Allegro MicroSystems, Inc. yesterday announced that it has shipped its three billionth motor driver integrated circuit (IC), underpinning the strength of its motion control business. The company’s trusted and reliable motor drivers have helped customers around the world innovate safer, more robust motor-drive solutions with increased reliability. They can be found across automotive, industrial, and consumer applications in products ranging from electric vehicles to data center servers to cordless power tools.
The increasing pace of electrification and advanced driver assistance systems in the automotive sector is driving demand for high-performance motor drivers that help reduce noise, increase efficiency, and integrate functionality that allows designers to reduce component counts and lower overall system costs. Automakers need products that can handle the harsh conditions found inside modern vehicles while achieving high safety helping improve battery life between charging cycles, and reducing weight. Allegro motor drivers can be found in critical applications including cooling fans, starter generators, transmissions, and advanced 48-volt battery systems.
The past decade has seen a drive toward battery-operated requirements in the industrial sector as well, with a focus on increasing operating time between charges in applications such as order-picking robots found in fulfillment warehouses. The shift is also taking in place in consumer products such as cordless power tools, which are rapidly supplanting older corded models. Allegro motor drivers meet or exceed customer needs in both industrial and consumer applications by integrating functions, reducing package sizes, and improving ease of use to help manufacturers reduce costs, simplify bills of materials (BOMs), and enable smaller form factors.
The company attributes much of its recent momentum to a development process that emphasizes partnerships and co-development with customers, with some relationships spanning more than two decades. By working closely with customers, the Allegro team is often able to develop single-chip solutions for differing use cases, allowing many customers to move toward single-platform approaches for multiple product lines. This can lead to significant savings for companies that sell products with a range of voltage requirements, such as power and lawn tools.
“We add value by helping our customers improve time to market and reduce development cycles; we win when they win, and that motivates us to continue developing new motor driver products,” says Steve Lutz, Business Line Director for Motors (Automotive) at Allegro. “We continue to innovate with new products that reduce energy consumption, improve battery life, and minimize carbon footprints.”
The Allegro team has increased investments in motor driver R&D in recent years, yielding further advancements in its deep portfolio of embedded motion control IP. Introduced in 2019, the company’s QuietMotionTM motor drivers include first-to-market field-oriented control (FOC) brushless DC (BLDC) electric motor controllers that are customer code-free. These devices are designed to provide reliable and efficient low-audible-noise performance while reducing design cycle times via simple parameter settings, which users can access using intuitive graphical user interfaces.
“Many of our customers—especially ones in emerging growth markets—lack software development resources specifically for motor drivers, and often rely on freelancers and contractor programmers,” says Andy Wang, Product Line Director for Motors (Industrial) at Allegro. “We’re helping those customers significantly reduce development overhead by embedding code directly into the IC, which helps them get to market faster.”
Allegro products are designed to create positive environmental and social impacts by helping customers address global challenges related to carbon emissions, energy efficiency, and clean, renewable energy. The company takes a sustainability-first approach to semiconductor design and manufacture, integrating sustainable practices throughout its supply chain and operations. In addition to hybrid and electric vehicles, Allegro motor drivers can be found in applications intended to reduce environmental impacts including solar arrays, data center cooling fans, high-efficiency HVAC systems and more.
To help customers better address their changing needs, Allegro is planning to launch several new motor drivers over the coming year. These upcoming devices will feature new and expanded capabilities that will help them further improve battery life and enable a single platform approach—all while lowering overall system costs.