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Amantys touts smart control of high power systems

Posted: 29 Nov 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:performance monitoring  IGBT 

Amantys is a privately-funded, U.K.-based start-up looking to change the way power is converted in medium and high voltage applications, CEO Erwin Wolf and Marketing Director Richard Ord told EE Times Europe correspondent Paul Buckley in an interview. The company recently unveiled a performance monitoring solution designed to enable companies to monitor high power IGBT module systems in locomotive, wind turbine, high voltage DC and industrial drive applications.

Wolf says that though the company is still quite small with only 30 employees, it recently set up a new technical office in Shanghai in order to support its three distributors in China. Amantys also landed a $5 million investment from Avago Technologies just last month. Wolf considers the partnership as a strategic move since the plastic optical fibre link is Avago's domain so they share the same pool of customers.

When asked about where Amantys fits into the power sector, Wolf explains that his company's differentiating position can be summed as 'intelligent control of power.' They supply customers with algorithms to enable them to achieve real-time condition monitoring of the IGBT module. Ord adds that one of the key elements of efficiency is not necessarily the fine tuning of the turbine blade on the wind turbine it is whether the turbine blade is turning or not.

Amantys CEO Erwin Wolf

Wolf: Slowly the power semiconductor and the power device sector are coming out of the shadows.

"We are getting that 'under the bonnet' visibility right in the core of the power electronics that has been the challenge. Historically if you wanted to measure the temperature of a module you would need a thermistor and a wire which attracts all the interference you can imagine for the high voltage side. In effect from this side you really don't know whether your patient is alive or dead. What we have done is put sensors right at the core of the system, digitized it and then we control what signals are passed out using an ARM microcontroller over the fibre optic link. By doing that we are getting more reliable signals with less noise or interference and getting some real information back about how the switch is actually going. In this way people can learn how their systems are operating, modify the mission profile to make it more available and more efficient. Those are the areas Amantys is working on and why we have come into the market," Ord explains.

As for their global business strategy, Amantys believes distribution is a very important channel especially when standard devices like gate drives are concerned. But it gets trickier when it comes to product design-in technologies. Being a small company, Amantys says it is vital to carefully identify where it is necessary to add resources to help to make their distributors' life easier. "If the business opportunities really support it, I think we will aim to have our own sales people in Asia," notes Wolf.

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