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issue: May 2008 APPLIANCE Magazine

Motor Technology
Packaged Efficiency

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A high-voltage IGBT module lowers assembly cost and improves reliability by reducing the number of external components in the main circuit of the inverter.

Withstanding voltages of up to 600 V (IGBT breakdown voltage), the SCM1100M IGBT modules are said to provide a robust IPM for optimally controlling three-phase motor inverters used to drive motors of residential and commercial appliances. Input voltage is 100 to 240 V ac, and output current is 5 to 15 A.

The new SCM1100M Inverter Power Module (IPM) series from Allegro Microsystems Inc. (Worcester, MA, U.S.) employs a single-package solution, allowing the main circuit of an inverter to be configured with only a few discrete parts. Munenori Umeda, Allegro North America sales manager, says the devices are designed to address the demand for efficient technologies in variable-speed control and power inverter systems.

“IPM-type ICs are gradually becoming prevalent for controlling motors in residential and commercial laundry washing machines, where they replace several discrete components, thus saving application space and design effort,” Umeda tells APPLIANCE. “In many instances, IPM devices yield the lowest overall cost solution, especially in the current regulatory environment, which is forcing manufacturers to redesign their power-management systems. Traditional discrete-device topologies are proving difficult to adapt to these applications, and manufacturers are turning to more rapid design solutions using the highly integrated topologies offered by the IPM type of devices.”

With the company’s latest solution, six power elements (IGBTs), three predrive ICs, and six flywheel diodes are all that is required for configuring the main circuit of the inverter. The bootstrap circuit, which includes three 600-V/1-A bootstrap diodes and three 22-Ω boot resistors, is employed as a high-side-drive power supply and is included in a single DIP package with device case dimensions of 47 × 19 × 4.4 mm.

The series supports the three-shunt method, in which a shunt resistor is used in each phase. This is said to enable low currents to be detected and highly accurate inverter control to be realized, thus contributing to low motor noise. In addition, each of the three phases contains an overcurrent protection circuit, which is designed as a soft shutdown function that shuts off the gate more slowly than the normal shutoff operation when an overcurrent condition occurs. Another feature is the undervoltage protection circuit on the power-supply voltage, which automatically reactivates when the proper voltage is restored.

According to Umeda, costs were kept low by utilizing existing production processes as much as possible, as well as innovative production methods. In addition, materials in the power chip and drive ICs were improved, allowing cost reductions by shrinking die size through microfabrication and better circuit design.

The end result provides appliance designers with a single-package solution, which Umeda says enables small system designs, easier design processes, ample creepage distance between high and low voltage pins, low EMI noise, and better reliability because of fewer component counts. “Also, the DIP makes it possible to separate terminals that flow main current and terminals that flow low current, reducing the likelihood of errors due to self-induced switching events,” he says.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Allegro MicroSystems Inc.

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