Power Semiconductor Modules for Automotive Applications
New Assembly Solutions Open Up New Market Opportunities
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    29 Consumer/White goods
    31 Electric Motor Drives Industry (Industrial Equipment)
    34-35 Automotive Electronics & Electrical Industry
    333 Process Control Equipment Manufacturers
AB Automotive Electronics Ltd. designs and manufactures original equipment control systems for the passenger car industry. These products are sold to the volume car manufacturers such as Ford and Rover Group, or their major component suppliers such as Valeo & Magnetti Marelli.

The company manufactures products for climate control for Saab, Rover, Honda and Cadillac, body control electronics for Range Rover & Ford Mondeo, power switches and associated logic for Rover & Jaguar, and semi-automatic transmission control electronics for AP Kongsberg, supplied to Renault, Iveco, Daewoo and Ford. These products incorporate power switching using power semiconductor devices or relays.

The method of mounting the power semiconductor ICs in these products is to assemble them with insulating washers to aluminium heat sinks, clip them down using spring clips and fit the whole sub-assembly into the printed circuit board for flow soldering. The circuit board is next assembled into the enclosure and the ribbed aluminium lid is attached to the heat sinks on the power board by screws. The assembly process is therefore manual and unsuitable for volumes above those associated with a luxury vehicle.

Technology trends suggest that the use of power semiconductors in cars is set to grow substantially over the next decade. The objective of this application experiment (AE) is to produce a lower cost, and thermally efficient design for the power semiconductors used in the remote load switching applications required by this technology trend. The application experiment allowed the company to acquire the skills to apply a range of assembly techniques for mounting power semiconductors, and to be able to design modules efficiently by means of accurate thermal modelling and simulation. The AE has resulted in an integral electronic controller for a wiper motor, which previously required the use of external control electronics and additional mechanical assemblies.

The cost of the programme was 105.6 kECU spent over a fourteen-month period, with a payback for this investment expected within 3 years. The relatively long payback period is due to the long development cycles within the automotive industry. The return on investment on the project is 1,780% over the product's 7-year life.

The AE has demonstrated best practice application of thermal modelling and systematic evaluation of design layout options. The application experiment is therefore highly relevant to several sectors of industry as follows:
Automotive electronics & electrical industry (Prodcom code 34)
Electric motor drives industry (Prodcom code 31)
Consumer / white goods (Prodcom code 29)
AB Automotive Electronics Ltd.
Forest Farm

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

PCB technology provided AB Automotive Electronics Ltd. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com

Univercity of Glamorgan
Mid Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL
United Kingdom