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gate drive which can be a rolling snapshot in time of events and signals or it could be a longer sampled set of indicators. There is some storage in the control card and there is further storage in the Adaptor with a SD card. So when you get a failure event you can look back at some recent history and examine what happened in the run up to the fault. In this way you can start to learn how the system is operating and build a profile of recent events before a failure. With the Adapter we can also change the mission profile of the gate drive. We can reset the speed of switching. We can make it faster for greater efficiency or possibly slower to avoid voltage overshoot. We can tune it in real time. In commissioning environments Power Insight Adapter gives you a huge bonus in terms of the time saved to observe and fix different problems. If you have a failure in commissioning, say, in a High Voltage DC application you tend to need spanners as well as a ladder and you have to disassemble everything. With the Adapter you can simply look at it through a laptop and see that the electronics have tripped because a specific IGBT is running hotter than the others. Now you can realize that all that needs doing is to shift the load sharing to balance it out. Now you can do that without the half a day of disassembly by just looking at the application from a laptop. The Adapter allows an Amantys-enabled gate drive to talk to the outside world. The device hooks onto the unit without changing the host system. The time to install a Power Insight Adapter is very short and it allows people to evaluate the gate drives, evaluate the module as well as develop and commission the system. With the Adapter you can feed data out over the Internet or over your USB and you can also use it to set your alarms, thresholds and triggers. EE Times Europe: Is there a development kit for the Adaptor? Richard Ord: We are offering a development kit which uses a GUI interface that allows engineers to talk to four different gate drives through the fibre optic links. With the GUI you can click on an individual gate drive. You can set your PWM frequencies, you can set the duty cycle and the offset for individual gate drives and you can then watch what is happening. So you will be able to, say, look at the temperature on an individual gate drive. You will be able to see when the temperature begins to spike. You can also observe an individual gate drive when you want to look at it in more detail and you will be able to see if there has been a short circuit event or under voltage. The unit will tell you the time stamp of the last event. You will be able to see the temperature start to rise if there is a problem. You can also use the GUI to set thresholds. So you can instruct it to tell you when it goes below -30°C or above +55°C. You can actually configure the IGBT module and the mission profile you drive it with from outside the cold plate assembly. It might be that a particular industrial motor is used on a ship in the Tropics for a winch where it has a relatively constant load when it is switched on and off but that same industrial drive design might then be used in a steel mill where the load has a totally different profile. Using the Adaptor you can actually ‘tune’ the switching of the individual motor according to its application or according to its environment and that ‘tuning’ can be done ‘in situ’ at the installation. We are talking about condition monitoring in an area that has not traditionally had it. Erwin Wolf: I think the Adaptor is really going to give a system level advantage. It is not so much of an advantage for the Marketing director at Amantys, Richard Ord. module makers but it offers a major advantage for the system makers or somebody who wants to know how their offshore turbines are doing. Or how their trains are doing or a HVDC is doing. You can get the feedback and be able to act before it is too late. The Adaptor enables you to do preventative maintenance or switch an IGBT off before it blows up and the whole system trips. This is also only the first version of the Power Insight which was developed. We have a lot of ideas as to how to refine it. EE Times Europe: What does the immediate future hold for Amantys? Erwin Wolf: We started in Europe and the majority of our design-in projects in Europe are most advanced in the UK, France, Germany and Portugal. We have development activities with about ten to 15 OEMs - some of those are standard products others are featuring Power Insight. With some of them we will be very shortly going into serial production and a continuous revenue generating relationship which for a start-up is the first validation of the technology. We see a wide range of potential applications for our technology but we need to maintain our focus on immediate objectives and not go off-the road and become distracted. The major aims in the short term are to prepare ourselves for serial production to be ready from the quality management point of view and the supply chain management point of view. We need to get ISO 9001 certified - essentially all the unspectacular groundwork needs to be done to be ready for serial manufacturing and generating a continuous revenue stream. Then we can go on to enlarge the application areas in the medium term. In the short term the first stage applications are wind power and renewables, locomotive and transportation, industrial motors, power grid and HVDC. The second stage will look at lower voltages for electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles (HEV) and the UPS sector. www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe December 2013 35


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