The Innovative Benchmark Software for Power Converters

Benchmark and Trade-off Solutions of Power Converter Designs

To reach the highest power converter efficiency at the best cost, it is mandatory to find the right topology and semiconductor devices

Libraries of devices and materials

2-level and multilevel topologies

Automated multi-parameter sweep

Mass, volume, losses and cost estimates

Customizable data visualization tools

Interface with third-party software

Call for tenders / Client specification / Internal R&D

Isolated DC/DC (work in progress)

Provide a standard platform for cost effective power converter design dedicated to all engineers worldwide, regardless their experience

Throughout all the researches on multicell and multilevel power converters we have been conducting all these years at the LAPLACE Laboratory, we have seen tremendous interest in these solutions which will improve the performances of static converters. However, in the context of our industrial partnerships, we also see that integrating such innovations in products is not always easy given the number of degrees of freedom, the level of technical sophistication required and the limited time available to conduct a thorough exploration of the solutions.

For all these reasons, I chose to devote myself to the development of a design tool which will run a case-by-case assessment depending on the evolution of the component technologies of the different solutions, from the most common to the most innovative ones. I believe that PowerForge is an essential tool to help make the right decision in the early-stage design phase. A decision no longer solely based on habits or intuition - which can be dangerous in our field - but relying on an unbiased and replicable approach.
Thierry Meynard, PhD.
PowerForge Scientific Advisor

Libraries of components and materials

PowerForge offers large librairies of power converter components. It allows you to find the best semiconductor technology and manufacturer for your power converter.

These libraries are assembled from manufacturer-provided data, harmonized in a universal data set enabling a fair comparison across manufacturers and technologies:

  • Semiconductors in discrete or module packages (leg, NPC, T-type) with Si IGBT, Si MOSFET, SiC MOSFET and GaN FET from the major manufacturers. Conduction and switching losses are included for all technologies.
  • Film capacitors from multiple manufacturers with electrical characteristics including ESR.
  • Magnetic materials with main characteristics and loss curves.

2-level and multilevel topologies

Many topologies of both non-isolated DC/DC converters and 3-phase inverters are available for comparison in PowerForge:

DC/DC :

  • 2-level Buck / Boost
  • Multi-level Flying Capacitor Buck / Boost
DC/AC :
  • 2-level (Inverter or Rectifier)
  • 3-level Neutral-Point Clamped (NPC) Inverter/Rectifier
  • 3-level T-Type Inverter / Vienna Rectifier
  • Multi-level Flying Capacitor Inverter / Rectifier
  • Multi-level Stacked Multicell Converter Inverter / Rectifier


For motor drive design (especially in the Medium Voltage domain) the choice of the pulse-width modulation (PWM) strategy can have a major impact on both the efficiency and the harmonic distortion (THD). PowerForge offers a panel of 10 inverter modulation strategies (sine, third harmonic injection, space vector, …) and the choice between PD and APOD multilevel carrier dispositions.

Automated multi-parameter sweep

Sweep over many values for all key converter design parameters to explore countless possibilities and reach the optimal design.
The main parameters available for sweeping are:

  • Power semiconductor devices (IGBT, Si/SiC MOSFET, GaN FET)
  • Topologies and number of levels
  • Switching frequency
  • Modulation strategy
  • Number of parallel devices
  • Number of interleaved parallel legs

PowerForge provides comprehensive performance data for each parameter combination, helping engineers to identify the best power converter design solution.

Mass, volume, losses and cost estimates

For each explored design option, PowerForge estimates the key converter performance indicators:

    • Losses – including a chip-by-chip breakdown of conduction losses and switching losses
    • Mass / weight
    • Volume
    • Costs

 

These figures include not only semiconductor devices, but also heatsink and filtering inductors / capacitors. Customizable first-order models are available to estimate the performance of these passive components.

Customizable data visualization tools

Effortlessly build graphs that highlight the power converters performance trade-offs relevant to your project, such as:
  • Efficiency vs cost
  • Power density vs cost
After exploring a wide range of design options, identifying the “efficiency vs power density” Pareto front is immediate using these customizable graphs. With the help of result filtering, you may also compare across several possible solutions how total converter losses and cost are broken down between semiconductor devices, heatsink and filtering passives.

Interface with third-party software

PowerForge offers a connection with industry-standard software tools (PSIM, PLECS, Excel…). These file exports help the designers compare, verify and carry on with the design of their chosen solution.

  • PSIM and PLECS: PowerForge creates a schematic file of a selected solution with the associated semiconductor loss model files. These files can be used for verification of loss estimates and converter control development.
  • FEMM (Finite Element Method Magnetics): inductor 2D finite-element models can be exported from PowerForge and used to verify, fine-tune and optimize inductor designs through electromagnetic finite element analysis.
  • Excel: PowerForge creates multiple files containing:
    • All the evaluated solution main characteristics (efficiency, cost, power,…)
    • The details of a solution (each semiconductor losses, capacitance losses,…)
    • The efficiency vs output power of a chosen device.

Call for tenders / Client specification / Internal R&D

However short the deadline, you need to propose a solution that meets your client’s needs.

  • Call for tenders: PowerForge allows the user to set up the specifications of its power converter according to the tender/RFP/RFQs specifications. These solutions can be compared/benchmarked (SiC MOSFET vs IGBT – topologies – cost – loss – performance – volume…) thanks to the PowerForge library of power converter components and materials, and thanks to the main topology list proposed by PowerForge.
  • Proposal to clients: PowerForge gives a first approach of power converter designs. It enables to manage different solutions of power converters in order to have the best solutions to the final customers.
  • Internal R&D: PowerForge supports power electronics experts with their power conversion research & development projects.