Infineon and Bombardier have entered into a strategic partnership in the field of drive electronics for advanced rail vehicles. Infineon will supply semiconductors to Bombardier for the next five years.
These power semiconductors enable energy-efficient control of electric motors in locomotives, high-speed trains, underground and urban railways. Infineon will ensure supplies by reserving manufacturing capacity for Bombardier. Bombardier will contribute towards the investment costs required. The two companies will join forces in developing the drive electronics for trains with a view to optimising the energy efficiency and reliability.
“Our new generations of IGBT modules are designed to meet the challenging application requirements posed by deployment in advanced trains and metro rail systems. In partnering with the experts of Bombardier Transportation, we aim to raise the energy efficiency and reliability of the drive electronics yet further,” says Arunjai Mittal, Division President of the Industrial & Multimarket Division at Infineon Technologies.
IGBT modules (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors) are so-called power semiconductors used in high voltage operation between several hundreds to thousands of volts. These Power semiconductors are noted for high efficiency and fast switching with high-current handling capability and can hence control multi-megawatt electric motors (1 megawatt equals 1,360 horsepower) with minimum power losses. IGBTs permit variable speed and torque control of the electric motor.
Drive electronics for railway applications represents a significant growth market, particularly considering the railway network expansion in and between the megacities of emerging countries with large populations, such as China and India. According to government sources, China intends to invest around Euro 80 billion in new railway lines in 2011. In the coming five years new routes covering a total length of 30,000 kilometers are to be built in China – that is nearly equivalent to Germany’s entire railway network and signifies investments of approximately Euro 300 billion. According to the government’s blueprint, China’s railway network will serve more than 90% of the population by 2020.