Emergence - Emergence

Complex Programmable Power Converter Device – ProCD

Generic and modular power converter automated design and manufacturing

Modular power converter devices are intended to offer a breakthrough in power electronics design and manufacturing. Based on a generic approach, a formalized design approach and a collective process development, almost any converter device can be designed and manufactured with great constraint simplifications.

Development and prototyping of modular converter devices

Power electronics is of great concerns with respect to electrical energy management from optimal production to efficient use. It is intended to improve our use of the electrical energy through a wide spread in many applications. To overcome the corresponding constraints, power electronics moves toward integration, collective manufacturing and automated design. ProCD project is focused on a possible solution to provide an answer to those issues thanks to a patented approach developed at G2ELab and owned by CNRS, Grenoble-INP and University Joseph Fourier. Based on networks of micro converters, ProCD project will demonstrate how the approach can answer to specific and conventional design and manufacturing needs. Technical issues are related to power conversion efficiency, monolithic and hybrid integration and related technologies and automated design tools.

The first expected results are to design, produce, implement and characterize two programmable power converter demonstrators based on a patented approach. The second expected results are to produce a tool, based on the patented approach, to automate the design of the programmable and configurable power converter as a function of a determined technological process. These results will be obtained through de design and technological assembly of micro conversion devices based on previous research works and future developments. Power IC, passive device and substrate designs will be carried out as function of EMI, thermal and behavioral and technological constraints. Prototyping will be addressed with the objective to combine only or mainly mature and cots effective technologies. Main methods are to rely on integrated power functions as much as possible, in CMOS technology for example. Many of design and technological steps are carried out by subcontractors, experts in their technology.

Adapted flip chip assembly technology has been nidentified and qualified with respect to project contraints : Prototyping, cost issues, qulity of interconnections, électrical and thermal interconnections low resistance. This part represented one of the four essential needs of the project. Other highlight of the project : The designed IC are not functionnal and it is required to redesign another IC to be able to go further. This introduces large delays in the project. Perspectives : We are now ready to go on on the EDA tool.

Adapted flip chip assembly technology has been identified and qualified. It is an enable technology required to go further. It is now time to be engaged toward demonstration and contacts have been establisehed with companies. Demonstrator designs will be given to subcontractors for high quality results. In parallel, the EDA sofware specifications of the EDA tool is almost completed.


ProCD project introduces a technological breakthrough in the manner to design and implement power converters. In a similar manner to complex programmable logic device CPLD well known by electronic engineers, a programmable Converter Device has been patented. This device simplifies and optimizes the implementation while improving the robustness and enlarging the possible market targets to any power conversion application included in the field of the possible specifications of the device. Based on the association and the configuration of elementary power conversion cells in series or/and in parallel, the device is able to comply with many specifications. A range of devices is necessary to cover most of power electronics applications from 1 to 100A and 1 to 1000V. In order to configure the device with respect to the specifications, the user is aided by an Electronic Design Automation Tool (EDA) which is in charge to configure the hardware and software of the device in order to comply with them. Based on innovative functional and hybrid integration technologies, elementary cells are optimized with respect to the technological best possible characteristics and not with respect to application specifications. This approach gives the opportunity to focus on the design of the elementary cells and then to apply the resulting device in numerous applications with the assistance of the design tool. This reduces drastically the design costs while increasing significantly the reliability of the converter, as it has been done in a similar manner in micro electronics many years ago. It relaxes the constraints on the design and the implementation of power electronics converters which is today based on numerous expertise fields and technologies. It offers a technological breakthrough to the whole power electronics community.
Nevertheless, a proof of the concept must be carried out. In this way, the ProCD project objectives are to demonstrate how powerful the approach is based on a real size converter associated to a beta level EDA software tool. Especially, evaluation of the following item must be carried out:
-performances (efficiency) versus configurable converter range (wide range of possible applications) and characteristics of the elementary cells
-device complexity versus versatility and ease of implementation
-type and level of integration versus reliability and production costs

If these points have already been evaluated with success for small devices in practice and from theoretical points of view, the practical demonstration on real applications, based on a realistic and reliable technological process would be of great benefit in our challenge to convince industrials.

Project coordinator

Monsieur jean Christophe CREBIER (Laboratoire de Génie Electrique de Grenoble) – jean-christophe.crebier@g2elab.grenoble-inp.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


G-INP/Service valorisation Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble
G2ELab Laboratoire de Génie Electrique de Grenoble

Help of the ANR 287,040 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 24 Months

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