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Nolan Johnson talks with Eduardo Benmayor, general manager at Aismalibar, about materials challenges facing the powertrain portion of the automotive EV industry. Eduardo also speaks about what he sees as the biggest challenge facing EVs—infrastructure.
Nolan Johnson: Aismalibar is in a position to have a unique perspective on some of the dynamics in automotive production. What are you seeing as major trends in automotive currently?
Eduardo Benmayor: As you may know, in the automotive industry the percentage of electronics inside the car is growing every year, so that’s been on the table for many, many years. Right now, we see three main families of electronics inside the car. The first is related to securities, radars, detectors and all kinds of cameras. Then, we have all the power electronics, which Aismalibar is focused on: AC/DC converters, DC/DC converters, on-board charging stations or external charging stations, all related to high power and a lot of heat. The third family is telecommunications and communications of the car with external devices and the internet, which is a completely different area of the electronics business.
Our business is mainly focused on how the electronics engineers are designing the heat dissipation and dielectric strength around the electronic chargers inside the car. This drives them to a lot of different problems, and all these problems are viewed with different solutions. We don’t see a clear trend in the automotive industry; sometimes the big players go in one direction with IGBT technologies, others go to the MOSFET technologies, while others go with a completely different technology. There is not a standard trend, in general.
Johnson: How do you cope with that?
Benmayor: We listen to all of them, because you can study and learn from the different cases. They normally ask us to offer them the best solutions, which are always focused on two main aspects. First, what Aismalibar can offer in terms of releasing heat from the electronics through metal PCB boards. That’s one direction. The other direction is how much power can be applied to these inverters, AC/DC converters or DC/DC converters, granting the dielectric strength at the initial point and through the aging of the material. This is a big topic today. Let me give you a very clear example.
When designers want to increase the power of the boards, they normally tend to increase the voltage up to, let’s say 600 or 800 volts constant on a power module. By applying this much current through such a thin dielectric layer, their main concern is how to keep the dielectric strength during X amount of thousand hours, combined with high temperature and high humidity. They are concerned with how to keep these high voltages running on the devices, and at the same time, keep the device stable and capable of running for a long time. This is a challenge today. Our R&D team is working very hard on how to achieve these goals, to avoid copper migration and other aspects that influence the long run of the dielectric layer in a metal PCB board.
To read this entire interview, which appeared in the March 2021 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.