STMicroelectronics Strengthens Presence in Industrial Market

Article By : Stephen Las Marias

STMicroelectronics is strengthening its presence in the industrial market with several solutions targeted at the power and energy, and motor control developments.

The industrial market is one of fastest growing end-applications segment for the semiconductor industry. According to market analyst IHS Markit, the industrial semiconductor market will achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% over the 2018–2021 period. Among the fastest growing segments, relative to their market size, are the manufacturing and process automation, which is expected to register a 7.2% CAGR; power and energy, 7.1%CAGR; and medical electronics, 7.5% CAGR. The security and video surveillance market, on the other hand, is forecast to achieve a 19% CAGR, albeit coming for a lower base.

In line with this positive outlook, STMicroelectronics is further strengthening its presence in the market with several solutions targeted at the power and energy, and motor control developments.

Focus on Industrial Applications

“ST has four main pillars for which we have developed such a strategy,” says Francesco Muggeri, Regional VP of Marketing & Applications for Power Discrete and Analog Products, Asia Pacific, at STMicroelectronics, during a recent online media conference. “One of these markets is automotive. Others areindustrial, personal electronics, and communications equipment, computers and peripherals.”

Francesco Muggeri

STMicroelectronics is one of the leading semiconductor solutions providers in the industrial applications segment. Power discrete currently accounts for more than 25% share of TAM in the industrial market and ST ranks second overall in industrial power discretes. The company has more than 15% share of the global low-voltage MOSFETS market for high-end industrial automation applications; more than 30% share of  high-voltage MOSFET Superjunction in lighting and power conversion sectors; and more than 10% share in the global IGBT and IPM market for home appliances.

“Today, we will focus on our industrial strategy, which has been executed to reinforce and extend our leadership position at several levels,” he says. “We want to strengthen our position in industrial embedded processing and MCU and CPU products. Then, we want to grow our presence and strengthen our portfolio in analog and sensing and expand our industrial presence in the field of power and energy management.”

Power & Energy Developments

In the last year, ST has created three competence centers andhas expanded its workforce by 25 people. One major competence center is dedicated to power and energyapplications.

“It is very strategic to strengthen this market by considering the key trends,” says Muggeri. “You will see that the demand for power is increasing. Now, data shows a 30% growth from 2020 to 2030. There is a strong commitment from all the countries in the world to reduce the CO2 emission by 45% by 2030, compared with what was emitted in 2010. With the focus on new energies and renewable energies, we need to focus on saving energy and generating more green energy.”

Among the first solutions produced by ST’s competence center is the 15 kW bidirectional converter with power factor correction (PFC) (Figure 1). Supported by ST’s SiC devices and digital controllers, including the STPower and STM32, the solution is well suited for the Active Front End (AFE) stage in high power electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, industrial battery chargers and UPS. The high switching frequency of the SiC MOSFETs and the multilevel structure allow nearly 99% efficiency as well as the optimization of passive power components in terms of size and cost. The bidirectional converter is expected to save more than 320kWh in one year (assumption of 12-hour operation per day based on a single DCDC EV charging pile).

Next is the 65 W Type-C charger for mobile phones and personal electronics. Featuring efficiencies of 93%–94%, the very compact device enables standard phone charging in 30min. One key factor in this solution is the half-bridge driver with 650V GaN FET in SiP.

Motor Control Strategy

Muggeri also talked about ST’s motor control strategy for home appliances, such as air conditioning units and refrigerators.

ST’s wide range of product portfolios enable it to support seven architectures for the same solution. “For example, here we address air conditioning from 1.5kW to 2kW,” Muggeri explains. “We can have four different architectures. First,completely discrete, so we let customers to organize their boards in the way they prefer. The second one with ACEPACK enables us to deliver higher level of power in compact solution. Even more, if space is a constraint, you can leverage our MOSFETs solution in just two blocks of STM32F3 and G4 for example, and our SLLIMM family of intelligent power modules (IPM). In addition, we can architecture it in another way—we can integrate STM32 corewith the drivers plus this discrete solution. This is really an optimized solution when space becomes constrained.”

For the aircon systems, one latest solution is the 1.5 kW dualmotor drive with digital PFC based on SLLIMM IPMs and STM32. (Figure 3) The board embeds two sensorless 3-phase motor drives and a single-stage digital PFC boost topology, all controlled by the STM32F303RB MCU. The SLLIMM IPMsseries of intelligent power modules enable compactness in a simple, rugged design.

Its refrigerator board, meanwhile, is the 250W motor drive solution for compressor based on STSPIN32F0601 andSTGD6M65DF2 trench gate IGBT 650V. The STSPIN32F0601 SiP and high-energy-efficiency IGBTsdramatically reduce the components number and PCB space, thereby enabling a more compact, yet powerful design.

The IGBT Trench Field-stop (TFS) is one of the biggest investments of ST, according to Muggeri. “If you go into the market, one out of five customers will tell you that they use our IGBTs. So, when you open an air conditioner, a fridge,and a washing machine, you will find our technology inside one time out of five,” he says.

“Motor control, power and energy, and automation are the three main segments that you will hear from us in the future. And we have solutions: the 15 kW Bidirectional PFC that you can use in charging stations for infrastructure like the electricvehicles and solar systems; the 65 W Type-CTM and power delivery charger and our GaN FET SiP. For motor control, we have showed two solutions: one is for air conditioning, the other is for refrigerators. I think you can realize our strength and capability and understand our strong focus on these markets. The industrial market is waiting for us,” concludes Muggeri.


Stephen Las Marias is a contributing writer for EETimes Asia.


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