Infineon Technologies has provided further details on its recently announced roadmap – which it dubbed 'The Answer' – for the ongoing future development of high-power IGBT technology. Elaborating on its efforts to evolve from an approach focused on product thinking to one that embraces system understanding, the company revealed technical details on the latest developments.
The platform is based on meeting ever more demanding performance requirements in the four key areas of power density, efficiency, lifetime durability and reliability. It also addresses the increasing need in certain industries to have the flexibility to accommodate custom solutions.
With constant improvements in power chip performance and anticipated adoption of innovative new technologies, Infineon is prioritising new packaging technology and a corresponding change in form factor. To ensure industry adoption, it plans to offer royalty-free licensing of the new packaging.
The new housing for high-power IGBT modules is designed to cover the full voltage range of IGBT chips from 1,2 to 6,5 kV. Principal applications are expected in industrial drives, traction, renewable energy and power transmission. Scalability will simplify system design and manufacturing, while a robust architecture will provide long-term reliability in applications with demanding environmental conditions.
Two housings with different heights are planned. The LV module with up to 6 kV insulation and corresponding creepage distances will house 1,2 kV up to 3,3 kV chips. Two extra AC terminals will allow for higher achievable currents in these voltage classes. The HV module – housing 3,3 kV, 4,5 kV and 6,5 kV chips – will offer up to 10,4 kV insulation and corresponding creepage distances.
The dimensions of these module were chosen to deliver a footprint similar to currently used IHV-A and IHV-B modules. Due to the unchanged depth of 140 mm, identical extruded heatsink profiles can be used. Four modules with a footprint of 140 x 100 mm, mounted without a gap due to an alignment hook, will fit exactly into the space used today by two 140 x 190 mm IHV modules, with a mounting space, to build one phase leg. The current density achieved for this configuration of four paralleled devices is 17% greater than a phase leg with the same footprint formed by two IHV modules using the same chip technology.
This example illustrates how, in comparison to existing products, the modular approach of this packaging leads to considerable flexibility. This concept makes it possible to easily parallel the high-power platform for various applications; the single module is simply a building block for units with higher current ratings. Paralleling of up to four devices will necessitate no derating due to optimised internal and external current sharing.
The terminal arrangement of Infineon´s flexible high-power platform also allows an easy-to-implement “flow through concept”. The DC-link terminals offer a simply structured connection to the capacitor bank and the AC terminals can be paralleled by a single bar. The area in between can be used for an interconnecting PCB carrying driver or the booster stages.
Thanks to a commutation inductance between the upper and lower switch of less than 25 nH for the HV module, in combination with the easy-to-implement flow-through concept, the new platform allows for extremely low stray inductances of the overall commutation loop.
The flexible paralleling concept allows the system builder to replace a multitude of different housings with easily implemented stringed devices, creating savings in purchasing and production efficiency. For example, a high-voltage module portfolio of dual and single switches that is delivered today with modules of 73 x 140 mm, 130 x 140 mm and 140 x 190 mm footprints can be reduced to one device per voltage class used in multiple parallel configurations.
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