Today customers need to differentiate their products to remain competitive in the market. For example, this is well known from integrated circuits like ASIC designs and in this area business as usual. Also for the power module business, customers are requesting customized solutions to serve their markets with differentiated products at the most competitive price level.
In 2017 Infineon introduced “Customization by Short Flow” for the Low-Medium Power product portfolio covering Easy, Econo and 62mm power modules. Ralf Schulz from the Low-Medium Power marketing team has implemented the customization process. He is also responsible for the life cycle management and further process development.
What is customization of modules by short flow?
Ralf Schulz: Next to our standard portfolio, we have seen a growing demand for customized module solutions especially in the area of photovoltaics (PV) and similar applications. Some customers are requesting for example a different pinning because they have a special PCB design. Others request to change the chips inside the module e.g. IGBT7 or SiC MOSFETs to increase the performance according to their individual needs. In addition to that, they need short-term prototypes and a shorter time to market. We combined both by our “customization by short flow” process.
Which components can be chosen?
RS: In general, the customer can choose from all components, which are currently offered in the portfolio of the targeted module and package listed as “active and preferred”. As the components have already been released and qualified, we can re-use them in any other design the customer is requesting. In case of challenging designs, our technical marketing and R&D department will support to find the best possible and reliable solution.
Can module customization be done for every application?
RS: Yes it can. All applications we already serve by our standard portfolio can also be addressed by customized solutions. Some applications may have very special requirements; in this case, we have to check.
You mentioned customers are requesting a shorter time-to-market, how long does it take to customize modules?
RS: The R&D department has implemented a lean development flow, which reduced the development time to 5 months. This was supported by the fact, that we are using already qualified components. Here we can reference to the existing qualification instead of starting a new qualification process. In addition to that, we are able to offer first prototypes within 6-8 weeks after the design has been fixed. Here a drawing of the over-all process:
This looks well structured. Are there any constrains?
RS: Sure there are, as it is still semiconductor business and not based on magic. As I already mentioned all components inside the requested module must have been already qualified for the targeted package and use case. In addition to that, it must be based on already released package design and its basic components like housing material, DCB, pins or terminals and our production line must be able to produce the modules at the same quality level our customers are used to by our standard portfolio.
What about the minimum quantities?
RS: Of course, we need a reasonable business case as customization by short flow generates development cost. The minimum quantities are not fixed as they are related to the chosen package and design. In general, I can say that we also sell customized modules to some of our distribution customers. In addition to that, there is also the possibility for customers to take part in the development cost.
Who do I have to contact to get things started?
RS: Please contact the Infineon Sales team. It is familiar with the possibilities of customization by short flow. The colleagues will include the related field application engineer for technical support.
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