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Wolfspeed WolfPACK™ modules – Applications and Market Overview

Dr. Ty McNutt
Jan 11, 2021
Chinese (中文)
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Wolfspeed WolfPACK™ modules – Applications and Market Overview

Electric vehicles (EVs) are driving innovation in the power electronics market, and with many countries subsidizing the use of these vehicles, the power electronics industry is definitely on an upward trajectory. This surge in the acceptance and usage of EVs is proving beneficial for allied industries like charging infrastructure in a big way. The need for having enough charging stations to support the usage of EVs is a foregone conclusion. Along with EVs, there are sectors like energy which are rapidly adopting power electronics to scale up and reduce the dependency on rapidly depleting reserves of natural resources. Many design engineers who are foreseeing the change have already started adopting advanced power electronics to create fast and efficient designs.

Key goals from a design perspective that are definitely here to stay – remain cost effective and keep the footprint small, while advancing improvements in efficiency and system performance. With such a background, Silicon Carbide (SiC) is slowly becoming a norm in power electronics space. With its unique capabilities of handling high current, relatively lower losses than silicon (Si) at high switching frequencies, Silicon Carbide is the semiconductor material of the future. In order to make best use of this semiconductor material, power modules are clearly the winner.

Modules help in keeping circuits compact by removing excess packaging/interconnections, improve the thermal management and therefore efficiency of common topologies, and enable faster implementation. Already well-established as versatile packages in the power electronics market, baseplate-less modules are now beginning to realize the many advantages of coupling with Silicon Carbide. This unique combination of individually established solutions is expected to be a well-suited match for the requirements of design engineers, as Silicon Carbide allows for a smaller footprint and system cost optimization without sacrificing efficiency and performance. See how our Silicon Carbide components can improve the performance of your existing design using our SpeedFit Simulator.

In order to support this surge in demand, Wolfspeed is launching the Wolfspeed WolfPACK portfolio of new power modules that combines the benefits of Silicon Carbide with the latest interconnect technologies in a single, compact solution that when compared with several discrete, non-discrete, and several other modules available on the market, is capable of delivering maximum power per footprint The Wolfspeed WolfPACK is baseplate-less, which makes it lightweight and offers designs a much smaller footprint when compared to legacy high power baseplate modules.

The Wolfspeed WolfPACK is being launched in half-bridge and six-pack configurations—the two most commonly used configurations, or “building blocks” in various circuit designs. You can learn more about Wolfspeed WolfPACK, its performance, and other specifications on the Wolfspeed WolfPACK family page.

Silicon Carbide technology is in the driver’s seat

SiC MOSFETs and diodes have already been proven to meet all the overlapping design goals of car owners, businesses, and municipalities when it comes to supporting fast off-board charging. SiC-based solutions are cooler, smaller, greener, lighter, tougher, faster, and more efficient than any other option available today.

Take, for example, an EV-charging infrastructure: Silicon Carbide technology is used to minimize the size and weight of a charging station while maintaining the charge time and decreasing overall losses. This allows for integration into a variety of environments, which, in turn, is beginning to help make these charging stations as ubiquitous as a gas pump for fueling combustion engines.

While EVs are getting a lot of attention, there are many other applications for SiC-based power modules which are gaining momentum, for example, power grids that must accommodate a fast-charging EV infrastructure, as well as other high power industrial and commercial loads. These modules are going to be an excellent addition for supplementing today’s power grid with key Energy Storage Systems that can be directly connected to the grid. This not only helps satisfy an increase in demand for clean energy through gradual upgrades but helps to quickly expand the grid infrastructure.

Speaking of clean energy, solar and renewable energy power are quickly becoming a key part of modernizing these grids. However, while the increased reliance on these alternative energy resources is a positive step forward, balancing supply and demand is a critical challenge facing the renewable energy sector.

In the case of solar energy solutions, weather conditions can cause the power supplied by photovoltaic (PV) modules to fluctuate heavily. Taking a closer look: The power supplied by these PV modules comes in the form of DC and must be converted to AC by solar inverters, so it can be sent to the grid for local consumption or transmission to the point of use. While this is a bit of a cumbersome process, a baseplate-less SiC module simplifies the process due to its high efficiency when used to convert DC to AC. Furthermore, this solution reduces the size, weight, and cost of PV inverters as much as 50%1 while simultaneously increasing efficiency, which is a key feature considering the heavy utilization that these systems demand from the technology.

Aside from EV and renewable energy use cases, there is also a broad range of non-automotive, motor-based applications for baseplate-less Silicon Carbide technologies, specifically as they relate to electrically controlled motors. Among the various types of motors and drives that can benefit from a small footprint, SiC-based power is quickly becoming commonplace in AC and servo drives for industrial automation applications. This includes tool machines, logistics systems, and robots, among others. This is due in large part to the fact that a baseplate-less topology affords these industries increased thermal performance and improved scalability.

In addition, SiC-based power modules are well suited for enabling high-efficiency energy storage systems, as well as double-conversion systems in uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems. This is largely because their modular design allows for built-in redundancies and eliminates single-point failure. Further scalability and capacity are made possible by stacking power modules to achieve even better energy efficiency while lowering cost of ownership, thanks to baseplate-less packaging that provides designers improved efficiency, better thermal management, and greater dependency.

Wolfspeed’s WolfPACK leverages decades of Silicon Carbide investment

Wolfspeed’s latest power modules feature industry-leading Silicon Carbide solutions in a baseplate-less design to enable multiple configurations across power levels applicable to EVs, renewable energy, the grid, industrial, and many other application areas.

More specifically, the new Wolfspeed WolfPACK family of power modules houses several Silicon Carbide MOSFETs inside a container that provides press-fit, solder-less pins to interface with an external PCB. This affords the designer greater flexibility and scalability because they feature application specific pinouts optimized based on the internal arrangement of the MOSFETs, such as half-bridge, full-bridge, six-pack, and buck/boost layouts.

Unlike most other high-current modules, the bottom of the Wolfspeed WolfPACK housing does not contain a baseplate. Rather, it uses a ceramic substrate for an electrically isolated thermal pad with metal mounting tabs for a spring-force interface with the heatsink. The benefit of this approach is that it distributes pressure evenly along the bottom of the module to ensure sound, thermal contact with the heatsink, thereby providing a rigid and robust mechanical link between the heatsink, module, and PCB. High power density in a small baseplate-less footprint package enabled by Silicon Carbide technology combined with compact layout and cleaner faster switching affords designers as much as a 25% reduction in size.

Conclusion

Wolfspeed has long been driving the industry transition to Silicon Carbide technology. The Wolfspeed WolfPACK modules are the result of the company’s significant investment in Silicon Carbide solutions, representing more than 17 years of MOSFET production experience.

This is no better represented than Wolfspeed having recently built the world’s largest Silicon Carbide fabrication facility, located in Marcy, New York. The manufacturing facility is meant to complement the company’s mega materials factory expansion currently underway at our Durham, North Carolina, headquarters. The two facilities will dramatically increase capacity for Wolfspeed Silicon Carbide technology to meet the rising demand.

With the introduction of the new Wolfspeed WolfPACK modules, Wolfspeed’s power portfolio now covers the entire spectrum of applications, providing solutions to designers in diverse applications — from single-kilowatt designs to megawatt systems. Wolfspeed WolfPACK modules offer tremendous performance along with flexibility and scalability. The fact that they are built with the backbone of Wolfspeed’s industry-leading Silicon Carbide technology makes them a perfectly reliable choice.

Featured Products

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Configuration
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Current Rating
RDS(ON) at 25°C
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CAB006M12GM3
GM3
Half-Bridge
1200 V
200 A
6 mΩ
Gen 3 MOS
150 °C
62.8 mm x 56.7 mm
GM3
Half Bridge (AlN substrate)
1200 V
200 A
6 mΩ
Gen 3 MOS
150 °C
62.8 mm x 56.7 mm
GM3
Half Bridge (AlN substrate)
1200 V
194 A
8 mΩ
Gen 3 MOS
150 °C
62.8 mm x 56.7 mm
GM3
Half-Bridge
1200 V
146 A
8 mΩ
Gen 3 MOS
150 °C
62.8 mm x 56.7 mm
FM3
Half-Bridge
1200 V
105 A
11 mΩ
Gen 3 MOS
150 °C
FM3
Half-Bridge
1200 V
78 A
16 mΩ
Gen 3 MOS
150 °C
62.8 mm x 33.8 mm
FM3
Six-pack (three-phase)
1200 V
51 A
21 mΩ
Gen 3 MOS
150 °C
FM3
Six-pack (three-phase)
1200 V
40 A
32 mΩ
Gen 3 MOS
150 °C

Featured Design Tools for Wolfspeed WolfPACK™ SiC Power Modules

We lead the pack by making sure Silicon Carbide system education and design resources are right at your fingertips through our reference designs, evaluation kits, gate drivers, and technical resources. Learn more about Wolfspeed WolfPACK companion parts to better understand how this new module platform can help you increase product performance, accelerate time to market, and lower costs.

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EVAL-ADUM4146WHB1Z
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