The Simcenter POWERTESTER 2400A from Mentor, a Siemens business, is a test solution to evaluate electric and hybrid vehicle (EV/HEV) power electronics reliability by combining power cycling with failure in progress diagnosis. Today’s EV/HEV designers deal with significant mission-critical challenges, particularly ensuring the thermal reliability of power electronics modules; detecting potential degradation of power semiconductors such as IGBTs caused by a range of standard drive cycles; and identifying the underlying thermal failure root causes. A Simcenter POWERTESTER provides accurate and reliable test results that scale to real-world requirements. This solution enables EV/HEV development and power electronics hardware reliability engineers to test power semiconductors (such as insulated gate bipolar transistors – IGBTs, MOSFETs, and similar discrete devices and modules) for mission-critical thermal reliability and lifecycle performance. Thermal reliability issues can result in EV/HEV automotive recalls, and the ever wider adoption of electric and hybrid cars has created a specific need for this solution.

The product meets the industry’s need for power electronics thermal simulation and test, delivering unmatched accuracy and scalability:
• Comprehensive Diagnostics for Thermal Reliability: Easy setup and fully-automated power cycling reliability testing for lifetime estimation purposes. All diagnostic information is recorded during testing, from current, voltage and die temperature sensing, to unique thermal “structure function” changes that point to reasons for thermal failures in the package structure.
• Test Flexibiity and Scalability: IGBT modules and other power semiconductors can be tested through tens of thousands of cycles capturing “real-time” failure-in-progress data for diagnostics, significantly reducing test time and eliminating post-mortem or destructive failure analysis. Several power cycling options are available. Short and long duration cycles that initiate self-heating in a power are supported (for so called PCsec and PCmin tests) which is an important capability to support testing to meet emerging vehicle power electronics standards.
• Simulation Accuracy: Highly accurate and repeatable thermal characterization data captured during testing can be used to automatically calibrate simulation models for more accurate virtual prediction of thermal behavior to improve designs or assist with extended reliability studies.

Electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles are changing the transportation industry so Mentor developed the Simcenter POWERTESTER 2400A to further address this fast-growing trend among power electronics applications. This new product tests electric and hybrid vehicle (EV/HEV) power electronics reliability during power cycling. Simcenter POWERTESTER includes a range of power cycling options that help users in designing test strategies to meet requirements from emerging vehicle power electronics standards. Simcenter POWERTESTER 2400A also allows users to test power modules using their own customized cooling arrangements to further reflect real world vehicle cooling system influences. As samples under test are not removed during power cycling because failure diagnosis is integrated to power cycling testing (using thermal transient test methods) the overall lifetime test time is significantly reduced comparatively to alternate approaches ( reduction can be by up to a factor of 10).

The Simcenter POWERTESTER offering allows EV/HEV development and power electronics hardware reliability engineers to test power semiconductors (such as insulated gate bipolar transistors – IGBTs, MOSFETs, and similar discrete devices and modules) for mission-critical thermal reliability and lifecycle performance. Thermal reliability issues can result in EV/HEV automotive recalls, and the ever wider adoption of electric and hybrid cars has created a specific need for this solution. The Simcenter POWERTESTER 2400A product also meets the industry’s need for power electronics thermal simulation and test, delivering unmatched accuracy, flexibility and scalability.

The Simcenter POWERTESTER can be combined with leading CFD simulation technologies from Mentor, A Siemens Business. Simcenter FloTHERM and Simcenter Flotherm XT electronics cooling software and Simcenter FLOEFD 3D CFD software enable front-loading of thermal simulation earlier in power module development. Simcenter T3STER technology, built into Simcenter POWERTESTER, allows thermal Structure Functions to be generated that provide insight into the power module package thermal structure. Structure Functions represent the heat flow path of a power semiconductor from junction heat source to ambient surrounding. Incorporating Structure Functions in simulation helps identify inconsistency between the assigned model inputs and simulated performance to accurate measurement data. An automatic calibration procedure possible with optimization tools available in each of these simulation software tools, changes model inputs automatically so model simulated structure function matches the imported measurement based structure function. Once the structure function match is achieved, a model is fully calibrated and will respond correctly and accurately to different power pulse and transient modeling scenarios. This combination of technologies allows users to generate IGBT thermal lifetime failure estimations with the greatest accuracy possible. This test and simulation combined offering is unique in the industry.

One customer using Simcenter POWERTESTER solution is Delta Electronics, which develops high-efficiency and high-density power module products. “We apply the POWERTESTER 1500A to gain insight into the lifetime performance and assure the reliability of the IGBT module,” said Andy Liao, section manager, Delta Electronics. “The POWERTESTER 600A could provide a scalable solution that would allow us to measure many discrete power devices or modules concurrently. This increased testing throughput would give us statistical failure data that we need in order to accurately predict the field lifetime of the products.”

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