SmartD is focused on creating motor control products for this century based on three core technologies that build on each-other to bring you the best value. These three technologies are:
- Wide band gap transistors
- Multi-level inverters
- Modulation & control algorithms
By using these technologies together, we are able to engineer products that combine the features that are normally found in multiple different products. We are also able to achieve these results by keeping product cost much lower and product size much smaller.
Wide Band Gap Transistors
The emergence of a new generation of power electronics transistors (dubbed wide-bandgap (WBG)), such as Gallium-Nitride (GaN) and Silicone Carbide (SiC) transistors, offer new capabilities based on their properties of low RdsON, fast switching, and low switching loss.
When these properties are applied to motor drives, they can improve energy efficiency and signal quality. In the field, they can result in high motor efficiency, fast control response, lower motor torque ripple, smaller filter size, lower cost filter, and more.
However, getting these results is not as simple as pushing technology onto a product. With their very high switching frequency, the use of wide-bandgap comes with its own intricacies, which have been mastered by SmartD’s team of research and development through the use of novel electronic configurations and patent-pending modulation methods. To achieve these results, SmartD also works in collaboration with some of the most advanced WBG specialists in the industry.
Multilevel inverters (MLIs) are used as power converters for energy conversion systems in many industrial applications such as renewable energy conversion systems, grid connected inverters, electric transportation, electrical vehicles, aerospace and other industrial plant applications.
However, MLI have not made their way to Low Voltage Motor Control because of the theoretical high cost.
What was missing from this equation are the benefits of improved harmonic content, reduced dv/dt, lower switching frequency and losses, higher efficiency, decreased electromagnetic interference (EMI) and fault-tolerant capabilities. When tallied up, the benefits of using MLI actually deliver products at a much lower total cost of ownership.
SmartD has perfected the use of MLI by optimizing inverter configuration for motor control applications using WBG transistors. We have done so in collaboration with world-renowned researchers from the ETS GREPCI research group through joint research projects and IP licensing agreement.
Modulation & Control Algorithms
Precise control and modulation algorithms are needed to take full advantage of WBG and MLI applied to motor drives.
SmartD’s strong IP portfolio of control and modulation algorithms reduce the size and number of passive elements needed in inverters while enabling sensorless VFD control. This decreases the cost of the product and increases its reliability.
Additionally, it is relevant to note that WBG transistors do not generate benefits everywhere they are used. Using our innovative modulation method enables us to use WBG transistors optimally. They are only used where product design requires it, thereby getting to most of their properties while minimizing costs.
Advanced control algorithms implemented by SmartD take full advantage of the latest generation of processors to dynamicaly optimize performance and reduce undesirable side-effect of high frequency switching.
As we continue to improve our modulation and advanced control algorithms into the future, we strive to further replace hardware with software and pass on the savings to our customers.