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Commercial indoor/outdoor HVAC unit

Commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems consist of many motor control subsystems to drive fans and compressors and a variety of environmental sensors. Commercial air conditioning systems range from simple systems for smaller environments to complex interconnected systems with external units servicing multiple indoor units across larger spaces such as retail shops and restaurants.

Key challenges

Energy efficiency is of key importance because HVAC systems consume the greatest share of infrastructure energy.

Commercial HVAC systems use high-efficiency variable frequency drives (VFD) in the power stage to drive brushless DC motors (BLDC). This is typically achieved by inverter designers based on a three-phase bridge consisting of three pairs of high-power switches and associated control circuitry.

The type of HVAC equipment and power level for a commercial building varies according to a wide variety of layout and use factors, as well as available equipment and distribution systems. Effective HVAC systems require optimized and extremely efficient power stages, as well as high levels of integration to allow more compact and cost-effective system designs.

Comprehensive sensor feedback is also critical to optimize HVAC system control with respect to occupant comfort and operational requirements.

Our products and solutions

For motor control subsystems, STM32 microcontrollers and microprocessors come with extensive MC libraries to help designers build better concepts and solutions more quickly.

ST offers solutions for a wide range of motor control architectures, including IGBT and Power MOSFET devices, and integrated power modules for power management stages.

In terms of discrete devices, ST’s latest silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET in combination with optimized external gate drivers are allowing new levels of efficiency in power conversion.

For integrated modules, the new SLIMMM intelligent power modules (IPM) and plastic ACEPACK power modules allow scalable, high-efficiency power stages even in the order of tens of kilowatts.