Advancements in power generation for space: FRAZA’s magnetic component innovations

Advancements in Power Generation for Space: FRAZA’s Magnetic Component Innovations

In space an efficient power generation is of vital importance. The power processing unit (PPU) generates the power to run the RIT2X thruster and has two critical elements of the PPU are the power switches and the magnetic components. Decades of expertise and own intellectual property allows FRAZA to cover the design of the magnetic components and the production of the prototypes of the magnetic components for the DEEP PPU.

As a research company FRAZA is designing high demand solutions for power electronics and power magnetics based on their own intellectual property. The cutting edge technology and wide field of expertise allows FRAZA to offer customers customized solutions and innovations. With over 45 years of experience and 25 patents FRAZA is pushing the limits of possible in the fields of power electronics and power magnetics. With simple but sophisticated solutions, they are challenging, tough electrical, mechanical and environmental requirements, such as high frequency, high ripple current, high-quality factor, high vibration and high radiation.

Design of magnetic components

Within the framework of the DEEP PPU project a very close collaboration between Polytechnic University of Madrid and FRAZA has been established in search of a solution for the thruster electronics to have the minimum possible weight, volume and losses. A profound research performed by the UPM in quest of the best PPU electronics option resulted in a variety of possibilities for the electronics. For each of the potential option FRAZA calculated an optimal magnetic design regarding volume, mass and losses and provided UPM with the feedback for the final system loss and volume evaluation.

Upon deciding the optimal PPU design three magnetic components, a transformer and two inductors to be specific were chosen for a final and detailed optimization. FRAZA successfully eliminated the basic problems that occur in the magnetic components, namely skin effect, proximity effect and fringing effect in all magnetic components. Accordingly, the volume, mass and losses were minimized for said magnetic designs.

Figure 1: Successful elimination of the skin and proximity effect with minor fringing effect in an inductor.
Figure 1: Successful elimination of the skin and proximity effect with minor fringing effect in an inductor.

Prototypes and testing

Being a SME gives FRAZA an advantage of extreme flexibility in development and production. FRAZA is specialized and fully equipped to design and produce custom production tools for manufacturing the magnetic components in-house which speeds up the prototyping process and increases the responsiveness, pliability and productivity of the production.

They manufactured the prototypes of the transformer and both inductors. FRAZA’s in-house testing facilities allow the company to get a rapid feedback and advance their technology and the technological process. Tests have shown exceptional quality of the production since they fully confirmed the simulation results.

Figure 2: Prototypes of the two inductors and the transformer
Figure 2: Prototypes of the two inductors and the transformer

The transformer achieved over 99.5% efficiency and 50 W/cm3 of specific power. The inductors were tested at 700 kHz, the first inductor had inductance 1.2 µH and achieved quality factor of 450, while the second inductor had the inductance of 3.1 µH and achieved the quality factor of 400. Additionally, independent tests performed by the UPM by mounting two of said prototypes to the prototype PCB of the PPU circuit confirm low losses. During the operation the transformer temperature has risen for about 30°C and the inductor temperature for about 20°C.

The co-operation with UPM is to be continued as the PPU testing develops in terms of PPU improvements. FRAZA always tries to keep up with the novelties on the field and since new materials and technologies are being developed and tested room for future upgrades arises.