Bringing intelligence to IGBT modules


Bringing intelligence to IGBT modules

At every stage of the power industry from generation, through transmission and distribution to consumption, there is intense pressure to reduce carbon emissions, increase output and cut costs. Central to meeting this requirement is maximizing system efficiency while maintaining availability - failures are costly to service. In Power Systems, as with many situations, information about systems and product performance is pivotal to achieving this. Putting this another way, being able to monitor equipment characteristics within Power Systems can better enable operators to detect signs of potential failure, to take corrective action, and to control the system to optimize performance. Doing this today is challenging as many of today's power switching systems use IGBT Modules that, while improved over alternative switching solutions, are only able to provide very limited information on how the switch is performing e.g. On, Off, Fault etc. Reducing system downtime through power monitoring and control Failure of an IGBT switch on a wind farm loses days of production. With each day of down time costing tens of thousands of dollars in lost production, plus maintenance costs (compounded when the installation is offshore), the scale of the issue becomes considerable. Recognizing this need, Amantys Power Insight(TM) enables IGBT gate drives integrate sensing, monitoring and communications capability to export critical performance parameters and send control information over the electrical isolation barrier to the host system controller. By measuring and reporting information such as voltage and temperature characteristics, the system designer has a platform to enhance system performance through development, commissioning and day-to-day operation. By logging data such as total number of switching cycles and configuring alarms, Power Insight can not only explain why devices failed, but enable maintenance teams to pre-empt potential failures and take corrective action to improve system availability and reduce down time. By Karen Oddey, CEO, Amantys Amantys