The global site of the UK's leading magazine for automation, motion engineering and power transmission
30 May, 2024

Twitter link

SiC modules will cut losses by 70% over silicon IGBTs

15 September, 2020

Mitsubishi Electric has announced a second generation of silicon carbide (SiC) power modules, based on a newly developed SiC chip, that, it predicts, will lead to the development of smaller, lighter, more efficient power electronic equipment in various industrial fields, including variable-speed drives.

The family of 12 SiC modules, due to be launched in January 2021, will include devices capable of controlling up to 1.2kA at 1.2kV.

SiC power semiconductors are attracting growing interest for their potential to cut power losses and boost the energy efficiency of power conversion equipment. Mitsubishi has been developing power modules equipped with SiC chips since 2010.

The company says that the low power loss characterstics and high carrier frequency operation of the SiC-Mosfet (metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor) and SiC-SBD (Schottky barrier diode) chips in the new modules will help to cut power losses by around 70% compared to those of conventional silicon-based IGBT modules. The carrier frequency determines the on/off timing of the switching elements in inverter circuits.

The reduced power losses and high carrier frequencies will also allow the use of smaller, lighter external components, such as reactors and coolers.

In addition, the junction field-effect transistor (JFET) doping technology used in the modules will reduce their on-resistance by about 15% compared to that of Mitsubishi’s previous SiC modules with same rating.

Mitsubishi Electric's new SiC power modules could lead to smaller, lighter, more efficient drives

Reducing mirror capacitance will enable fast switching and cut switching losses. (Stray capacitance between the gate and drain in Mosfet devices affects their switching times.)

Some of the new modules will include real-time control (RTC) circuits that balance short-circuit performance with low on-resistance. These circuits will help to achieve safe short-circuit performance and low on-resistance characteristics to block high currents during short circuits.

In the event of a short circuit, excessive currents will be blocked safely from external protection circuits by monitoring short-circuit detection signals.

The new modules have an optimised internal chip layout designed to improve heat dissipation. Decentralised placement of the modules’ SiC-Mosfet and SiC-SBD chips will help to improve heat dissipation, thus allowing the use of smaller, or fanless, coolers.

  • To view a digital copy of the latest issue of Drives & Controls, click here.

    To visit the digital library of past issues, click here

    To subscribe to the magazine, click here



"Do you think that robots create or destroy jobs?"



Most Read Articles