Friday, December 3, 2010


The wall is beginning to crack open. Maybe it's all the press about energy efficiency or maybe it's induction motor consumers looking for something higher tech, but the benefits of BLDC technology are sinking in.
However, they is one important hang up. Many manufacturers who now use induction motors in their products have never had electronics, much less power electronics, in their products. It's a new technology to them and they are understandably reluctant to take the risk. Unfortunately, unlike its lower powered cousins, power electronics can fail dramatically. Some manufacturers have had bad experiences in the past where failures released the "magic smoke" of burning electronics. An interesting case in point was the recent failure on the new Boeing 787 in flight tests. Here is a link describing that system
Here is a link describing a probable cause:

All of us in the power electronics industry must do our part to enhance and demonstrate reliability. There is no inherent reason a motor drive or an inverter can't be as reliable as century old technologies like induction motors, but we are going to have to prove it to the world.

To that end, we at the IEEE Twin Cities chapter Power Electronics Society (PELS), of which I am a member, are presenting talk by Eric Persson of International Rectifier on "A fresh look at FET failure mechanisms during fast switching"

Click on the link to go to the IEEE site for the meeting details.

Hopefully, under the PELS banner we can foster more discussion of this topic.