Microsemi opens Aviation Center of Excellence for intelligent power



Microsemi, a leading provider of semiconductor solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance, today announced the opening of its Aviation Centre of Excellence in Ennis, Ireland. The 1,900 square-foot research and development facility will support the design, development and manufacturing of Microsemi’s new product line of high reliability aviation intelligent power solutions (IPS).

During a grand opening ceremony this morning, Jim Aralis, chief technology officer and vice president of advanced development at Microsemi, joined fellow executives, employees and community members for The Aviation Centre of Excellence’s unveiling. Following the event, Aralis is hosting an engineering forum open to the technical community.

“Our new Aviation Centre of Excellence is the latest example of Microsemi’s investment in research and development in Ireland, and reflects our Ennis facility’s important contributions to the wider Microsemi global product/technology development network. We now offer a complete solution for high reliability aviation intelligent power solutions from design to manufacturing,” said Aralis. “The facility will not only provide access to a portfolio of highly integrated, flexible and scalable solutions for aviation electric actuation and power conversion applications, but customers will also have access to a full technical service provider as an extension of their design teams.”

Development capabilities
The facility’s new research and development laboratory is fully resourced with modeling, simulation, analysis and algorithm development capabilities providing accelerated product innovation. The state-of-the-art measuring equipment enables extensive product testing while a dedicated reliability laboratory facilitates product qualification and long-term application specific life testing. As the aviation sector continues to demand higher levels of reliability and integration in the area of power electronics in order to realize the goal of more electric aircraft (MEA), Microsemi’s Aviation Centre of Excellence will play a critical role in supporting this objective.

According to professor Pat Wheeler, head of department, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and deputy head of the Power Electronics, Machines and Controls (PEMC) Research Group at the University of Nottingham (UK), power electronics is the enabling technology for the more electric aircraft. However MEA advantages are marginal with current technology and advancements in the areas of reliability, power density, wide band gap semiconductor materials and thermal management are essential to achieve its full potential.

Microsemi is developing IPS products for a variety of growing applications within the commercial aviation industry. According to global market research and consulting company MarketsandMarkets, the actuator, electrical and electronics systems market was valued at $8 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14 percent to reach $21 billion by 2020. The electrical systems are expected to grow at a CAGR of 16 percent and the electronics components market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13 percent.

Flagship products
Among the flagship products of Microsemi’s new Aviation Centre of Excellence is the aviation power core module (PCM) with an integrated FPGA and hybrid power drive (HPD) stage. The PCM controls the electrical motors used in applications such as primary flight control actuation and landing gear systems. It interfaces seamlessly with aircraft power supplies and flight computers, providing vital sensor feedback for monitoring. Customization options are also available to ensure an optimized product offering for customers. The hybrid power drive (HPD) with integrated solenoid drive is also available as a stand-alone product. The manufacturing of these power systems leverages the company’s existing operations infrastructure as well as the high quality and reliability processes in the current Ennis facility, which is a manufacturing center for Microsemi’s high reliability discrete products. For more information, about the Aviation Centre of Excellence, visit http://www.microsemi.com/applications/commercial-aviation/aviation-center-of-excellence.

“This investment in aviation intelligent power solutions is a significant testament to our vision to be a full solutions provider, leveraging the extensive technologies and capabilities across the company to expand our footprint in focus applications,” said Siobhan Dolan Clancy, vice president of business development, aerospace, at Microsemi. “By combining our team’s industry-leading technology from around the globe with our aerospace power module capabilities, we look forward to announcing truly game-changing developments in this market.”

Microsemi: Committed to Ireland
Microsemi established its presence in Ireland in 1992 through the acquisition of a facility in Ennis, Co. Clare and in 2012 the company named the Ennis facility as its European headquarters. Over the past several years, Microsemi has made a significant investment in its Ennis operations and now employs 270 people, making it one of the largest employers in the area. Microsemi’s annual spend in Ireland is in excess of $20 million annually and it continues to recruit engineers and other technical professionals.

The Ennis facility’s key competencies are the development, manufacturing and high reliability testing of semiconductors to meet stringent aerospace, satellite, medical and security standards and it is now one of the largest such facilities globally. Microsemi also has a design group in Dublin which is focused on advanced system-on-chip (SoC) software and solutions with an emphasis on ARM processor-centric designs, and a group in Cork who are specialized in the development of highly efficient and scalable embedded hardware and software for real-time Ethernet operations.

Commercial Aviation Electronics