Intelligent power switch delivers improved reliability and performance
November 10, 2011 // Paul Buckley
Intelligent power switch company, Amantys Ltd, has declared that a new approach is needed to improve the efficiency and reliability of power switching. The Cambridge company says the new way forward demands tight control at the core of the system, right by the transistor; remote control and monitoring of the system from afar.
The new power architecture unveiled by Amantys integrates all of these elements into a single intelligent power switch which claims to deliver unparalleled system control that will prove critical in applications as diverse as renewable energy generation, data centre power supplies, and hybrid and electric vehicles.
Amantys has built an experienced team, combining skills in power engineering, high-speed digital and analog electronics alongside embedded software and mechanical engineering to develop an intelligent power switch. The company was founded by Pete Magowan as Chairman, Bryn Parry and Mark Snook as CEO and Technical Director respectively, all experienced executives from ARM Limited.
In July 2011, Amantys secured a $7million Series A round investment, led by Moonray Investors, part of Fidelity International and ARM Holdings plc (ARM).
Amantys believes that current switching technology lacks the control critical for monitoring and improving switching performance. Intelligent power switching applies the full benefits of semiconductor device technologies to give the platform needed for reliable and efficient conversion. The Amantys product roadmap delivers the control and visibility vital to effective power conversion in medium and high voltage systems. The company sees applications such as HVDC, locomotive traction and industrial motors all benefiting from the early adoption of Amantys products.
In power transmission systems for example, regional and national grids are being connected across geographies and borders, and one of the challenges for HVDC is the reliability and robustness of the power connection. Amantys intelligent switch products are being developed to satisfy this need.
Ian Drew, EVP Strategy at ARM, said: “As we move into the Internet of Things, the ability to manage power more efficiently is going to become increasingly important. Amantys is helping to redefine the landscape of power electronics by deploying ARM processing at the heart of power conversion to provide intelligent switching.”
Amantys Ltd, is taking the first step on the road to intelligent power switching with the launch of the company’s first product which is an advanced, high isolation gate drive for medium and high voltage applications.
The Amantys Power Drive is a single channel gate drive that incorporates a number of system enhancements to deliver a compact solution designed for longer life reliability and improved performance over comparable solutions. The company anticipates strong demand in applications as varied as HVDC, industrial and locomotive motor drives, and hybrid and electric vehicles.
Amantys says that current products in the market are custom engineered for each application, and as a consequence, scarce and valuable power engineering resources are diverted from real product differentiation with repetitive engineering work.
At the recent launch of the UK’s “Power Electronics: A Strategy for Success” the scarcity of such skills was identified as one of the key industry challenges. By providing a common platform to drive a range of different IGBTs from several manufacturers, the Amantys Power Drive claims to offer greater design reuse allowing those skilled resources to be redeployed on higher-level product innovation.
The Amantys Power Drive is configurable for various power modules and offers control of the rate of voltage and current change (dV/dt and dI/dt). The compact design sits within the power module dimensions to give a more robust design and a smaller footprint. The design is compatible with existing drives but offers improved characteristics, switching modules from Infineon, Mitsubishi, Dynex and Toshiba.
Bryn Parry, CEO, Amantys, explained: “We’re launching the Amantys Power Drive as the first step on a very focused technology journey for Amantys; we’re thrilled that we’re already pushing the boundaries of existing market solutions. As a new company in the power electronics industry, early customer engagement is vital to building relationships, earning recognition, and of course, building first revenues. By raising industry’s expectations of a gate drive and how power is switched, this announcement paves the way for the intelligent power switch we’re developing right now.”
As well as attracting new finance during the summer of 2011, Amantys already has first contracts in place with lead customers with the company’s first product range.
Lead customers will receive the Amantys Power Drive samples in 2011 with general availability in the first quarter of 2012, and production beginning in the second quarter. The company expects to follow this first product announcement with further product releases in the first quarter of 2012. The Amantys Power Drive is priced at $625 for sample quantities.
Visit Amantys at www.amantys.com
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