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Case 5: Using a photocoupler to solve a problem of an industrial robot caused by overcurrent

Robots welding team in the automotive parts industry

Photocoupler for IGBT/MOSFET drive, optical isolation, alleviating an overcurrent problem, design support by specialized engineers

Frequent failures of an industrial robot caused by overcurrent brought a production line to a halt.
Without due support from its manufacturer, our customer was at a dead end...
TLP5214, an IGBT/MOSFET gate-drive photocoupler that helps prevent overcurrent while reducing the system size

Product Overview

A photocoupler is a component that transfers electrical signals between two isolated circuits by using light. A photocoupler converts an electrical signal into light using a light-emitting device and detects the light with a photosensitive device. The TLP5214 photocoupler is suitable for IGBT/MOSFET gate drive.


  • Superior insulation performance with an insulation thickness of 0.4 mm
  • Alleviates an overcurrent problem through gate drive and an integrated protection circuit
  • Design assistance provided by engineers specialized in photocouplers

Problem-Solving Examples

Solution for Company C, an industrial equipment manufacturer (Employee population: 2,000)

Company C, a major industrial equipment manufacturer, was struggling with an overcurrent problem. Industrial robots from another company that incorporate a photocoupler-based drive circuit selected by Company C had been acting up because of overcurrent, frequently bringing production lines to a halt.
Under these circumstances, Company C decided to develop a driver unit on its own with the aim of preventing the overcurrent problem by modifying the circuit specification. At the same time, Company C chose to reduce the size and improve the efficiency of the driver unit. This would require a major design change. The design team of Company C was going to ask a semiconductor vendor for technical support concerning a photocoupler to be used for optical isolation. The team tried to get a support from the semiconductor vendor, but, unfortunately, in the wake of reorganization of the vender, the team could not expect any support in China. The team was stuck with nowhere to turn. Its design project came to a dead end.


Solving the problem using the TLP5214 photocoupler for IGBT/MOSFET drive

Under these circumstances, an engineer of Company C learned about Toshiba’s TLP5214 IGBT/MOSFET drive photocoupler at a trade show, which would eventually solve its problem. The TLP5214 is a well-proven optically coupled photocoupler with a minimum insulation distance of 0.4 mm , which is far greater than that achievable with any other isolation method. The TLP5214 is widely used for gate drive of IGBT/MOSFET devices. In addition, the TLP5214 incorporates a protection circuit that prevents excessive current generated by an inverter circuit from flowing into an IGBT. Since the TLP5214 eliminates the need for an external protection circuit, it would reduce the workload required to modify a circuit design and make it possible to reduce the size of the power supply unit. Moreover, since the TLP5214 is manufactured in-house by Toshiba, the design team would not need to worry about its quality and would be able to receive support from specialized engineers.
Company C solved the overcurrent problem and released a new smaller power supply unit. Consequently, the industrial equipment from Company C was highly regarded in the industry.


Example of Toshiba’s Solution for a Customer’s Problem

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List of Problem-Solving Examples


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