Microsemi adds aviation electrics speciality team in Ireland
The 180 sq metre R&D facility will support the design, development and manufacturing of Microsemi’s new product line of high reliability aviation intelligent power solutions (IPS).
The MEA concept aims to replace more of the systems actuation in commercial airframes with electric rather than hydraulic drives, with potential benefits in weight saving and reduced maintenance. However, this implies a significant increase in generated power, in bus capacity and complexity, in power conversion (between buses) and in solid-state power switching – all of which requires to have the highest levels of reliability; and of efficiency, to relieve thermal issues.
Microsemi says it will be investigating topics such as the use of silicon carbide (SiC) switches, and of the development of integrated control units employing both its advanced switches, and its FPGA (former Actel) technology – already well established in aerospace/defence. One such concept is tagged CMM – control and monitoring module. Design in this field is, a company spokesman says, “all about thermal [issues]”. The company already works with Boeing and Airbus, and with aviation systems suppliers at a number of levels (tier-one, tier-two etc).
“Our new Aviation Centre of Excellence is the latest example of Microsemi’s investment in research and development in Ireland, and reflects our Ennis facility’s important contributions to the wider Microsemi global product/technology development network. We now offer a complete solution for high reliability aviation intelligent power solutions from design to manufacturing,” notes Jim Aralis, chief technology officer and vice president of advanced development at Microsemi, adding “The facility will not only provide access to a portfolio of highly integrated, flexible and scalable solutions for aviation electric actuation and power conversion applications, but customers will also have access to a full technical service provider as an extension of their design teams.”
The facility’s new research and development laboratory is fully resourced with modelling, simulation, analysis and algorithm development capabilities providing accelerated product innovation. The measuring equipment enables extensive product testing while a dedicated reliability laboratory facilitates product qualification and long-term application specific life testing. As the aviation sector continues to demand higher levels of reliability and integration in the area of power electronics in order to realise the goal of (MEA), Microsemi’s Aviation Centre of Excellence will play a critical role in supporting this objective.
Among the flagship products of Microsemi’s Aviation Centre of Excellence is the aviation power core module (PCM) with an integrated FPGA and hybrid power drive (HPD) stage. The PCM controls the electrical motors used in applications such as primary flight control actuation and landing gear systems. It interfaces seamlessly with aircraft power supplies and flight computers, providing vital sensor feedback for monitoring. Customisation options are also available.