Powerex completes new automated production center

Leveraging $6MM in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding, Powerex, Inc. is pleased to announce the opening of a new automated production center capable of producing both silicon and silicon carbide modules used in inverters for the electric vehicle, aerospace and industrial marketplaces. This project positions Powerex as the leading U.S. manufacturer of medium volume high power semiconductor modules.

The DOE grant, awarded in March 2010, provided 70 percent of the funding for the $8.6MM project which increases Powerex’ silicon module production capacity from 17K units produced in 2009 to 100K units in 2015.

Total Project Cost: $8.6MM (70% U.S. Department of Energy funding)

Equipment: $4.8MM investment (purchase robots from Sony)
Facilities: $2.6MM investment
Labor: $1.2MM investment

Modifications of existing Powerex facility:

22,600 ft2 (2,100 m2)
40% to 60% relative humidity control
22C +- 2C temperature control
Class 10,000 manufacturing areas

Creation of new manufacturing center

7,200 ft2 (670 m2)
Capable of producing 100,000 units/year in 2015

Creation of reliability testing center

4,300 ft2 (400m2)
Capable of testing to automotive standards

Creation of prototype center
4,400 ft2 (410m2)
Utilizing existing Powerex equipment

Looking towards the future of the semiconductor industry, Powerex created this new center to accommodate the production of cutting edge SiC (silicon carbide) MOSFET (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) modules.

Since its inception in 1986, Powerex has been manufacturing custom silicon IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor)-based modules.  Recently, Powerex offered the first commercially available SiC MOSFET module. These SiC MOSFET modules can operate at temperatures well beyond the temperature limits possible with the traditional silicon IGBT-based modules, allowing for 38 percent lower conduction losses and 60 percent lower switching losses for a total power loss reduction of 54 percent when operated at 20 kHz.