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Developments in the World of IGBT Technology
The past six months have witnessed several important new product releases and technological developments related to the field of insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) technology.
In February, Fuji Electric Holdings Co., Ltd. announced that its core operating company, Fuji Electric Systems Co., Ltd., has developed and commenced sample production of an IGBT module for advanced NPC (Neutral Point Clampled) circuits, which dramatically lower power loss.
The IGBT module for advanced NPC circuits reduces switching loss by producing a waveform that is closer to a sine wave than the conventional 2-level type module. This is achieved by expanding the number of output voltage steps to three levels. In addition, the inclusion of an RB-IGBT (reverse blocking IGBT), which is proprietary company technology, eliminates the need for a diode for blocking reverse current, thereby enabling the converter circuit to operate with greater efficiency. Furthermore, achieving a 3-level circuit in a single package not only boosts efficiency, but also contributes to a dramatic reduction in device size, which is required in the field of power source equipment, including power conditioners for photovoltaic power generation and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).
The IGBT module for advanced NPC circuits was described as the first module in the world to include IGBT, FWD, and RB-IGBT in a single package for a 3-level platform.
In March, Staco Energy Products Company introduced the FirstLine® P – a parallelable three-phase Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) for 10-100kVA applications. These units boast ac-dc efficiencies of up to 90%, ac-dc 94%, while delivering maximum availability and flexibility. True on-line, double-conversion technology is achieved through IGBT and Digital Signal Processor (DSP) control, enabling delivery of a high input power factor of 0.99, and a low input current distortion of less than or equal to 3%. The compact and reliable FirstLine P is well suited for information technology (IT) applications such as computer rooms, and network closets, as well as broadcast studios, assembly/manufacturing lines, medical facilities, and other applications where a high level of available power are essential.
The IGBT-based rectifier solid-state technology reduces the impact of the UPS on the local supply and simplifies installation where there is limited power capacity in the form of available electrical supply rating or generator size., the FirstLine P provides a high input power factor of 0.99, a low input current distortion of less than or equal to 3%. It also performs as a high performance filter by protecting upstream power supply sources from any harmonics and reactive power generated by the loads power.
In April, Freescale Semiconductor announced that it had entered into a strategic alliance with Fuji Electric Systems Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fuji Electric Holdings Co., Ltd., to collaborate on IGBT technology and products for hybrid electric and electric vehicles (HEV and EV). Working with Fuji Electric, Freescale will add high-power IGBT products to its existing portfolio of solutions for electronic powertrain applications, market those products to its automotive customers and define and produce new products based on customer input.
"Freescale chose Fuji Electric’s IGBT technology based on its high-performance characteristics and capability," said Tom Deitrich, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s RF, Analog and Sensor Group. "Coupled with Freescale’s automotive portfolio and pedigree, this alliance accelerates our ability to provide automotive customers with higher-efficiency inverter solutions."