We often think of the industrial sector as conservative, especially in the implementation of new technologies. But as we’ve moved into the latest phase of the industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 – which encompasses smart manufacturing and Industrial IoT (IIoT), pioneering technologies like GaN (gallium nitride) power transistors are being embraced. GaN is making waves in areas such as wireless charging of robots and drones, industrial power supplies, and motor drives.
Siemens, in a recent post, “Small, but oh my!” wrote about GaN’s role in power electronics and how the company moved from using silicon and silicon carbide semiconductors to GaN for its new generation of Siemens converters, which Siemens mentions is “a material that has never been used for semiconductors in drive technology.” According to Andreas Gröger of the Siemens Technology department, “GaN permits entirely new applications, and the challenge brought about a breakthrough in drive technology for the new semiconductor.”
These drives are satisfying the growing demands from their customers for low voltages, small footprint, and safety requirements.
Siemens is a great example of how some of the world’s largest companies are innovating with GaN and GaN Systems is excited to be part of the work the company is undertaking. In early 2020, we announced that Siemens released a GaN-based drive as part of its Simatic Micro-Drive product line, offering increased efficiency and faster motor response time. These mini drives is currently only two centimeters wide and requires no additional cooling which can be attributed to the use of GaN.
Modern manufacturing companies need to respond to the new technology and energy requirements to keep costs down, revenues up, and increase energy efficiencies across the factory floor. To maintain continuous operations, simpler and more reliable and powerful motor drives in all forms of machinery are needed and industrial companies are looking to GaN to deliver on those advantages.
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