A robot playing the piano drew the attention of many visitors at the 2017 World Robot Conference in Beijing. It showcased the great vitality of China’s fast-emerging robotics and factory automation industry and called attention to China’s position in the market.
China passed Japan in 2013 to become the world’s biggest market for industrial robots. Three years later, it manufactured 72,000 industrial robots—approximately one-quarter of global output. Now, the Chinese Institute of Electronics is estimating that manufacturers in China will sell more than 110,000 robots for industrial use, at a value of $4.22 billion, in 2017.
Driven by the requirements of increased productivity and energy efficiency, Smart Industry—or Industry 4.0, the 4th industrial revolution, Industrial Internet of Thing (IIoT), or smart manufacturing—is dramatically changing the industrial world using distributed intelligence, decentralized diagnostics, communication, and flexibility to adapt in real-time to external events and changing factory dynamics. This (r)evolution builds on the many different technology advances and is fundamentally changing the way factories and workplaces function. At ST, “Smart” means doing things more efficiently, more flexibly, and in a more environmentally friendly manner. It also means safer manufacturing environments for people working there.
- Single high-side switches with protection and diagnostics for safety integrity level (SIL2 and SIL3) -compliant systems. These switches integrate the control (logic interface, high-side drivers, and protection) with a power stage and are based on ST-patented technologies, including bipolar, multi-power BCD and VIPower M0. This integration provides increased system reliability, part-count reduction, space saving and built-in protection, as well as smaller intelligent power switches (IPSs) that are housed in tiny, flat, no-lead plastic packages (DFN, QFN) for state-of-the-art solutions in any application field.
- STSPIN™ motor drivers lead in integration, performance, and efficiency and are available in a wide range of ICs to best match the full spectrum of power ratings and motor types, as well as varied system partitioning. STSPIN motor drivers embed all the functions needed to drive motors efficiently and with the highest accuracy, and include an advanced motion profile generator to offload the host microcontroller, while ensuring robustness and, with a comprehensive set of protection and diagnostic features, outstanding reliability.
As an example, the new STSPIN32F0 integrates an advanced BLDC controller and a 32-bit MCU in a 7×7 mm footprint. It features a triple half-bridge driver, an embedded 12V linear drop-out (LDO) regulator and a 3.3V DC/DC regulator, 4 op-amps, and programmable over-Current protection. This innovative IC was awarded the annual Top 10 Power 2017 Award in China by Electronic Products China (EPC) and 21ic.com.
- IO-Link is a powerful bi-directional point-to-point serial communication protocol that connects sensors and actuators. The IO-Link technology allows the classic sensor network in a factory to become smarter and more efficient. Operating behind the higher-level Fieldbus infrastructure, IO-Link provides self-contained point-to-point communication, for Industry 4.0.
ST solutions for IO-Link help customers quickly and easily prototype and develop their products. The IO-Link Transceivers L6360 and L6362A enable a master and device solution for IO-Link and general-purpose transceivers via a single 3-wire connection (PHY2). They suit a wide application spectrum thanks to their broad voltage range and current-handling capabilities, offer maximum design flexibility, dissipate minimum power, and deliver maximum efficiency. Designed in ST’s BCD technology that combines digital logic with robust low-voltage power MOSFETs on the same chip, these transceivers offer an efficient, compact and cost-effective way to drive any 3-wire digital sensor. The L6360 and L6362A represent a compact, efficient and robust solution for Smart Industry (Industry 4.0) applications.
- The STGAP1AS galvanically isolated gate driver for N-channel MOSFETs and IGBTs provides advanced protection, configuration, and diagnostic features that enhance robustness, noise immunity, and design flexibility. The gate driver delivers 5A, making the device suitable for high-power inverter applications such as motor drivers in hybrid and electric vehicles and in industrial drives.
- The board provides access to all of the STGAP1AS features while driving a power switch with a voltage rating up to 1500V and current capability up to 5A, supporting a broad application spectrum, including power switches in TO-220 or TO-247 packages. The board also allows the connection of a heatsink to enable the STGAP1AS to handle very high power applications.
- Industrial power supplies enabling energy-saving, high-power density, and lower standby power design solutions include the VIPerPlus series (VIPer0P, VIPer*1, VIPer*5, VIPer*6, VIPer*7, and VIPer*8 families), all of which feature an 800V avalanche-rugged power MOSFET and leading-edge PWM controller. The efficient devices consume from less than 4mW (for VIPer0P) to 30mW in standby. Supporting different topologies, they also come with a large choice of protection schemes.
The Altair series also has a built-in 800/900 V avalanche-rugged power MOSFET. Its onboard PWM controller is specifically designed to work in constant current/constant-voltage primary-side regulation (PSR-CC/CV), which helps reduce the need for external components for better bill-of-materials savings.
- ACEPACK™ IGBT Module is a new plastic power module family developed mainly to address industrial applications, including industrial motor drives, solar panels, welding, and power-management solutions (DC-DC, AC-DC converters for UPS, chargers, etc.). Available in ACEPACK 1 and ACEPACK 2 packages, both feature six-pack and converter inverter brake (CIB) topologies.Today as demonstrated at the Power Technology Conference and Exhibition, China is promoting innovation-driven development and entrepreneurship to transform the country from the ‘world’s factory’ to a technological powerhouse and ST technology can contribute to that effort.