the system designer to control
the output voltage from 0.6 V to 1.79 V using an I2C interface with 9.375-mV steps.

Both the 4-A and the 8-A devices are available in
footprint-compatible QFN 4 x 4-mm packages, allowing designers an easy upgrade
path as power requirements increase. The devices
operate over an input voltage range from 6.5 V to 28 V and have a built-in 5.3-V
regulator, making single-supply operation possible. The proprietary COT
architecture provides ultra-fast load transient response performance and allows
stable and low-voltage ripple operation with small ceramic capacitors.

Wide-bandgap semiconductors
Wolfspeed
, a
Cree Company, showed several of its latest solutions, including the company’s
third-generation 1,200-V silicon-carbide (SiC) MOSFET family. This switching
device, which enables high-voltage power conversion, is useful in both
industrial and electric vehicle applications. Wolfspeed’s new C3M 1,200-V SiC
MOSFET technology is capable of handling high current with the industry’s
lowest drain-source on-resistance (RDS(on)) performance at 1,200 V and the
lowest switching losses, giving it the highest figure of merit on the market
currently.

Infineon Technologies AG announced
that it will have volume production for its CoolGaN products by the end of
2018, with engineering samples available now. Presented as one of the most
reliable and globally qualified GaN solutions in the market, the devices go
through a quality management process that not only tests the device but also
its behavior in the application.

ON Semiconductor is
expanding its SiC Schottky diode portfolio, adding AEC-Q101 automotive-grade
SiC diodes for demanding automotive applications. Available in surface-mount
and through-hole packages, including TO-247, D2PAK, and DPAK, the diodes have
no reverse-recovery current, and switching performance is independent of
temperature. They also have a novel termination structure that improves
reliability and stability, with an operating temperature range from –55°C to
175°C.

ON Semiconductor’s SiC diodes for automotive apps. Image Source: ON Semiconductor.

Of course, driving your transistors is as important as the devices
themselves, and AgileSwitch is addressing the latest wide-bandgap designs with
the ASC1 (AgileSwitch Software Configurable Core 1) SiC MOSFET gate driver
core.  Features include software-configurable Vgs, a robust
high-noise-immunity design, advanced monitoring and fault reporting, and a
compact form factor. The drivers are available with a family of tested
reference adapter boards to help provide compatibility with most SiC MOSFET
modules.

The ASC1 driver core features a configurable gate voltage and uses
the company’s software-configurable augmented turn-off (ATOff) technology. The
ASC1 gate driver core is designed for harsh, high-noise environments and is
available with conformal coating. It is equipped with powerful diagnostic and
troubleshooting tools and it continuously monitors critical parameters such as
temperature and DC link voltage.

Solutions for demanding applications
KEMET
is targeting industrial and automotive
markets with a series of power film capacitors that meet the requirements of
AEC-Q200. The new RoHS-compliant capacitors have a polypropylene metallized
film construction and are available as two or four radial-leaded board-mount
devices.

Available values for the C4AQ series range from 1.0 µF to 130 µF,
with additional sampling for 170 µF and 210 µF. Voltage values span from 500
Vdc to 1,500 Vdc. Devices from the C4AF series are designed for use in more
demanding and harsh applications and are offered in capacitance values up to 62
µF with voltage ratings up to 400 VAC.

The power film capacitors are also well-suited for high-frequency
applications, with rectangular, resin-filled enclosures and an array of
application benefits including self-healing characteristics and low losses. Additional
features include high-ripple-current values, high-capacitance density, and
high-contact reliability, with an operating temperature range from –55°C to 105°C.

The DVC 1000-P for insulated nominal-voltage measurements in
traction and industrial applications from LEM USA
Inc.
uses isolating amplifier technology.
With a safety insulation voltage of 4.2 kV, the DVC 1000-P transducer measures
only 37 x 43 x 23. 5 mm and mounts with a total volume of 37.4 cm3.

The DVC 1000-P is compliant with the International Railway
Industry Standards and can measure DC link, an output voltage of inverter,
input voltage of four-quadrant converters, or a battery voltage. The DVC 1000-P
transducer measures voltages by a direct connection on its primary side. An
isolated signal creates a voltage at the transducer output connections that is
an exact representation of the primary voltage. No additional components are
necessary; it just has to be connected to the voltage to be measured.

Overall accuracy is ±1% at 25°C with a high stability in
temperature leading to an overall accuracy of ±1.5% from –40°C to 85°C. Its
measurement frequency bandwidth (–3-dB point) is 47 kHz, and the DVC 1000-P
consumes only 35 mA at no primary voltage when power supplied is under +5 VDC.

The Power
Integrations
SCALE-iDriver
gate-driver IC family has two parts that are now certified to AEC-Q100 Grade
Level 1 for automotive use. The two parts, the SID1132KQ and SID1182KQ, can
drive 650-V, 750-V, and 1,200-V automotive IGBT and SiC-MOSFET modules and are
rated for peak currents of ±2.5 A and ±8 A respectively.

PS0818_Alix-Paultre_Power-Integrations

Power Integrations’ SCALE-iDriver family for automotive use. Image Source: Power Integrations.

The FluxLink magneto-inductive bi-directional communication
technology provides reinforced galvanic isolation between the primary and
secondary sides to eliminate the need for optoelectronics. Their compact and
robust eSOP package offers a CTI level of 600, 9.5-mm creepage and clearance
distance, and easily meets automotive 5,500-m requirements.

The latest generation of reinforced isolated power converters from
Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) allow systems to meet EN
55022/CISPR 22 Class B electromagnetic interference (EMI) requirements. The
ADuM5020/6020 and ADuM5028/6028 series eliminate the need for costly EMI
mitigation techniques at the application level and simplify the EMI
certification process.

Emerging safety-critical applications like industrial programmable
logic controllers require compact and dense isolated designs, and use of these
devices can achieve emissions targets on a two-layer PCB, which reduces the
solution size by as much as 70% and decreases the material cost by 30% compared
to a four-layer board.

Building upon ADI’s iCoupler and isoPower chip-scale transformer
technologies, the new 500-mW DC/DC power converters support high temperature
operation up to 125°C in a small 8-lead form factor.

Test and measurement is always a battle to stay ahead of the
systems that you are testing. Tektronix’s latest probing solutions address the
latest advances in wide-bandgap semiconductors and power topologies. Based on
optical technology, its IsoVu family of probes offers complete galvanic
isolation between the test point and the oscilloscope. IsoVu has a 1-million-to-1
common-mode rejection ratio up to 100 MHz and 10,000-to-1 common-mode rejection
up to 1 GHz, with no derating as frequency increases.

Nexperia announced
that two of its LFPAK56-packaged portfolio of MOSFETs have improved creepage
and clearance to meet UL2595 requirements for battery-powered equipment rated
between 15 V and 32 V. Unlike some competing Power-SO8 types, which are
constructed using wire bonding, Nexperia’s LFPAK56 package uses a copper clip that
is soldered in a single operation to the surface of the die, reducing spreading
resistance and improving electrical and thermal characteristics while
increasing reliability.

PS0818_Alix-Paultre_Nexperia

Nexperia’s LFPAK56-packaged portfolio of MOSFETs for battery-powered equipment. Image Source: Nexperia.

The
new PSMN0R9-30ULD and PSMN1R0-40ULD N-channel MOSFETs in the enhanced SOT1023A
package feature a creepage distance of 1.5 mm and a clearance distance of 1.55 mm.
The PSMN0R9-30ULD device is rated at 30 V, offering 0.87 mΩ and 300 A, while
the PSMN1R0-40ULD is rated at 40 V with 1.1 mΩ and 280 A.