Arrow Provides Optimal Solutions for Power Applications

In addition to sales of electronic parts, Arrow also provides numerous solutions and reference designs to customers, assists customers in extending their application fields, and accelerates the development speed of products. The present document will introduce you to the power application solutions and reference designs launched by Arrow and its partners, which deserve to be further understood and applied.

Integrated IO-Link Master Four-Ports Solution

The demands to Industry 4.0 and Smart Factory are driving the development of IO-Link connection integration (IEC 61131-9). The industrial sensors and actuators adopting IO-Links can enhance reliability and stability in the factory environment, while increasing the data volume and being easy to maintain.

In addition, the current IO-Link multi-port mainframe design process still causes large non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs. Manufacturers usually realize the interface protocols on dedicated microcontrollers. For the intellectual property (IP) rights of the protocol stacks, third-party technical providers are usually used to provide licenses, because it is more expensive and time consuming to develop your own protocol stacks. This requires implanting the stacks on the microcontrollers and IO-Link transceivers, thus incurring NRE costs.

In these high-cost awareness times, each sector is looking for cost effective innovations. Therefore, Arrow, together with its partners TEConcep and STMicroelectronics, has launched a kind of solution that can quickly add the IO-Link Master function to their products, without extra royalties or licensing fees.

This four-port IO-Link Master chip solution, which is based on the low-power ARM® Cortex®-M4 microcontroller and integrates the protocol stack, can control up to 4 IO-Link devices via various IO-Link transceivers, not only helping simplify design, accelerate the development progress, and reduce the software development volume, but also guaranteeing the functions of the IO-Link. The IO-Link multi-port Master chip solution is based on Arrow IOLinkChips ARW-IOLM4P-STM32L4 (STM32L431RBT6 based). Arrow can provide those non-licensed customers with embedded IO-Link Master licenses.

KNX Provides Interoperability for Building Automation

The demands for the comfort and multi-function of the heating supply, lighting, and door access system management of homes and offices are increasing. Meanwhile, effective utilization of energy is becoming more and more important. People need a comfortable, sustainable, and safe living and working environment. This is the origin of the demands for automation.

However, only if all of the relevant products are intelligently controlled and monitored can high convenience and safety and lower energy consumption be realized. This is a real challenge, because it means lots of wiring from the sensors and actuators to the control and monitoring center. Even for professionals, such a large amount of wiring also means more design and installation work, and increases the fire risks and costs. This is the niche of KNX technology!

It is not difficult to make the dream of automation come true. You just ensure that all components in the system adopt a common language for communication to eliminate the problems from individual isolated devices. In this way, the type of the equipment used is not essential any more. Just one unified system is available to realize all functions like control of lighting, shutters, safety systems, energy management, heating supply, ventilation, air-conditioning systems, signals and monitoring systems, service and building control system interfaces, remote control, audio and video control, etc. This is called the “interworking principle”, which makes control of homes and buildings easier.

KNX is a technology facing the future, and has unlimited flexibility and personalization, and it is a safe and reliable system that is time saving, easy to install, integrated, and has an international community, which can maximize the flexibility and personalization of the building automation. There are many approaches that can create a smart home or office, for example, making lighting control easier, or fully connecting various devices. KNX enhances the building automation and personalization to a new level.

Arrow’s KNX building automation solution adopts STMicroelectronics’ manufactured parts, mainly including STKNX, STM32, ISO621, ULN2003, MOSFET and SMAJ40CA, which is mainly used for smart lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), human machine interface (HMI), and sensors, etc. It can provide various high-quality parts for the controllers and sensors used in KNX.

CoolGaN™ Transistor Has the Ultimate Efficiency and Reliability

Traditional transistors are silicon based. GaN can provide those basic advantages that exceed silicon. In particular, GaN has a higher critical electric field, contributing to its excellent specific dynamic on-state resistance and smaller capacitance. This is attractive for powered semiconductor parts. Compared with silicon switches, this makes GaN HEMT (High Electron Mobility Transistor) very suitable for high-speed switches.

GaN transistors have three main strengths. To start with, just like diodes, GaN transistors can conduct in the reverse direction (in the third quadrant), but zero reverse recovery charge. This is a large strength, which can realize lower losses and lower EMI hard switching. Secondly, the capacitance/charge of GaN transistors is far smaller than that of Si or SiC transistors, while their gate charge and output charge are lower than those provided by other competitive technologies. They can realize quick and low-loss switches. Lastly, due to its lower charge and no minority-carriers, GaN switches are faster in speed (within nanoseconds), especially upon turn-off, the channel current can be cut-off within several nanoseconds, greatly lowering the turnoff losses.

In each case of GaN in single-ended topology, the current is unipolar, so the body-diode is never conductive, which makes its performance inessential. CoolMOS is usually ideal for these applications. The small improvement of the losses resulting from the use of GaN switches may not be worthy of extra costs, but in the half-bridge based topology, GaN is capable of providing advantageous circuits, like totem-pole PFC, LLC converter, phase shifted bridge converter, active clamp flyback converter, inverter, etc.

The benefits provided by GaN depend on two critical factors, including, in respect of control strategy, hard switch or soft switch. For all hard switches, due to zero Qrr, GaN is obviously a better choice. For resonant/soft switches, CoolMOS is smaller than 250kHz, and GaN is larger than 250kHz. About operating frequency, hard switches will consume frequency, so lower frequency is used to realize the highest efficiency. For soft switches, GaN will be larger than 250kHz as its advantage.

Infineon introduced a GaN-based CoolGaN™ transistor, which has a new power paradigm, and ultimate efficiency and reliability. For example, in 2.5kW ultra-high totem-pole PFC applications, CoolGaN™ transistors have their flat efficiency within the entire load range larger than 99%. Currently, 600V CoolGaN™ e-mode HEMT has been launched. More 600V and 400V CoolGaN™ e-mode HEMTs are expected. 200V and 100V CoolGaN™ e-mode HEMTs are under their development.

Silicon Carbide XM3 Half-bridge Module Has High Power Density

Wolfspeed has developed the XM3 power module platform, in order to maximize the advantages of SiC, while keeping the module and system design robust, simple, and cost effective. The XM3 power module is compact, with its weight and volume half of the standard 62mm module, thus maximizing the power density and minimizing the loop inductance, and realizing a simplified power bussing. XM3 SiC optimized packaging can realize continuous junction operation at 175. Its highly reliable Si3N4 power substrate can secure mechanical robustness under extreme conditions.

The XM3 power module has a high power density area, is high-temperature (175) operation supported, and lower inductance (6.7 nH) designed. It is configured with third generation MOSFET technology that can optimize conduction. It is integrated with a temperature sensor at the lower-sided switch (close to external NTC pin position) and has a built-in De-Sat connection for integration with the driver. The offset middle terminal layout allows simplification and realizes interconnection of lower inductance busbar. The dedicated Drain-Kelvin pin, highly reliable Silicon Nitride insulator, and cooper power baseplate can satisfy stringent market demands by enhanced power cycling ability.

XM3 is perfectly suitable for stringent applications, like electric vehicle chargers, UPS, motors, and traction drivers. In the motor driving application, the conduction can be optimized and 150 kW - 300 kW are supported. AFE, inverter and UPS (switch optimization) support 150 kW - 250 kW, also for DC-DC converter (switch optimization), and 200kW – 300kW for induction heating. In addition, a solid state circuit breaker is another good application. 

Several Reference Designs to Be Expected

Arrow plans to launch some reference designs for many power applications for customer reference, which will be introduced in the second half of 2019. These include 90W compact ACF USB Type-C PD 3.0 combo chargers to be launched in Q3 of 2019, which support PFC and active clamp flyback, with their targeted specifications including 90-265 VAC input voltage, 90W USB output power, and with a Type C port that supports 5V/3A, 9V/5A, 15V/5A and 20V/3A, and two Type A ports supporting 5V/2A, in conformity with USB Type-C PD 3.0 standards, with its efficiency higher than 94% and exceeding 20W Cu/in, active clamp flyback topology supported, and with OCP and OTP functions. The key components will adopt the products manufactured by On Semiconductor, TI, Infineon and Cypress.

In Q3 of 2019, Arrow will also launch the laser driver module, with its targeted specifications of 12VDC input voltage, and with its emitting scope up to 100m, which can be used in the fields of automotive, UAVs and robots, etc. Currently, the preferred suppliers of critical parts include DSP/FPGA, firmware from TI, Intel, Lattice, EPC (GaN MOSFET), TI, STMicroelectronics, On Semiconductor, Infineon and Silicon Labs (GaN gate driver), and Finisar, Lumileds and Lextar (laser diode), and to be deiced for optics, and Infineon Optiga for safety function.

Arrow plans to launch the digital power in Sept. 2019, which supports a 6.6KW bi-directional electric vehicle charger, with its targeted specifications of 200-265 VAC input voltage, and output power of 6.6kW, 250-450 VDC, with its efficiency higher than 98.4%. A 67kHz totem-pole PFC is adopted, 200kHz CLLLC, with a power density of 60W Cu/in. It can be used for DC-DC on-board chargers, energy storage, and UPS. The preferred suppliers of critical parts include DSP, firmware from TI, and Cree, Infineon and STMicroelectronics for SiC MOSFET.

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