Infineon gears up to tap the strong growth potential in mild hybrid vehicles.

Story by: Team ACI

Mild hybrids are increasingly gaining the reputation of being the ideal solution that offers the best of both worlds: power and performance. Infineon Technologies AG expects a significant growth curve too for the automotive 48-volt mild hybrids over the coming the years. To tap this growth potential, the company is expanding its portfolio of suitable power devices. For instance, the chip manufacturer is launching new packages for its 80-volt and 100-volt MOSFETs with OptiMOS™ 5 technology in order to meet the different requirements of different 48-volt applications. In view of this expected rise in demand, Infineon has set up a new manufacturing process to produce the chips on its line for 300-millimetre thin-wafers in Dresden, Germany. Averred Stephan Zizala, Vice President and General Manager Automotive High Power at Infineon, “In this decade, we will reach the point where the majority of all newly produced cars worldwide have a partially or fully electric powertrain.”

According to market research, production of models with 48-volt power supply and a mild hybrid drive is likely to increase more than tenfold between 2020 and 2030. In addition to the company’s portfolio of high-voltage systems in battery-electric drives as well as full and plug-in hybrids, the company has got down to strengthening its offerings pertaining to the 48-volt systems backed by new devices and expanded supply capacities, said Zizala.

Portfolio expansion at both ends of the power spectrum

Infineon offers a variety of 80-volt and 100-volt MOSFETs in OptiMOS 5 technology with very low, scalable on-state resistances down to 1.2 mΩ. For the core applications of a mild hybrid, for example, starter generators, battery switches and DC-DC converters, where high power densities are required, Infineon is also expanding its TOLx package family. This is known to be based on the established TOLL (TO-Leadless, 10 mm x 12 mm) product for standard copper substrate PCBs and currents up to 300 A.

In addition, the family comprises the TOLG (TO Leads Gullwing Design) package with identical footprint for Insulated Metal Substrates (IMS) with aluminium core. Since the thermal expansion coefficients of copper and aluminium differ, the use of IMS boards under high thermo-mechanical stress leads to increased stress on the soldered connections between package and PCB. In order to mitigate this stress, the TOLG package is equipped with gullwing leads.

A new package for top-side cooling

In the next step, Infineon will expand the TOLx family with a third member that is unique among the competition: the TOLT (TO Leads Top-Side Cooling) package. It enables heat dissipation through top-side cooling through the top of the package instead of through the PCB. This allows an increase in power of more than 20 per cent and reduces the necessary cooling effort on the board. The start of volume production of TOLT products is planned for 2021.

Next to the TOLx family, Infineon is also expanding the packaging portfolio addressing less power-hungry auxiliaries such as fans and pumps that are also increasingly being transferred to the 48-volt supply. Completely new are also the versions in the small S3O8 package (3.3 mm x 3.3 mm) for lower currents up to 40 A. They complement products with the slightly larger SSO8 package (5 mm x 6 mm) for currents up to 100 A that have been added to the portfolio recently.

Mild hybrid drives based on a 48-volt supply are claimed to be a fast and cost-effective way for car manufacturers to achieve lower CO2 fleet emissions. Among other things, they are said to allow higher recuperation energy compared to a 12-volt system and use the energy gained for electrical support of the combustion engine. In addition, a 48-volt supply offers performance and efficiency advantages for safety and comfort functions with high current loads, such as stability control or air-conditioning compressors. Depending on the configuration of the drive system and the number of auxiliary units, a mild hybrid is claimed to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15 per cent compared to a pure combustion engine. Products in TOLL, TOLG, SSO8 and S3O8 packages have been made available with the start of volume production of the TOLT product range planned for early 2021. ACI

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