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EV Inverter Chipsets Focus of Infineon-Semikron Danfoss Deal

July 28, 2023
As per the multi-year agreement, Infineon will supply the chipsets, consisting of IGBTs and diodes, to power-semiconductor-module specialist Semikron Danfoss.

The transition to full battery-electric-vehicle (BEV) architectures is progressing rapidly: Cars with electrified drivetrains could account for two-thirds of cars produced by 2032, as per analyst forecasts and a proposal released earlier this year by the Biden administration. This speaks to the enormous growth potential of power modules, as they are a key component for powering the electric motor and in vehicle chargers.

These architectures will require scalable power electronics solutions for electric drive systems (EDS) that can cover a wide power range and are cost-effective at the same time. Eventually, they become an important competitive advantage for vehicle manufacturers.

Electromobility on the Rise

This rapid growth of electromobility is driving the demand for power semiconductors. Against this background, Infineon Technologies AG and Semikron Danfoss signed a multi-year agreement for the supply of silicon-based electromobility chips. Infineon will supply chipsets for EV inverters to Semikron Danfoss consisting of IGBTs and diodes. IGBTs are essential for electronic control systems, including motor-control systems, inverters, and on-board chargers.

These chips will be employed in power modules for inverters, which are used for the main drive in electric vehicles. Such modules consist of power semiconductors that make it possible to convert and control the electrical power.

“Already today, our IGBTs and diodes play a major role in the industry’s electromobility transformation by enabling efficient power conversion in the electric powertrain,” said Peter Schiefer, President of Infineon's Automotive division. “Our broad product portfolio, system expertise, and continuous investment in our manufacturing capabilities make us a valued partner of automotive players like Semikron Danfoss.”

Claus A. Petersen, President of Semikron Danfoss added, “Semikron Danfoss provides automotive customers with power modules based on the most advanced assembly technologies that fully exploit the capabilities of IGBTs and diodes to enable further decarbonization of the transportation sector. Automotive customers trust us as an experienced long-term partner to drive the transformation in the industry.”

IGBT Development

The IGBTs and diodes for Semikron Danfoss will be manufactured by Infineon at its sites in Dresden, Germany, and Kulim, Malaysia. Semikron Danfoss manufactures its own automotive power modules in Nuremberg and Flensburg in Germany, in Utica, N.Y. in the U.S., and as of next year, in Nanjing, China.

Developed with the company’s TrenchStop and EDT2 technologies, Infineon’s automotive IGBTs offer high efficiency due to low switching and conduction losses. In addition, using these IGBTs allows for compact, yet scalable designs. The key feature of the EDT2 technology is the higher efficiency at low-load conditions. An EDT2 chip is said to ensure lower losses than current products on the market, and it even outperforms Infineon's previous chip generation by 20%.

A Power-Semi-Module Specialist

Semikron Danfoss, a family-owned business, came about when Semikron and Danfoss Silicon Power merged last year to create a joint business specializing in power electronics and focusing on power semiconductor modules. The Semikron-Danfoss business will be owned by the current owner-families of Semikron and the Danfoss Group, with Danfoss being the majority owner.

Semikron Danfoss retains its two main locations in Germany, Nuremberg and Flensburg.

The company’s automotive portfolio includes power modules and integrated converter/inverter systems that are often based on innovative semiconductor technologies such as silicon carbide (SiC). They typically lead to significantly improved efficiency in standard passenger vehicle applications.

The new power-module platform eMPack combines SiC with low-stray-inductance direct-pressed-die (DPD) technology, enabling high power densities combined with high reliability for automotive applications.

DPD technology uses a pressure element that applies a pressure force directly to the top of the die. This generates an optimized thermal connection to the cooler where it’s actually needed—right underneath the chip. There’s no fixed connection with the heatsink.

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