Estimating the useable lifetime of electronic components has always been an important task for design engineers, especially for critical applications where the design might see service for several decades. Although manufacturers do specify a lifetime on datasheets, that is under ideal conditions at normal operating temperatures. The actual useable lifetime of the components depends both on the application and the environment. Heat is detrimental to electronics, and as the heat rises, the component’s specifications are degraded, leading to a decrease in its operational lifetime. There are ways estimate the drop in performance, mainly from details provided by the manufacturer’s datasheets. However, they are dependent on a many different factors. There is always a temptation to underestimate the actual lifetime of the component just to be on the safe side, or to overspecify the component with a more expensive alternative to guarantee the desired lifetime. Either way, for many applications, the process can be time consuming and add cost to the design.
Infineon is trying to make this process easier for customers by introducing an automated service that provides an accurate estimate of the lifetime of its components, taking into account their usage and application requirements. The service will be included as a new premium feature through the company’s Infineon Power Simulation (IPOSIM) platform. IPOSIM Lifetime Estimation will provide online access to the lifetime estimation algorithm and Infineon’s expertise to help engineers simplify the design process. The service also includes access to Infineon's power electronics expertise online 24/7, as often as needed during the design process.
The Lifetime Estimation service has been launched with one of the most commonly used topologies in the power electronics design - a module-based three-phase two-level inverter. Other topologies are scheduled to be added in the near future. Users select the Infineon power module to be simulated along with the configured modulation algorithm and load type. Specific mission profiles can either be inserted via a CSV file or with displayed tables. Finally, the specific cooling conditions and gate resistance values need to be added. The summary lifetime estimation parameters will need to be confirmed, and then the platform starts processing the data. The final report can be downloaded as PDF file.
The IPOSIM platform is also used to calculate losses and thermal behaviour of power modules, discretes and disc devices. It provides easy access to analysis for single working points and user-defined load profiles.
IPOSIM now offers three different simulation types:
Steady-state simulation for power and thermal calculation of a single cycle
Load cycle simulation for power and thermal calculation of multiple operating points
Lifetime estimation for expected lifetime calculation based on chosen parameter
IPOSIM’s GUI guides designers in a step-by-step process through the simulation with power devices. Nineteen topologies are currently available for discs and modules, grouped by power conversion type. The platform also allows the multi-selection of up to five Infineon products for performance comparison. The finished designs can be saved and shared through the deep-link function. The features allows users of the platform to select the most suitable high-power products according to the application's requirements. It also reduces the time required to set up and perform lifetime estimations and reduce overall development costs.
Standard IPOSIM functions are free, but the Lifetime Estimation service is a premium feature that requires users to choose between three different subscription plans: two weeks (996,00€ without VAT) with up to 15 simulations, one month (1792,00€) for up to 30 or three months (4958,00€) for up to 90. The service can already be used in the United States, along with many Western European countries and countries in Asia. A free trial is available today and can be used to run up to 8 simulations for one week.