Drives and Controls Magazine
GaN devices boost the efficiency of ELV servodrives
Published:  03 February, 2020

Siemens has adopted a power semiconductor technology based on gallium nitride (GaN) for a new range of extra-low-voltage servodrives that it launched at the recent SPS show in Germany. The GaN devices are said to deliver benefits in terms of power density, efficiency and robustness.

The Simatic Micro-Drive range is designed to control EC (electronically commutated) motors with outputs from 11–1,000W operating at voltages from 24–48V. The four-quadrant drives, with built-in safety functions, can be used either with an integrated brake chopper on a power supply, or on batteries.

“With the GaN Systems devices, we are now able to increase the efficiency of the drives,” says Christian Neugebauer, Siemens’ product manager for the Micro-Drives. “With GaN, Siemens can switch to a higher frequency, thereby enabling a faster motor response time compared with high-voltage drive systems.”

The GaN devices are being supplied by the Canadian semiconductor specialist, GaN Systems, which claims to be the global leader in this technology.

Siemens’ Micro-Drive: powered by gallium nitride

“We are thrilled to see that the efforts that Siemens and GaN Systems have invested are now being realised,” says GaN Systems’ CEO, Jim Witham. “No longer is the GaN conversation about ‘if or when’. Clearly, it is ‘now.’”