APEC Showcases Innovative Power Products

24 March 2017

The world of power electronics will take center stage at the Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition, being held this year from March 26 through March 30 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. APEC will feature dozens of educational seminars and technical sessions highlighting the latest trends in power components, systems and technologies.

For many power design engineers, the show’s centerpiece is its product exposition taking place March 27 through March 29. This year, some 240 companies are expected to highlight their products and technologies that reflect the industry’s demand for more efficient power systems to drive key trends such as hybrid electric vehicles, the Internet of Things and portable and mobile electronics.

Semiconductor Developments

One key development area is power semiconductors, where new technologies such as gallium nitride and silicon carbide are promising performance benefits that make them viable alternatives to traditional silicon technologies.

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC), which is pioneering enhancement-mode gallium nitride on silicon (eGaN) power field-effect transistors (FETs), will demonstrate a number of applications using eGaN technology in booth #530. One is a single tabletop implementing a high-power resonant wireless charging solution capable of supporting a wide range of devices, including cell phones, notebook computer, monitor and table lamps.

EPC will also demonstrate its latest high-performance 100/200V eGaN FETs, which the company claims cuts the size of its devices in half while tripling performance. This virtuous cycle of smaller size, lower costs and higher performance is expanding the gap in both performance and cost between eGaN FETs and ICs and the aging power MOSFET, the company claims.

TI’s ISOW7841 integrates both isolated data and power and reportedly offers the industry's highest efficiency and lowest emissions. Source: TI TI’s ISOW7841 integrates both isolated data and power and reportedly offers the industry's highest efficiency and lowest emissions. Source: TI Texas Instruments (booth 701) will show an end-to-end gallium nitride (GaN) solution revolutionize data center AC-to-processor power density by over 3x, with TI's GaN technology clocking in at over seven million device reliability hours. The company is demonstrating a range of GaN parts, including power stages, gate drivers and analog and digital controllers.

Navitas Semiconductor will present technical papers discussing what the company claims is the first integrated half-bridge gallium nitride (GaN) power IC. Half-bridge circuits are essential building blocks in power electronics, used in everything from smartphone chargers and laptop adapters to TVs, solar panels, data centers and electric vehicles.

Half-bridge GaN power IC monolithically integrates all power and switching functions. Half-bridge GaN power IC monolithically integrates all power and switching functions. Navitas says that its proprietary 'AllGaN' half-bridge GaN power IC with iDrive monolithically integrates all the functions required to deliver switching speeds of up to 2 MHz and enable a dramatic reduction in size, cost and weight while delivering faster charging. The company’s first half-bridge GaN power IC is the 650 V-rated NV6250, in a 6 mm x 8 mm QFN package complete with dual drivers, level shifter, dual 560 mΩ power FETs, boot-strap circuit and extensive protection features.

In silicon carbide semiconductors, Wolfspeed (Booth 1110) will demonstrate its newly designed low-inductance packaging as well as the new 900 V 10mΩ silicon carbide MOSFET for EV drive train applications, and the hardware for a 20 kW two-level full-bridge LLC resonant converter using 1,000 V SiC MOSFETs in a new TO-247-4L package.

Wolfspeed will also demonstrate an evaluation unit that uses standard components to optimize three-phase SiC power module designs for improved performance, efficiency, thermal management, and circuit protection. The evaluation kit uses Wolfspeed’s HT-3291-R-VB SiC power module containing four new 900V 10mOhm MOSFETs per switch position enclosed in a redesigned package with >3kV isolation voltage and ITGD2-3011 gate driver.

Aside from GaN, Texas Instruments is showing a new single-chip reinforced isolator with integrated power that offers 80 percent higher efficiency than existing integrated devices. Compared to discrete solutions, the ISOW7841 integrates both isolated data and power, enabling a smaller bill of materials (BOM) and reduced board space, as well as helping with easier and faster system certification.

TI claims that the chip reduces device operating temperature by up to 40° C, enabling higher power delivery, higher channel count and longer system lifetime than other integrated solutions. The ISOW7841 supports an input voltage range of 3 V to 5.5 V, while delivering 0.65 W of output power. The chip also reduces radiation emissions by more than 10 dB, minimizing system noise and providing robust electromagnetic compatibility to meet International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61000-4-x standards for electrostatic discharge and electrical fast transient events.

Analog and mixed-signal product supplier Exar Corporation will highlight three families of devices in Booth 511. The first is its series of high density power modules featuring very small footprints. Devices in this series range from a 3 A, 40 V module in a compact 8 mm x 8 mm package to a 20 A, 22 V module in a 12 mm x 14 mm package, and are fully integrated power modules that include MOSFETs, inductors and internal input and output capacitors.

Exar will also show its advanced DrMOS (Driver plus MOSFETs), containing a synchronous buck gate driver packaged with both half bridge MOSFETs. The package design provides very low thermal impedance and minimizes parasitic inductances to improve EMI performance.

Exar’s third new product on display is what the company claims is the industry's only 40 V, 8 A synchronous switching regulator with AEC-Q100 qualification for automotive applications such as infotainment head units and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Members of this family are synchronous step-down regulators designed to provide a wide input voltage range and an adjustable output voltage down to 0.6 V while providing excellent transient response and output accuracy over the entire voltage range.

Semtech Corporation (Booth 1525), will showcase its diverse power management platform, This includes the company’s LinkCharge™ wireless charging platform, Neo-Iso™ isolated power switches for Internet of Things (IoT) and smart applications, and WLED backlight solutions for automotive infotainment systems. Other demonstrations include general power management and high-reliability solutions for telecommunications and industrial equipment, portable devices, computers and networks.

Mersen (Booth 1303) will unveil two high power density DC-AC Inverter stack reference models. The stack reference models were assembled under the "Integrated Architecture" approach in close collaboration with partners Infineon, AgileSwitch and FTCAP, and optimized by Mersen Cooling and Bus Bar engineering teams.

This integrated architecture approach allows inverter designers to save time and confusion in selecting individual components; designers can greatly benefit from a solution that is optimally pre-designed for their specific application. Power modules, bus bar, cooling, gate drivers and capacitors can now be optimally designed together in one step to address electrical, mechanical and thermal challenges of the system.

Passive Components

As many power applications rely on passive components to perform sensing and various power circuit functions, these parts too will be on display at APEC.

AVX Corp. (Booth 1024) will launch two new capacitor series for electric vehicle and hybrid electric vehicle applications. The FHC1 and FHC2 capacitors are used in conjunction with IGBT modules to prevent ripple currents from reaching back to the power source, and to smooth out DC bus voltage variations in electric vehicles and hybrid-electric vehicles.

Vishay’s IHLE inductors, offered in automotive and commercial grades, eliminate the need for separate board-level Faraday shielding. Source: Vishay. Vishay’s IHLE inductors, offered in automotive and commercial grades, eliminate the need for separate board-level Faraday shielding. Source: Vishay. Vishay Inc. (Booth 1101) will show a number of new capacitors, resistors, and inductors. One series is the Vishay Dale Automotive Grade IHLE-2525CD-5A, IHLE-3232DD-5A and IHLE-4040DD-5A inductors and commercial IHLE-2525CD-51, IHLE-3232DD-51 and IHLE-4040DD-51 inductors that eliminate the need for separate board-level Faraday shielding. The devices contain the electric field associated with EMI in a tin-plated copper integrated shield, providing up to -20 dB of electric field reduction at 1 cm () when the integrated shield is connected to ground.

Ametherm (Booth 1426) will showcase its wide range of NTC and PTC inrush current limiting thermistors for reliable circuit protection in high-power, high-voltage applications. Included are the MS35 series of NTC thermistors for applications such as solar inverters, battery chargers and DC/DC converters.

Designed to withstand high input energy from 500 J to 900 J and steady-state currents from 10 A to 50 A, the devices offer resistance from 0.5 Ω to 20 Ω and thermal time constants from 65 s to 240 s. The thermistors, with diameters of 37 mm and 38 mm and thickness down to 6.50 mm, are designed to handle the same amount of energy as power resistors in a smaller package, saving board space.

Saving Energy

The power industry is also seeking to improve energy utilization in end-user applications such as data centers. CUI Inc. (Booth 311) will demonstrate its latest Software Defined Power® hardware solutions as a part of the partnership with Virtual Power Systems (VPS).

The ICE (Intelligent Control of Energy) system is a software and hardware platform developed by CUI and VPS that leverages existing infrastructure to optimize power utilization within data centers. Using advanced software, ICE delivers more power within the data center by intelligently and dynamically allocating power to racks, branch circuits and IT nodes, with constant awareness of power consumption needs across the data center topology. According to CUI, the ICE system enables data center operators to realize a 15-25 percent reduction in operating costs and a 40-60 percent reduction in capital expenditures.

The booth will feature a Software Defined Power kiosk with a live demo highlighting the system’s peak shaving and dynamic redundancy capabilities.

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