Semikron boosts reliability of intelligent power modules

5th February 2009
ES Admin
Semikron has introduced a range of accelerated burn-in tests for its SKiiP intelligent power modules (IPMs), intended to ensure high levels of reliability in inverter applications in wind power and other systems. These tests, offered only by Semikron, are made possible by the high level of integration of the modules – power semiconductor, gate driver, current sensors, protective functions and matched cooling are all integrated within the SKiiP.
During the tests, the SKiiP modules are operated in a one- and four-quadrant mode for approximately two hours under worst-case real inverter conditions at elevated temperature and elevated voltage. Early-life failures are identified and eliminated, with subsequent analysis of the root cause of the failure. The modules are tested with cooling water at 80°C and cycling at a constant chip temperature. Junction temperature of the IGBT3 silicon reaches 140°C, to ensure that the modules experience high stress levels.

SKiiP IPMs are now installed in 44 Gigawatts of the world’s installed wind power capacity. The total worldwide installed wind power capacity is 94 Gigawatts. (Source: BTM Consult ApS, 03/2008) More than 15 years of experience in pressure contact technology is integrated into the modules. The technology uses mechanical pressure to press the direct-bonded copper (DBC) substrate to the heat sink without soldering. This results in a homogenous pressure distribution with a thermal connection between the ceramic substrates carrying the semiconductor chips and the heat sink. Thermal resistance (Rth(j-s)) is 40 percent lower than standard modules. SKiiP® has no base plate and fewer solder layers, resulting in lower thermal-mechanical stress inside the module. The thermal cycling capability is five times higher than a standard module with base plate and is reached even under the harsh climatic conditions experienced in the wind energy industry. High load and temperature cycling capabilities are ensured by the patented SKiiP® pressure contact technology. The module is available in 1200V and 1700V for currents from 500A to 2400A.

According to the European Renewable Energy Council, renewable energies will cover more than 35 percent of energy needs worldwide by the year 2030. Against the backdrop of a dynamically growing market, these intelligent integrated modules are ideal for use in wind generators and reduce production times and, consequently, the time to market.

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