NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As an integral part of a powerstack's "brain", gate driver boards continue to improve power module and stack performance. A 10% CAGR is forecast for the gate driver board market from 2013-2020. The market will reach a total value of ~US$250M by 2020, driven by renewable energies, smart-grid implementation and automotive applications.
AN INTEGRAL PART OF A POWERSTACK'S "BRAIN", GATE DRIVER UNITS (GDU) WILL INTEGRATE MORE FEATURES OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
Currently, performance improvement and increased system reliability are two important energy efficiency trends for reducing energy consumption. This is particularly essential for new wideband gap material, which offers higher frequency and temperature capabilities. In this context, the GDU must be improved to allow suitable performance for power transistors.
Typical criteria/requirements for GDU choice include:
Certification (i.e. reinforced acc. VDE884-10; ULxxx)
Features and functions
There are plenty of circuits, boards, designs and technology solutions described in this report. Each solution is dedicated to solving a specific issue. However, the current GDU market offers no standard solution – only same functions such as:
Overvoltage clamping and shape control of the current driver during turn-OFF
VCE FAULT monitoring
Several ongoing improvements are focused on both silicon and wideband gap materials, especially in using the materials' entire high-frequency capability. Objectives follow power stacks trend:
Effective switching solutions (for reduced overshoot and snubbers)
Allowance for higher frequency in order to reduce size
Finding a solution that works with different power module brands
This complex market includes captive and open players. There are several player types that develop GDUs – pure players, IC makers, power module and inverter makers, and integrators. Companies are also proposing improvements in IGBT/MOSFET performance through their driver technology, based on new design and software. With new software, some players (mainly pure GDU players) are developing intelligent monitoring solutions to improve the maintenance of systems. This is particularly critical for rail and avionics applications.
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