TDK CeraLink enables compact and flexible high-performance inverters
A new traction inverter developed by Scienlab electronic systems features a compact and lightweight design with a high power density. It can be adapted flexibly to a wide spectrum of needs and is well-suited for use in a growing range of electric vehicles.
The new inverter was made possible by the use of CeraLink™ SMD capacitors in the DC link.The trend toward e-mobility is finally gaining traction in the market, as more and more vehicles of all kinds are being outfitted with energy efficient and zero emission drives. Besides cars, they include smaller utility vehicles used in municipal services, construction and agriculture and industrial trucks such as electric forklift trucks, automated factory floor vehicles and more.As a result, the need for compact, lightweight and high-performance drives in these vehicles is growing.Innovative inverter designIn response to this demand, Scienlab electronic systems, a specialist for power electronic designs based in Bochum, Germany, has developed a compact inverter (2 dm³), which has a power rating of 40 kW and can support operating voltages of 290 V DC to 420 V DC, making it suitable for a wide range of applications such as those mentioned above. The inverter’s hardware and software structures enable a very dynamic range of output currents and, as a result, very dynamic vehicle performance.The design of the new Scienlab traction inverter has four main functional units: the control circuit, driver, the power electronics, and the robust housing and connections. The inverter features an IGBT module with a fully controlled three-phase bridge circuit (B6C), while the DC link features innovative CeraLink capacitors as a key enabler for the new design (Fig. 1). The modular design makes the inverter very scalable to customer-specific current and power requirements. For example, a higher power IGBT module can be used with minimal adaptations to the driver PCB. The self-contained DC link circuit board can also be easily expanded simply by increasing the number of CeraLink capacitors. All the while, no change is necessary for the control circuit. Moreover, the inverter’s software, which resides in a controller for automotive applications, was created with a toolchain. This adaptive development process enables customer-specific software adaptations without necessitating major changes to the software structure.