Power is central to virtually every application across a variety of industries. More importantly, powering devices to make the run more efficiently is the goal for companies in the power market. For more than 30 years, analog semiconductor manufacturer, Power Integrations, Inc., has led the charge to “drive efficiency to the absolute limit,” according to Doug Bailey, VP of Marketing for Power Integrations, Inc.
Founded in 1988, Power Integrations, Inc. has grown into a key player in designing analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits and other electronic components and circuitry used in high-voltage power conversion. It is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., where the company employs 646 people (as of December 31, 2017).
Their range of AC-DC power supplies are used in a variety of electronic products including mobile devices, TVs, PCs, appliances, smart utility meters, and LED lights. Their products are also found in electric vehicles. “Power Integrations has moved into the electric and hybrid vehicle sector very successfully with Automotive AEC-Q100 approval on several of our Scale-iDriver™ gate-driver ICs, particularly the variant that is optimized to drive SiC MOSFETs,” says Bailey. “SID1132KQ and SID1182KQ are suitable for driving 650 V, 750 V and 1,200 V automotive IGBT and SiC-MOSFET modules, and are rated for peak currents of +/-2.5 A and +/-8 A, respectively. The SID1182KQ has the highest output current of any isolated gate driver available and is capable of driving a 600 A /1,200 V and 820 A /750 V switch.”
Power Integrations’ technology is also being used with smartphones and other mobile devices. “Smart mobile device manufacturers are demanding faster charging. The chargers must therefore be higher power, so the challenge is how to deal with the extra heat produced,” Bailey notes. In order to mitigate these thermal challenges, Power Integrations has developed highly efficient ICs that generate very little waste heat. “This enables high power adapters with compact form-factor, making them more attractive to customers and easier for users to carry,” Bailey says.
“A recent example of this technology is the company’s InnoSwitch3-Pro family of configurable off-line CV/CC and CP flyback switcher ICs. Capable of delivering up to 65 W and achieving up to 94 percent efficiency across line and load conditions, the new devices permit precise, dynamically adjustable, control of voltage (10 mV step) and current (50 mA step), via a simple two-wire I2C interface,” Bailey says.
Power Integrations has long offered a number of motor driver ICs and LED driver ICs with highly integrated functions. As silicon and functional integration continues to advance, these products have included some new features. “Power Integrations’ most recent entry into the motor drive market is with our BridgeSwitch™ integrated half-bridge (IHB) motor driver IC family,” says Bailey. “BridgeSwitch ICs feature high- and low-side advanced FREDFETs (Fast Recovery Diode Field Effect Transistors) with integrated lossless current sensing, resulting in inverter conversion efficiency of up to 98.5 percent in brushless DC (BLDC) motor drive applications to 300 W.” These devices are often used in home-appliance applications, like refrigerator compressors or HVAC systems fans.
Bailey notes, “When Power Integrations decided to enter the brushless DC motor driver market, the company realized that it needed to take a radical new approach, in order to deliver class-leading efficiency and performance.”
“This specialized FET is designed to provide a very fast recovery (turn-off) of the body diode. The resultant reduction in switching losses is significant. In addition, the soft recovery characteristic, with well controlled current transition rates reduces system EMI,” Bailey says.
Power Integrations encourages their research and development team to think outside of the box when coming up with new ideas, which could account for the company’s 559 patents (as of Dec. 31, 2018). According to Bailey, “Power Integrations believes that to offer designers a reason to change you must deliver significant benefits. Therefore the way we approach solving problems is often to take a completely different approach.”