MicReD power tester targets electric and hybrid vehicle IGBT thermal reliability

Wilsonville, OR. Mentor Graphics today announced a new MicReD Power Tester 600A product, which tests electric and hybrid vehicle (EV/HEV) power electronics reliability during power cycling. The MicReD Power Tester 600A offering allows EV/HEV development and reliability engineers to test power electronics (such as IGBTs, MOSFETs, transistors, and chargers) for mission-critical thermal reliability and lifecycle performance.

Thermal reliability issues can result in EV/HEV automotive recalls, and the ever wider adoption of electric and hybrid cars has created a specific need for this solution. The Mentor Graphics MicReD Power Tester 600A product also meets the industry’s need for power electronics thermal simulation and test.

Delta Electronics develops high-efficiency and high-density power module products. “We apply the Power Tester 1500A to gain insight into the lifetime performance and assure the reliability of the IGBT module,” said Andy Liao, section manager, Delta Electronics. “The Power Tester 600A could provide a scalable solution that would allow us to measure many discrete power devices or modules concurrently. This increased testing throughput would give us statistical failure data that we need in order to accurately predict the field lifetime of the products.”

Designers of today’s EV/HEVs are faced with significant mission-critical challenges: foremost among these is ensuring the thermal reliability of power electronics modules; detecting potential degradation of IGBTs caused by a range of standard drive cycles; and identifying the underlying damage root causes. Mentor’s MicReD Power Tester 600A solution provides accurate and reliable test results that scale to real-world requirements:

  • Comprehensive diagnostics for thermal reliability. The MicReD Power Tester 600A product provides a simple reliability testing process for lifecycle estimation. Device set-up is easy and power cycles are fully automated. The T3Ster “structure function” feature inside the power tester yields non-destructive “failure-in-progress” data for each IGBT. All diagnostic information is recorded during testing, from current, voltage, and die temperature sensing to “structure function” changes that point to reasons for failures in the package structure. Package development, reliability, and batch checking of incoming parts can now be tested before production.
  • Simulation accuracy. The MicReD Power Tester 600A product can power IGBT modules through tens of thousands of cycles. This provides “real-time” failure-in-progress data for diagnostics, significantly reducing test time and eliminating the need for post-mortem or destructive failure analysis. Associated 3D CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulation errors can be reduced from typically up to 20% to 0.5% for accurate thermal characterization of IGBTs and components due to Mentor’s calibration technology solely found in the MicReD T3Ster product.
  • Up to eight MicReD 600A Power Testers can be chained together to allow users to power cycle up to 128 IGBTs simultaneously in a system test. The MicReD Power Tester 600A product delivers 48-V under load, and users can deal with components mounted externally on cooling systems for maximum flexibility. The MicReD Power Tester 600A also meets the needs of emerging de facto EV/HEV power electronics testing best practices such as those currently being developed for the German automotive industry.

Mentor Graphics said it is uniquely positioned to provide a complete thermal software simulation and hardware testing solution specifically for the EV/HEV market. The MicReD Power Tester 600A product can be coupled with Mentor’s leading CFD simulation technologies. Mentor’s FloTHERM and FloEFD 3D CFD software provide front-loading thermal simulation of power modules.

“The MicReD Power Tester 600A is an extension of our total solution in automotive thermal engineering, and there is no other product like this for the EV/HEV market today,” stated Roland Feldhinkel, general manager of Mentor Graphics Mechanical Analysis Division. “We have leveraged our best-in-class products to deliver a comprehensive thermal simulation and hardware test solution that meets auto maker EV/HEV industry needs while supporting the rapid growth forecast for the market in the next few years.”


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