TM4 Takes On the Little Box Challenge


TM4 Takes On the Little Box Challenge

May 6, 2015

(Boucherville, QC) TM4, leader in the design and production of power electronics and permanent magnet motors and generators, officially announces its participation in Google’s “Little Box Challenge” to design the industry’s most power dense inverter.

The objective of the competition, supervised by Google and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), is to create an inverter a tenth of the usual size with the highest power density possible (at least 50 watts per cubic inch) to “help revolutionize electricity for the next century”, as cited by Google. The greatest challenge in reducing an inverter’s size resides in thermal management, such as the ability to minimize and evacuate heat losses.

Inverters are electronic devices converting direct current into alternative current and are essential for an array of applications. They are a vital component of electric drivetrains, which have been the focus of TM4’s research and development efforts for many decades. TM4 is recognized for its expertise in development and production of power electronics modules and control algorithms solutions. In recent years, Dana TM4 has patented the ReflexTM Gate Driver Technology, a technology that maximises the efficiency and performance of gate transistors. In some conditions, ReflexTM allows for more than 100% increase in current (Arms/phase), therefore significantly increasing the inverter’s power density.

To take on the challenge, TM4 has joined forces with many partners, such as Mersen, global expert in electrical specialties and graphite-based materials, the PRIMES innovation platform for its abilities in integration and installation of power chips, Griset for its iTBC® patented technology, Novo for its electronic expertise, Transfab for its magnetic components solutions and Creaform for its high-end packaging knowledge. Other contributors such as Solmeg, an electronic design expert, and MAYA HTT, a thermal management simulation specialist, are also to be mentioned.

Participants must submit a technical approach and testing application by July, 2015. The grand prize winner will be announced in January, 2016.

About TM4
A wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro-Québec established in 1998,  TM4 pioneered the electric propulsion system technology developed by Hydro-Quebec’s renowned research center (IREQ). Today, it provides customers in more than a dozen countries with patented technology and distinctive expertise in electric motors, generators and inverters for the transport and energy markets. Products include customized electric drivetrains for electric vehicle and hybrid vehicle manufacturers, and generators for wind turbine and gen-set manufacturers. TM4 is located in Boucherville, Québec. For more information, visit

About Mersen
Global expert in electrical specialties and graphite-based materials, Mersen designs innovative solutions to address its clients’ specific needs to enable them to optimize their manufacturing process in sectors such as energy, transportation, electronics, chemical, pharmaceutical and process industries. With 6,400 employees in over 35 countries, Mersen achieved a turnover of €731 million in 2014.

PRIMES puts a huge effort in developing virtual prototyping solutions for power electronic systems, combined to a prototyping and characterization platform to be able to design, simulate, manufacture and characterize new power module technologies.

About Griset
GRISET S.A.S. manufactures copper and copper alloys. The company offers dual gauge strips to the electronics industry. It also offers various products for automobile, aerospace, electro technical, and connector applications.

About Novo
NOVO is an expert in thedesign and development of technology products, including electronic engineering, software (embedded – application – mobile platform), mechanical and industrial design.

About Transfab
Transfab TMS manufactures and offers a wide range of electrical and electronic products that we continuously enrich and improve in order to better meet the specific and general needs of OEMs and distributors throughout North America.

About Creaform
Creaform develops, manufactures and distributes innovative 3D portable measurement technologies and is a leading provider of 3D engineering services.

About Solmeg
SOLMEG is an electronic design company that has at heart the structured product development, rigorous project management and service unparalleled customer.

MAYA HTT  has been the largest numerical simulation solutions provider in Canada. Our software and services are sold in more than 50 countries, in partnership with Siemens, and our expertise is recognized worldwide in the field of thermal, mechanical, dynamic, acoustic and multi-physics simulation (CAE) as well as in the fields of design (CAD), manufacturing (CAM), management lifecycle (PLM) and mechanical testing.