23 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

Inverter cubes pack in the power

Inverter cubes pack in the power

Smaller drives manufacturers will be able to compete more effectively in high-power applications, following the development of a range of modular IGBT inverters for applications up to 900kW. The air-cooled modules, developed by the power semiconductor specialist, Semikron, deliver power densities (up to 7.3kVA/litre) that would previously have needed water cooling. The photograph below shows three of the modules with fan-assisted cooling.

The cube-shaped modules integrate IGBTs (or thyristors), current, voltage and temperature sensors, protection, DC links, heatsinks, and forced air-cooled capacitor banks. They can be connected in various mechanical and electrical arrangements and configured for different applications, including matrix converters and switched reluctance drives, renewable energy converters, and UPSs.

The range covers ratings from 320-1,550A, and even the largest versions will fit in standard 1,200mm-wide cabinets. Up to 560kW, they will fit in 500mm cabinets. Semikron`s UK managing director Paul Newman predicts that the first commercial applications for the Semikube will reach the market in about 18 months` time.

Semikron, which supplies most of the world`s leading drives-maker, claims to lead the global market for power semiconductor modules with a 22% share – including 33% of the European market. Almost half of its output is for drives applications.

The new modules are one of the first developments to emerge from a recently-formed global network of nine “Solutions Centres”, which will develop power semiconductor applications for customers. Part of the Semikube development was done at the UK centre, in Hertford, which has also developed soft-starts and DC drives for customers.