Technology tailors cost for power inductive components

6th July 2016
Daisy Stapley-Bunten

The increasing demand for more clean energy has led to a rising need for large inductive components. This poses a challenge to providing magnetics optimised for cost, size and performance. The high demand has sparked the development of both improved magnetic materials (e.g. powder cores, amorphous), winding technologies (e.g., copper foil, flat wire) and optimised core geometries. 

This yields a high refinement, pushing the limits of an otherwise conventional way of making inductive components. However, advancement in small steps may not be enough to cope with the market expectations driven by the renewables revolution.

MAGMENT power inductors and transformers are based on a disruptive technology for both a novel material and an innovative magnetic design. The material is a patented concrete with magnetisable particles embedded in a cement matrix manufactured in a pressureless process. Its features are:

  • Permeability in the same range as powder core materials
  • High DC-bias capability
  • Saturation reached only at very high fields
  • Very low core losses
  • Very high thermal conductivity to efficiently dissipate heat
  • Concrete-like mechanical robustness in a very broad temperature range

These unique and outstanding properties allow the design of rugged inductive components with a distributed air gap for minimised winding losses by completely surrounding the coil by the MAGMENT material. This ensures a complete magnetic filling of the available volume within the housing yielding maximum performance and cooling. As compared to the conventional manufacturing of winding cores and sealing with a potting material, the flowability of our concrete materials allow a 'wind and magnetic pour' process, which goes along with absolute shape and size flexibility. This allows to both tailor components to minimise material utilisation and to any given space constraints by a special magnetic design algorithm yielding lowest cost as compared to any other inductive technology.

The automated design process starts with the calculation of the MAGMENT inductor design parameters for given target parameters (inductance L, rated current I and DC resistance RDC). The design algorithm looks for the dimensions giving the lowest material cost and hence the most compact design. In case outer dimensions would be constrained by device space requirements, the algorithm would take this into consideration. Based on the output design parameters a suitable coil former is chosen and the winding laid out. The housing containing the inductor is then designed according to the outer dimension of the MAGMENT material block.

The resulting magnetic effective parameters (show the clear advantage over conventional inductors. As a general rule and due to the complete magnetic filling of the available space the ratio Ae/le is much larger for INCOPA’S MAGMENT inductors. In a relative comparison of inductors with the same inductance and either the same (a) magnetic path, (b) cross section or (c) volume the MAGMENT inductors show always a superior performance (inductance, core and winding losses) as well as cost.

A comparison corresponding to case (c) for an inductor with L=55 µH and I=60A. Both the inductance is higher both for low as well as for very large currents, showing a much higher energy storage capacity.

Beyond the technical superiority of the product as such, there are other extraordinary aspects pertaining production and logistics. We have devised our production to have all inductor manufacturing processes under one roof. This allows to have short lead times and simplified stock holding of base materials allowing the quickest possible turnaround time from design-in to shipping. This contributes to keeping overall costs low, guaranteeing that INCOPA’s MAGMENT magnetics are by far the most economical alternative for a power inductive component.

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