Small and large companies alike wisely have their eye on the new and emerging markets that are ripe for their technology. But existing markets can also benefit from the rapid changes in technology. Multi-phase motors such as brushless DC and AC induction motors or dedicated motor controllers for anything from home appliances to power lawn and garden tools are opening up new opportunities for companies with devices that deliver on the promise of high energy efficiency and reliability. Dallas, TX-based Active-Semi, which focuses on motor control and power management technology, is such a company.
“There’s been a huge change from brush to brushless motors, the latter of which offers much higher power capabilities,” says David Briggs, Active-Semi’s Vice-President and General Manager. “Brush-motor power tools have been around for years but customers want more torque in a smaller space and brushless motors fit the bill. Brushless motors also offer significant improvement in power efficiency which will equate to longer battery life in something like a power tool, for instance. And when the customers designs in a brushless motor, they want a high-reliability solution because breaking down is not an option. It does take more technology to design a brushless motor solutions but you still have to hit the right price point because customers are demanding the extra reliability but don’t understand why they should pay more for it.”
It’s that demand the company meets with their highly integrated PAC™ (Power Applications Controllers) intelligent motor control ICs.
“Our PAC products contain all the necessary components to create a brushless motor solution that is much easier to implement for our customers. They no longer have to choose and purchase the individual components such as the gate driver or MCU, or write the firmware to make it work,” says Briggs. “We are offering them a one-stop show where we say, here, we’ve got your hardware and software now go develop quickly. Because we offer a fully integrated device, their BOM drops and their overall systems instantly becomes more affordable.”
The sweet spot for the PAC devices, says Briggs, is basically wherever space is an issue. Applications for their current line of Intelligent Motor Control (IMC) ICs includes refrigerator compressors, washing machines, general-purpose fan control, drones, and garden and power tools. A “Total Hibernate Mode” in the PAC line allows them to put the motor in very low current consumption mode. This is made possible by the coupling of analog and digital components which are tightly hooked together so that they can shut down the power planes in both digital and analog as needed for total control of the system.
Together with Chervon, a leading provider of garden and power tools, the privately-owned Active-Semi today jointly announced the launch of Chervon’s new generation EGO 56-volt garden tools with the first release of a string trimmer and snow blower both based on Active-Semi’s PAC™ intelligent motor control IC. Using a powerful brushless DC (BLDC) motor, the pair offer unmatched high-performance lawn and garden tools delivering sustained high-power, long battery run-time, in a condensed light-weight design.
“Chervon creates exceptional value for our customers through continuous innovation and improvement, thereby strengthening our position as a leading global total-solution provider in the power-tool, outdoor-power-equipment and related industries,” says Dezhong Yang, Vice Chief Engineer at Chervon. “The groundbreaking lineup of EGO POWER+ products share the unique Arc-Lithium™ Battery and Charger system, allowing for complete interchangeability between all EGO products. We were impressed with Active-Semi’s all-inclusive PAC™ IC architecture integrating all of the necessary components for a complete BLDC motor control solution enabling a high-performance, highly reliable tool with long battery run-time. We look forward to leveraging this scalable architecture across our product line.”
“We are excited at the market release of Chervon’s new generation EGO brand garden tools based on Active-Semi PAC5250 IC,” says Briggs”PAC™ offers lawn & garden tool and power tool manufacturers the best single-IC motor control solution available today for power tools ranging from 10.8V battery to 220V AC input. We are excited to be working with Chervon and look forward to supporting their other high-performance tools in the near future.”
Active-Semi is in production with their PAC™ ICs ranging from 5 volts to 600 volts with Class-B support available. These products, as well as many others in the Active-Semi portfolio, are available at major distributors world-wide. Evaluation kits, motor control firmware for both Back-EMF and FOC with motor tuning software are available to jump-start PAC™ development.