Powering-up electronics production

Productronica will present power semiconductor product and value chain developments at this year’s event which takes place 14 to 17 November

Analysts from Yole Group expect the global power electronics market to grow from $20.9b in 2022 to $33.3b by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate of 8.1 per cent. They name govern-mental regulations, renewable energy expansion and demand for energy-efficiency as reasons for the trend.

According to Spherical Insights, the segment holds the largest market share with over 24 per cent, as power electronic devices and systems find widespread usage in motor drives, power supplies, robotics and process control. Regarding continuous growth of industrial automation, analysts also consider the industry segment to remain an essential driver of power electronics.

The industrial sector requires reliable, efficient power electronics to increase productivity, reduce energy consumption and optimise manufacturing processes.Every field failure can lead to enormous costs. Innovative test solutions from productronica exhibitors Rohde & Schwarz, Viscom, Löhnert, CRS Prüftechnik and SPEA help address this issue.

Power electronics is divided into three main segments based on material type: silicon, silicon carbide and gallium nitride. Material choice significantly affectssystem performance, efficiency and reliability.

The competitive cost/ performance ratio of silicon makes it the most widespread semiconductor material. However, it reaches limits regarding operating frequencies and breakdown voltages. Thus, gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) components are increasingly entering the field.

Inverters based on wide bandgap semiconductors enable faster and lower-loss switching with significantly higher efficiencies. They can switch higher voltages at higher frequencies with less cooling required. Shorter switching times reduce energy losses and tolerate more compact pas-sive components such as inductors or capacitors.

Due to lengthier, more complex manufacturing processes, silicon carbide and gallium nitride chips are significantly more expensive than silicon counterparts. However, manufacturers expect to reduce costs by switching to 300mm wafer technology.

Choice between silicon, silicon carbide and gallium nitride ultimately depends on specific appli-cation requirements, including power, switching frequency, temperature and cost.

Silicon carbide offers significant advantages for EV power electronics. That’s because more efficient, compact drive and charging systems increase ranges and shorten charging times. SiC is a key technology for the future of mobility for many car manufacturers/suppliers.

In Hall B2, Stand 448, VDMA co-exhibitor Breuer-Motoren is presenting a SiC inverter power amplifier developed as part of the research project ‘SiC-Mobil—SiC frequency converter for electromobility’ as a test platform for investigating the reliability, service life, EMC and efficien-cy of fast-switching SiC power semiconductors.

In cooperation with the Productronics Department of the VDMA—the conceptual and technical sponsor of productronica—lectures and live demonstrations in Hall B2 Stand 448 will cover power electronics. In the Semiconductors Cluster, productronica exhibitors will show their latest innovations. With SEMICON Europa taking place alongside productronica, the trade fair for development and manufacturing is expanding its offering in the semiconductor manufacturing industry.