EBV Elektronik Presents Five New EBVchips

14th November 2012
Nat Bowers

EBV Elektronik is introducing five exciting new semiconductor devices. The new devices, named Driver, Hermes, Hunter, SolexDrive and vTaric are each suited for dedicated applications in motion control, metering communications, isolated current measurement for FPGAs, solenoid actuation and automotive alternator regulation.

“Our applications and sales engineers have listened very carefully to our customers’ needs”, explains Antonio Fernandez, Director Technical Marketing at EBV Elektronik and responsible for the EBVchips program. “In this way we have discovered the need for products that will enable new designs and provide effective solutions for design challenges that our customers have so far identified.” Each EBVchip is specifically co-created and manufactured in several production processes between EBV, our customers and our manufacturing partners.

A good example for the high efficiency of the EBVchips program is the new Hunter EBVchip from Avago Technologies, which is a data converter for industrial applications. With its differential LVDS output, the new Hunter can reliably transmit with galvanic isolation the measured signals from sensors to an FPGA in the control electronics, even in environments with heavy electromagnetic interference. Designing this chip was not particularly difficult but it does help many customers in the industrial environment who need to transmit sensor signals reliably through noisy environments. Hunter’s internal architecture is based on the popular Avago ACPL-796J except for one extremely helpful modification: Hunter’s output uses differential signalling, which is well known for its noise immunity, being the perfect companion for FPGAs in state-of-the-art power controls. By carefully looking at the needs of its customers and taking the entrepreneurial risk of designing a new chip, Avago Technologies and EBV Elektronik have solved an application need demanded by many design engineers.

With Driver, EBV Elektronik has added an EBVchip for highly efficient actuation of small motors to its range. The chip already includes various protective circuits and only requires very low idle and operating currents. When designing actuation systems for small motors, the key challenge faced by developers is how to keep costs low while delivering a solution that combines high operating capacity with low power losses. Consequently, for cost reasons most designs for the actuation of 5 V motors have so far featured a purely discrete solution, usually comprising four separate MOSFETs plus a number of discrete components.

The new EBVchip Driver is a monolithic integration of an H-bridge solution with protections for direct actuation of small motors optimised for 5 V operating.

Developed in the Vishay Siliconix labs, the monolithically integrated EBVchip designated ‘Driver’ sets new standards with regard to cost, performance, reliability and efficiency.

For communication in the world of smart metering, EBV Elektronik has launched the Hermes EBVchip, which sets entirely new standards in M-Bus communication. Having teamed-up with ON Semiconductor EBV assured the development of the Hermes M-Bus Transceiver as an EBVchip, reducing power consumption and offering significant advantages. As an upgrade of the IC that has served the market for the past 20 years, Hermes meets the M-Bus specifications in full. The new EBVchip offers space reduction, lower cost and additional functions that enable a range of attractive new designs. For example, the new low-power mode enables highly efficient designs, particularly for wireless M-Bus applications. This EBVchip employs a relatively complex mixed-signal design, which was developed by the former AMIS team within ON Semiconductor.

As with all EBVchips, this is an official chip from the respective manufacturer designed to the corresponding quality, although it is offered only by EBV Elektronik.

EBVchips do not necessarily require new designs. The main goals of the EBVchip initiative from EBV Elektronik is to solve problems faced by design engineers in the industrial (and sometimes: consumer) environments. For example, together with two renowned companies in the automotive industry Freescale Semiconductor developed a chip for high-precision control of fuel injectors for gasoline and diesel motors. Without EBV, the IC would only have been used by a limited number of automotive customers, even though the component represents an elegant solution to various design problems in numerous other applications. After all, the basic principle of EBVchips is to open-up new, previously untapped markets and opportunities – and with SolexDrive, that is exactly what EBV Elektronik has once again achieved.

Typical applications for SolexDrive, apart from low emission engine injection control units, include robots equipped with multiple actuators as well as a whole host of other applications in which solenoids need to be controlled electronically – from filling stations to medical equipment. Wherever multiple drivers are required for actuator coils, valves, inductive position actuators, liquid and gas regulation, industrial flow metering and control, etc., SolexDrive could be just the IC sought by design engineers.

Although not all applications require the full, complex functionality that the component offers, it can still prove to be highly useful because it consumes less board space and offers higher reliability thanks to its protective and diagnostic circuits.

Even for the automotive market EBV Elektronik has created an attractive new EBVchip: The vTARIC alternator regulator can increase the efficiency of generators in 24- and 12-V on-board electrical systems in commercial vehicles and passenger cars. A basic hardware system that can be used in all designs is ideal here because it can be adjusted in line with the specific customer system by means of software.

Up until now, no suitably sophisticated hardware has been available that enables generators in commercial vehicles, agricultural and construction machinery as well as other vehicles with internal 24-V on-board electrical systems to be operated at maximum efficiency. To address this, EBV Elektronik collaborated with key customers and STMicroelectronics to develop the vTARIC generator regulator.

With vTARIC alternator manufacturers now have a universal design for regulating generators independent of the individual requirements of a single OEM (vehicle manufacturer). This means that it is now possible to cover the requirements of all vehicle manufacturers with one single hardware solution – a first in the industry.

The basic idea behind vTARIC was to offer as many degrees of freedom as possible in order to enable a highly efficient system design on the one hand and to implement the necessary control algorithms on the other.

When EBV Elektronik presented the vTARIC concept two years ago, various customers – including some with whom the company had not even discussed the chip – provided valuable inputs. The design team successfully realised most of their requests to create a highly universal component. In partnership with STMicroelectronics, EBV is currently developing a product family that will soon result in four different components: one 12-V and one 24-V version of vTARIC, each with and without a LIN interface.

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