How semiconductor advances can drive improved motor control

How semiconductor advances can drive improved motor control

BLDC motors are found in many applications including industrial control, automotive systems and in the office or home. BLDC motors power electric fans, air conditioning pumps as well as controlling the moving parts in devices such as printers.

Efficiency is a consideration in almost every application, either due to rising energy costs or the limited availability of power (in a battery-powered application for example). Thus BLDC motors are required to operate at maximum efficiency irrespective of the rotational speed or torque. When used in close proximity to people - especially in office or home applications - a low level of acoustic noise is another key requirement.

Analog power process development roadmap for MCD

Semiconductors have a significant role to play in advancing the technology behind motor drivers. Control ICs have improved as the silicon has evolved from bipolar to the latest BiCD processes. These allow logic and high-voltage circuitry to be fabricated on a single chip. As a result, today’s controllers have smaller die sizes, lower power losses and are directly compatible with modern low-voltage logic devices such as the latest generation microcontrollers.

Successive BiCD process generations, moving forward from the 0.8µm geometry of the late 1990’s, have driven up gate density from around 6,000 gates/mm2 to over 200,000 gates/mm2 in Toshiba's advanced 0.13 µm process. This supports significantly greater logic capability in the latest motor control ICs, allowing control functionality to be offloaded from the host microcontroller. The result is simpler system software and circuit design.

Compared to bipolar technology, BiCD controllers save more than 80% of the power normally dissipated thereby significantly helping to improve energy efficiency.

In addition, Toshiba's 0.13µm process enables on-chip logic circuitry to operate from voltages as low as 1.5V. This allows the motor control IC to connect directly to the main controlling processor or microcontroller. The host device is likely to be a low-voltage device with low-voltage input/output lines that would otherwise require level shifting electronics between the host processor and motor control IC.

To learn more about Toshiba's advanced, yet simple, motor control solutions, please click here:

A new window will open